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How do I make a book?

Advocate ,
Jan 04, 2024 Jan 04, 2024

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The instructions are way over-complicated but I'll try to ask... I was surprised to create a book and that the document did not contain any pages. Do I make InDesign documents for each chapter with pages and then bring those into the 'book?' Then the Table of contents later when I bring in several chapters? I need a simplified introduction so I can know what I'm getting into as instructions I've read talk about opening and closing books and I don't want books I just want to write one book. As one last thing, does InDesign facilitate the making of an index? I need beginner help please.

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

Community Expert , Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

You've gotten good answers — to pretty much everything, as far as I can see — but let me sum up as an experienced author/publisher:

 

  • If you're "writing" a book, you probably want to do it in Word. While both tools work fine as an authoring tool, Word is a bit better at all the "word processing" that goes into creating, editing and managing text content. Don't fuss too much with the format but use styles for every element and avoid Word's Super-E-Z spot and override formatting... it will bite y
...

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Community Expert , Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

Hi Ken:

 

I believe you are a long-time InDesign user, but books are a specialized niche. If you can set aside 3.5 hours, this would be a great use of your time: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/indesign-creating-long-documents-13887227/creating-indesign-book-files

 

~Barb

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Community Expert , Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

I cannot think of one reason to split this up. 300 pages is nothing and you're just making more work for yourself splitting it up.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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The "book" is an InDesign feature where you assemble a number of InDesign documents, it's usually used for very long documents.

If you're writing a book the best workflow is to write it in (say) Word and finalise your MS there and then bring it into InDesign. The output will depend on the format you want – print and/or eBook such as Reflowable ePub or PDF.

If you're new to InDesign it would be wise for you to take some lessons before starting to format the book.

Indexing is the last operation when you have the book paginated – if it's a complex book it's best to hire a professional indexer.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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There's nothing simple about it, honestly. Unless you're dealing with an extremely long document and a very weak computer, there's no real reason to use the book feature. Can you tell us about the project?

 

And I concur with Derek, indexing is best done by a professional.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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What kind of book? 

 

If text only - maybe Word will be sufficient enough? 

 

If not for printing and not too many "images" - maybe still Word?

 

▒► ID-Tasker - "Industrial Revolution" is finally here ◄▒

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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quote

. Do I make InDesign documents for each chapter with pages and then bring those into the 'book?' Then the Table of contents later when I bring in several chapters?


By @Ken Nielsen


That is exactly how it works 😉 A 'book' is a container for separate InDesign files. If you create the TOC be sure to turn on 'use book' in the options.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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You've gotten good answers — to pretty much everything, as far as I can see — but let me sum up as an experienced author/publisher:

 

  • If you're "writing" a book, you probably want to do it in Word. While both tools work fine as an authoring tool, Word is a bit better at all the "word processing" that goes into creating, editing and managing text content. Don't fuss too much with the format but use styles for every element and avoid Word's Super-E-Z spot and override formatting... it will bite you when you try to pull the project into InDesign.
  • When the book is more or less complete, import it into InDesign using a fully defined page layout, with proper page sizes, margins, facing pages, headers and footers, all that. The Place menu has an option to 'Show Options'; you'll want to use that to review and map styles and other details. (You will probably end up repeating this step a few times until you get a completely clean and organized ID file ready for final editing and layout. Just back up and start again.)
  • Unless you are writing something enormous, or will have chapters that need to be managed separately (meaning separate authors, editors, content review, etc.) just keep it all in one INDD file and use sections and chapter headings to break it into chapters or sections or parts. It's much easier to manage one file than several collected using the Book feature.

 

And as with all pro publication tools and process, define, use and manage styles meticulously — Paragraph, Character and Object. There should not be a single 'undefined' or 'default' item in the file, and never, ever any spot override formatting.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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Hi Ken:

 

I believe you are a long-time InDesign user, but books are a specialized niche. If you can set aside 3.5 hours, this would be a great use of your time: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/indesign-creating-long-documents-13887227/creating-indesign-book-f...

 

~Barb

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Advocate ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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Thank you to everyone who has replied. My book will have fewer than 300 pages and maybe 12 chapters. It's a book about bringing a dog into your home and will cover overall start-up, care and training as well as outside activity. It's a straight line publication and no footnotes so very simple page by page but with chapters devoted to each area of concern. After reading the comments I may do separate InDesign documents for each chapter and then 'collecct' them into one book. I am not a fan of Word and would rather use InDesign, which was a replacement for Quark Express when I first started using it... so yes, a long time user. This is my first book an hopefully not my last, but from comments here it sounds like I will be best off simply doing it all in InDesign as the final will be a ebook published as a PDF file. I will want to wind up with one file for the page numbering part which can be done easily in one InDesign document I think.

