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399 Views 3 Replies Last post: Jan 26, 2018 5:17 PM by Maaku RSS
Level 0 1 posts since
Oct 5, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 26, 2018 2:34 PM

Simple software program to format books

I am pitching an idea to a graphics software company for a wizard driven program that will let authors select a template, select a CreateSpace standard book size, flow in text from a Word document, and then output a CreateSpace compatible PDF file.


Authors will select a size, choose from a selection of pre-designed templates, and copy and paste text from a Word document.


The program will also have pre-designed cover templates that authors can customize as much as desired.


I want to make the process as simple and straight forward as possible and to produce a professionally designed book.


I have published four books with CreateSpace with more a full featured product from the company I am pitching my idea to. The books have turned out very well (my background is advertising art direction and graphic design with formal art school training at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles). CreateSpace is a great service for indie authors and the program I envision will let any author produce a well designed, professional looking book.


Any thoughts? Questions?


Would you be interested in a product like this?


Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Level 4 2,558 posts since
Jul 2, 2011
Currently Being Moderated
1. Jan 26, 2018 3:42 PM in response to: gwpriester
Re: Simple software program to format books

There are lots of ebook generators out there that take Word as input and do what you describe.


How will yours be different?


(Note this is not intended to discourage you or be snarky, but if you're pitching your idea this is the first question you'll be asked.)

Level 4 1,539 posts since
Aug 30, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
2. Jan 26, 2018 3:48 PM in response to: gwpriester
Re: Simple software program to format books

There's always room in the market for more software for book formatting, but you'll find there are plenty already. Check out my own offering, link below.


To do it really properly, you'll find it's a lot more complicated than you might think. Your idea seems to be based on the idea of a formatted template that users paste their Word file into. Where this can fall down is that it means that all the problems in the Word file are imported into the template, and hence make it into the PDF.


For example, the first paragraph of a chapter shouldn't be indented, but in many manuscripts it is, simply because a lot of people don't know not to, or just use Word's default indentation. Your software should be able to deal with this.


Or what about drop caps? My software is clever enough to create drop caps without them being in the Word file, and, it's clever enough to not drop cap an opening punctuation mark (double quote, for example), but rather, the following letter, and it places the rest of the first word in small caps.


Then there are other issues, like, some people don't know how to use the "center" feature in Word to center a line of text, and instead, just hit the space bar or tab key until the text they want is approximately centered. But since they probably have left Word in default US Letter or A4 size, the number of spaces or tabs they used to center the text is wrong for a trim size of 6 x 9 or 5 x 8, etc. How do you deal with that?


I could go on and on about this, but all of these issues and hundreds more have been addressed in some, perhaps all, of the software products that perform this type of function.


Anyway, best of luck, and check out the video below.



Steve - - painless print & e-book formatting


Level 5 4,128 posts since
Oct 27, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
3. Jan 26, 2018 5:17 PM in response to: gwpriester
Re: Simple software program to format books

Yes, it is a good idea. From what I have seen of client manuscripts all the work is in the error trapping, it is not just a matter of applying a nice suite of styles. For example, one heading can often be manually created from a body text style and another heading of the same apparent type can be created from the caption style, or another heading level, or whatever the user found on their system. The scope for under-the-hood weirdness is unlimited. I've even seen the / character created from an italicised lower-case l. Asking for clients to dump their manuscript in is great, expecting it all to format without manual intervention is ambitious.


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