I am interested in becoming a professional book formatter so I got indesign and I have been puttering away at trying to self teach having no background. I have a fictional 80,000+ word manuscript that i've been practicing on (since middle of Jan) until I am confident in selling. I have learned a bit with indesign features but I am just not grasping it. I would really like to become a professional with formatting (for print and EPUB) all types of material but I need help. I'm wondering if there is someone out there who is proficient in formatting with Indesign and who can help me work through my problems, mentor me from beginning to end. I have been so stressed because the first formatting I did of this book, I spent so long on with many errors and now anytime I attempt to start over, immediately i'm overwhelmed and quickly lose motivation to continue. Please I need someone's professional help!!
Did you start by taking professional training? InDesign isn't Word and learning by "poke and peck" is not going to make you an expert or professional. One tip, which avoids a lot of frustration. I don't know if you've reached this stage yet. NEVER change the font (or size, or bold/italic) or paragraph attributes directly. No, those buttons are a trap. Learn how to use styles and use them for EVERYTHING. Then a bad layout decision can be undone in a few minutes.
I very much agree with @Test Screen Name. When it comes to a truly professional application like InDesign (or Photoshop), it's virtually impossible to learn on your own. You should look for resources from which to learn. My three suggestions: (1) Linkedin Learning training: I'd start with David Blatner course, InDesign 2023 Essential Training, then look for a course on working with long documents.
(2) Check out CreativePro.com: It offers conferences—in person and virtual, and become a member: You'll get the excellent Creative Pro Magazine every week which will introduce you to InDesign and the key software which professionals use.
Another terrific person to learn from is Anne Marie Concepcion on Linked In Learning. She covers the basics and advanced features of InDesign, and EPUB too.
You can also look for an InDesign class at your local community college.
I went into this blindly, just by mere interest and realized I enjoyed it so I decided I wanted to make it professionally. I have been using paragraph styles whenever I want to change font/size etc for a specific area of the manuscript so I understand them for sure and they do make it so much easier to work with.
And you can ALWAYS ask questions here. The more specific the question, the better the answer you will get.
The advice so far is spot on, but mastery of the tool — InDesign — is only a first step. The requirements and esthetics of book design, both interiors and covers, is an advanced subject, a genuine art guided by some finicky technical principles.
There are certainly books on the topic, and I have no doubt there are any number of "tutorials" and video courses, but the real learning will come from a developed sense of esthetics combined with study of as many well-formatted books as you can manage.
But to circle around, here as in every other endeavor (especially those using computers as the workbench) — the tool is never the task.
You are asking "I have a paintbrush and some paint - how can I become famous painter" ... beside the time and determination - you also need to invest some - or a lot of - money on professional courses and/or books - or better yet go to some school - it literally takes years to learn ...
Using InDesign is a small hill to climb in comparison to the art of "formatting books".
Hi! I understand what you are saying. I'm not asking how to become a formatter over night as that is not possible. I am a firm believer that self teaching is definately achievable. My confusion is because i'm reading/watching specific videos on formatting rules but then others tell me differently so I (in my mind), can't be sure what is correct. There doesn't seem to be a "master" list of formatting rules and so I struggle with what to implement.
There are "master" rules - but the best way to get them would be for you to finish some school - or at least attend multi level and professional courses - unfortunately, here is not a place for this.
We can tell you some "simple" rules - but to become skilled professional - you really need to look somewhere else.
Knowledge how to lay bricks won't make you an architect.