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Does anyone own a copy of InDesign?

Crumbly Writer

After several failures, I'm considering trying publishing with Ingram-Sparks again. All the guides suggest using InDesign to submit pdfs to them, since InDesign doesn't include unused fonts the way that word does. (Supposedly, if you import a WORD document to Indesign, and then export the pdf, it eliminates the errors.)

However, I'm not eager to invest in such an expensive product if I don't know whether it'll work, or whether I'm ever likely to earn any money from the effort.

Thus, if anyone has a spare copy lying around, I'd love to send you a copy of my file and have you convert it for me. I'd be forever in your debt (and wouldn't even object if you read the story in repayment).

graybyrd
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Try running .docx manuscript through Calibre to generate a .pdf? I'm assuming you've set a template with margins, styles, page breaks, etc. to suit the proposed book. The pdf should follow those rules...? InDesign is a ghastly expensive leap. Monthly.

Edit to add: check out Scribus, the open-source, multi-platform page layout & publishing software. Free to download.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

You have a Mac? Try the print to pdf feature first. It creates very efficient pdf files.

File -> Print -> Save as PDF

Worth a try and it's free.

Crumbly Writer

The problem is, IS (Ingram-Sparks) is about the ONLY way to get a book into most bookstores, primarily because they've got the biggest independent bookstore database and offer returns on any unsold books. The other issue is that WORD includes non-included fonts, which IS chokes on. Thus File -> Print -> Save as PDF won't work.

I also tried InDesign, which works, sorta. The only problem is, you can't import WORDS headers and footers (necessary in order to include page numbers so readers can find content), and creating headers and footers within ID, and then moving imported text from page to page, shifting items, is incredibly complex!

So, I can use ID, but only if I'm willing to forgo headers (book title/author) and footers (page numbers), which renders the included Table of Contents (TOC) moot. So I'm back to being unable to use IS! :(

I can try running the WORD files thru Calibre, but given how NO ONE suggests that as an option on ALL the pages discussing submitting files to IS, I'm doubtful it'll work.

As for Scribus, I really don't need yet another page layout/publishing program, what I need is some way to work with IS without rebuilding each of my books from scratch using ID and paying a monthly fee forever! :(

graybyrd

@Crumbly Writer

Unless you really want to shell out serious money (monthly) for InDesign, you'll need to get a bit creative. As Lazeez offered, the Mac has excellent print-to-PDF capability. If word is f*cking up your output, then run the pages into LibreOffice and print to PDF; or run the .docx files through Calibre...
PDF has been around since the earliest days; if Word can't output a clean PDF, why beat yourself over the head with it? As for Scribus, you're really not helping yourself by begging for InDesign, but not making an effort to work with a new tool that thousands of users have found useful. Did a copy of Pages come with that new Mac? Try a test print to PDF with that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

Thus File -> Print -> Save as PDF won't work.


Have you tried it? It's free and takes a minute.

If you don't need any design capabilities and you just need to handle PDF and make sure they're clean and functional, you need Adobe's Acrobat. It's the original PDF handling tool.

https://acrobat.adobe.com/ca/en/acrobat.html

That link is for Canada though, so prices will be different.

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

PDF has been around since the earliest days; if Word can't output a clean PDF, why beat yourself over the head with it? As for Scribus, you're really not helping yourself by begging for InDesign, but not making an effort to work with a new tool that thousands of users have found useful. Did a copy of Pages come with that new Mac? Try a test print to PDF with that.

The problem is, by suggesting I throw out all my existing tools, and the stories I've created with them over the years (copying the 'Styles' by definition involves copying over the 'offending' coding), means I'd have to recreate each document from scratch without relying on copy and paste (i.e. retyping everything).

That's a LOT to ask when all I want is to see whether this new publishing site is worth wasting time with or not.

As for trying the same thing on the Mac, as far as I understand the problem, it's how WORD stores their information internally, rather than how it saves it to different formats.

I'll give it a try, just as I'll try running it through Calibre, but I suspect the problem may be deeper than that (i.e. like why WORD keeps track of unused fonts at all!).

@Lazeez

If you don't need any design capabilities and you just need to handle PDF and make sure they're clean and functional, you need Adobe's Acrobat. It's the original PDF handling tool.

That's probably my next step, seeing whether I can strip the unused font out of the end pdf, rather than preventing it's being included initially.

However, since ALL the online advice centers around purchasing this one expensive tool--when a free tool wouldn't take nearly as much time, energy or financing--I'm skeptical that none of these alternatives haven't already been tried and rejected.

The fact a POD service requires authors to purchase an Adobe product just to submit a work is troubling, as I've never known any author to have InDesign laying around their office.

WORD has persisted—despite continually griping—because it's a 'legacy' product (i.e. most people have relied on it for decades from their days working for other companies) that it's hard to part with. That's certainly not true for ID!

Rather than chasing my tail, I suspect I'll simply have to abandon my dreams of selling my book to a grand total of 2 or 3 bookstores across the entire country. ::( (That's a 'rolling eyes' emoji).

