Learning Curve: Scribus

I admit it. I’ve been procrastinating. Designing a book cover has been on my to-do list; I’ve even chosen the photos and rough drafted it out in my head.  I’ve got approximated sizes. I’ve been stalling because I know the that program I need to do this, Scribus, will be another big learning curve.

Scribus is an open source desktop publishing program. An Ubuntu version is available from the Ubuntu repositories, so that’s what I have installed. I’ve discovered, however, that it is not terribly intuitive, and I haven’t set aside the time to go through the learning process step by step.

Not that there haven’t been plenty of other things that need doing, but I think I’ve put it off long enough. It’s time to go through a basic tutorial, become familiar with it, and get started.

Wish me good providence.

Reading Through Aloud

I read about this on a self-publishing website, that it is a good idea to read through one’s book aloud as part of the preparation process. I have been doing this and see why it is excellent advice.

I sent my chapters to be proofread and corrected as I wrote them. When they came back, I cleaned them up and started working on a format. This included not only page size, but titles, page numbers, and photographs.

My book has a lot of photographs. This is in keeping with my blogging style which is important, because the book is based on my blog, and my blog has lots of pictures. For the book, I’m finding that these are a good place to add useful information in the form of captions. For example, in the chapter about food self-sufficiency, I talk about the many ways we are food self-sustaining and include photographs of these. The caption for the photo of pouring beaten eggs into muffin tins, can explain how to freeze eggs. I can give details that would be so many rabbit trails if they were included in the text.

There is a potential problem with adding photos if a lot of cutting and pasting of text is necessary. To keep my white space balanced and keep a uniform appearance throughout the book, I did indeed do that. I also found I sometimes had too much text, or not enough. Sentences, even paragraphs, were cut, or, I had to add some. As I’m reading through aloud, I catching places where sentence parts were not included in the cut and paste.

I’m reading through from beginning to end, chapter by chapter, slowly. I’m making sure I focus on and say every written word. I’m keeping the proofed manuscript next to it, to compare if something seems amiss. If I reworded something or added text for the sake of formatting, these are being sent for proofreading.

Once I’m satisfied with the chapters, I’ll put them all together in one file. Then I can begin adding page numbers to the index. Maybe I’ll give a step by step of how that is done. What do you think?

Decision About the PDF/X-1a:2001 Problem

I think I’ve been researching this problem non-stop. At least it seems that way. I’d already figured out that converting my book to PDF/X-1a:2001 on Ubuntu Linux was out. Next, I took a serious look at Serif’s PagePlus, thinking I could run it on the Windows partition of my computer. However, I decided that since some folks have had problems with Serif’s PagePlus PDF/X-1a:2001 metadata and Lightning Source, that perhaps PagePlus wasn’t for me at this time. Since the whole self-publishing process is all so new, I figured I don’t need another stressor thrown into the mix!

That left Adobe Acrobat Professional. The newest version is prohibitive because of cost. I scoured Amazon and eBay, coming to the conclusion that even older versions would cost a pretty penny, as in at least $200, likely more. This amazes me because so many of them don’t run on anything higher than Windows XP. Still, I was clueless to know which one would be best.

I finally thought to look at my public library for a book that I could check out. I discovered that they do indeed have one, Adobe Acrobat 9 PDF Bible, by Ted Padova.

This book has been very helpful. It is set up as a reference book, and details every aspect of the PDF process. What I realized, is that I don’t need all the bells and whistles. All I really need is Acrobat Distiller, which can’t be purchased as a stand-alone program; it is integrated into Adobe Acrobat.

So. I found a new copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional version 6 for about $80 on Amazon. This is the earliest version of Acrobat that can create the PDFs that Lightning Source wants. I’ll dust off my old XP computer and install it there.

I confess I’m still a little nervous about the whole thing, but at least I can get back to finishing the front matter and index of my book.