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How to Create a Book With Software


Many authors opt to self-publish their books. If this appeals to you, there are several software programs that can help you from the first outline all the way to designing the covers.

Make a folder on your computer where you can store all your research, your book’s outline, the chapters of your book and the final document.

Outline your ideas in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. Save the file in the folder you've created for the book.

Write your book in your word processing program using your outline. Although you can write all the chapters in a single document, consider creating a new document for each chapter. This allows you the most flexibility in Step 4.

Sketch out your book's design. Include rough sketches of any photos or illustrations you’d like to include in these dummy pages. Add ideas for cover art. The more you work out on paper at this stage, the simpler the process becomes once you start creating your book with the design software.

Prepare the photos for your book. If the photos are printed on photo paper, scan them into your computer with a flatbed scanner using the instructions that came with your hardware. Save them in the project file folder.

Open your page layout software. Although programs like QuarkXPress or InDesign are the industry standard in publishing, select the program with which you're most familiar.

Select the page size. If you’ve decided on an e-book, the standard 8 ½ by 11 inch size works best, because it allows the buyer to print it out easily. If you've decided to print a physical book, however, and you’ve opted for a different size, check with a printer to determine the best size for your book.

Set the page size in the software.

Select the number of pages you'll be laying out, leaving the first page and last pages blank. (You’ll add the covers here later.) Although you broke up the chapters in your word processing program, the design process become easier in the page layout stage to make one long document, adding a chapter at a time.

Import the text from your word processing program according to the instructions that came with the software program you’ve selected for your layout program.

Add the graphics to the pages of your book according to the design of your rough sketches. You’ll utilize the software's text wrap feature for this. Keep in mind that the first page of each new chapter is usually shorter than the subsequent ones. Be prepared to increase the total page count after you've added graphics.

Design the book's front and back covers.

Save your book in PDF format once its layout is complete.

Items you will need
Drawing pad
Word processing software such as Microsoft Word
Page layout software such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress
Flatbed scanner
Digital camera and accessories
About the Author

Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.