Any further comments are welcome, but for now I'll just start by doing chapters as separate documents and 'paste' it all together when the time comes to make the one big file. I'll then do the Table of contents by hand. This sounds like the simplest way to handle it.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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I cannot think of one reason to split this up. 300 pages is nothing and you're just making more work for yourself splitting it up.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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All good. Just two more "in conclusion" arguments, if I may —

 

Bob's comment echoes my post and just generally good practice; keep it all in one file. Editing, global search and replace, moving content around, etc. will be MUCH easier regardless of which tool you use. There's just no good reason to break it up into separate files and it will get frustrating and lead to things like mismatched spelling and references. Just use page-break chapter headings instead.

 

And, my loathing for Word would, well, fill a book. However, I know of no superior writing/authoring tool; a 200k words-and-growing book is open to the left of this as I type. I've written in ID, too, but mostly when the book has a fairly complex layout; I am a very 'visual' writer and it helps to be able to rough out pages with illustrations, sidebars etc, as I work. But Word, if you take some time to configure it to your liking (rearrange the ribbon, go through the whole settings list and change all the stuff you hate, write a few simple macros to support repetitive actions) is a much better writing tool, hands down. Word also has nice document navigation, something I use about every two minutes on projects like this current book. It replaces the "organization" of separate chapters nicely.

 

Note that there are very few publishing venues that support PDF. Your end goal should be a meticulous print layout (exported to PDF, of course, but not for distribution in that format) and reflowable EPUB (for direct sale on the secondary outlets, and conversion to Kindle for sale on Amazon). Anything else needs strong, well-reasoned arguments — which you may have.

 

But fair winds and following seas, and all that, and we're all here to answer all the questions you might have on the whole project. (My two Danes approve, as well.)


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Advocate ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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"Page break chapter heading" Now, there is someting if I learn how to use will be a great help. I always want a new chapter to begin on the right-hand page. From what you are saying, this is possible, to force InDesign to begin a next page on a RH page. I'm encouraged if this is possible but would you mind telling me how I do this? 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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It's an option in the definition of the ParaStyle - Keep section. 

 

▒► ID-Tasker - "Industrial Revolution" is finally here ◄▒

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Advocate ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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Holy Cow, I've landed in the right place but I am the 'know nothing' beginner and yet help from above is what it is to land in the midst of you who have the experience. I have some serious digging to do, but I want to do it. Also, I need to write the book, which is my main focus. What you have presented here is the nuts and bolts of what absolutely has to be done correctly. A book is not a book unless it fits easily into the hands of the reader.

So now I need to find the 'option' in the definition of the ParaStyle - Keep section as you have laid it out above. You have my full attention as this is an area of InDesign I have never touched before, but now it is important to learn. Thank you both James and Robert.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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...like this:

JamesGiffordNitroPress_0-1704484933140.png

 

This is really basic stuff, and it would speed your way to learn all these basics so you aren't slowed up in the actual job. If the full-length tutorial Barb recommended isn't in your time budget, some of the shorter basic how-tos here might do you well until you can get to the longer one. ID's not a difficult app, exactly, but it doesn't work in a completely straightforward, learn-as-you-go manner like Word and other consumer tools. You need to learn a certain amount of starting stuff before you can start using it effectively and gain more skills one at a time.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Advocate ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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Okay; As you can imagine, I am choking right now, I'll need a day or two to comb over this 'basic stuff' and get familiar. Thank you so much, I am elated to have this introduction and more to loook forward to. A Million Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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May I suggest beginning a new discussion for separate topic.

You'll get a lot more help that way.

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Advocate ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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Yes sir! Agree... this discussion is closed.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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It's a long road, with a lot of twists and turns - marathon rather than a sprint - but well worth it. 

 

▒► ID-Tasker - "Industrial Revolution" is finally here ◄▒

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Advocate ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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I'm thrilled about it. Already decided on an alias as the audience can be viscous against anything successful that doesn't agree with their concept of how things should be. I don't want to start a war, I just want to share hard-earned experience to be a help and encouragement to others.

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