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

However, since ALL the online advice centers around purchasing this one expensive tool


You can 'rent' acrobat or indesign for like $15 for one month. They even offer a free trial, so you can try it for free and if it doesn't work like you want, you can simply cancel.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)


You can 'rent' acrobat or indesign for like $15 for one month. They even offer a free trial, so you can try it for free and if it doesn't work like you want, you can simply cancel.


I've already tried it. It's NOT an easy solution to a one-time problem, instead there's a steep learning curve and an almost complete rewrite (restructuring) of the entire book a single page at a time. Since I'm not sure IS offers me any sales at all, I'm not going to invest a great amount of either time of money on trying them out—which is what they're demanding.

I'd hoped, if trying one out temporarily proved beneficial, it might be justified, but not if I have to jump through a thousand hoops to do it.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

IS (Ingram-Sparks) is about the ONLY way to get a book into most bookstores,


They were once the topic of discussion on wattpad. If I remember right, when you publish with them your book didn't end up on a bookstore shelf. It ended up in their online catalogue. So someone would have to come into the store and ask for the book by title. Then the bookstore can order it for them. What's the advantage to that?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It requires a complicated strategy: essentially, you 'seed' the book to bookstores. If the store has it on catalogue, they're more likely to accept copies from the author directly (which they won't do with CreateSpace books). To get it into more store's catalogues, you get various people to 'order it', so the bookstore can get it once someone else orders it.

@Lazeez
You were right. Converting the file on WORD on the Mac produced only the truly embedded fonts—much more cheaply than purchasing a subscription to InDesign. I'll start posting that information online, since it's not common knowledge. Now I'll try, once again, to get IS to 'accept' my book. The place has more arcane guidelines about accepting payments than Congress!

Crumbly Writer

Nope. It still doesn't work. WORD on the Mac doesn't allow you to specify how the file is saved. While it defaults to embedding fonts, necessary in this case, it doesn't allow authors to specify which color profile in included or which PDF default gets used (IS only accepts PDF/X-1a:2001.

I'm done. IS makes it physically impossible to submit a file that they'll accept, they make it impossible for bookstores to post your books (i.e. no marketing tie-ins) and they're not a big enough book supplier to guarantee any bookstore is likely to use them.

I think I'll stick with CS.

Note: Ernest, I know you prefer Lulu for print books, but every time I see a lulu book in a local bookstore, I cringe as they all look incredibly low-quality, meaning few retailers will ever take them seriously.

At this point, there just isn't any way for independent authors to get their books into many bookstores.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Note: Ernest, I know you prefer Lulu for print books, but every time I see a lulu book in a local bookstore, I cringe as they all look incredibly low-quality, meaning few retailers will ever take them seriously.


The major part of that is due to the author choosing a set of low quality options to save on cost, also a major aspect is the quality of the artworks they have. I've not seen a Lulu book in the shops, but have had some printed and shipped to me, and they rate up there with the bought books, except for the first few early ones where I selected the cheap options.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Jay Cantrell

InDesign is an excellent tool for graphic design (I use it daily) but it is cumbersome for text usage.

If you want to export a pdf from InDesign, don't import a Word doc. Save the file as Simple Text and import it into InDesign (Apple-D is the shortcut).

You use stylesheets you create in InDesign for formatting. Thus you cannot have a font mismatch error on the pdf (unless you really try).

InDesign will also let you import artwork (also Apple-D but into a photo box and not a text box).

But, seriously, if all you're doing is working with text, there are easier programs to learn.

Send me an email through the site if you need a tutorial or want me to run your text through my copy of InDesign so you can see what it looks like.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


The major part of that is due to the author choosing a set of low quality options to save on cost, also a major aspect is the quality of the artworks they have. I've not seen a Lulu book in the shops, but have had some printed and shipped to me, and they rate up there with the bought books, except for the first few early ones where I selected the cheap options.


I've always found the quality of lulu print books to be better (than CreateSpace), but the difference in price didn't seem to justify it (for me, since that's where you publish your ebooks, it makes perfect sense for you).

My point, though, was that there seems to be a general low opinion of Lulu books in most bookshops, while many (all those in my neck of the woods) won't even deign to sell anything published by Amazon.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

Thanks, Jay, but for the second time, I've given up on Ingram-Sparks as being a useless option. They're definitely not ready for Prime Time as a POD publishing source. Their promises look intriguing, but until they work out the bugs, drop the prices and hire any support staff, I can't see more than a small handful of people using them.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

My point, though, was that there seems to be a general low opinion of Lulu books in most bookshops


That's not surprising, because the books I have available to be purchased from Lulu at US$9.95 for a printed novel would be sold and sent to the Bookshop for the exact same price the book is sold to any other only purchaser. Thus the bookshop has to add their costs etc on to that and sell it for more than what people can buy it from Lulu for. There's no incentive for them to buy from Lulu to put it on their shelf.

I have seen some Lulu books in a bookshop in Sydney where the author bought a bunch on one of the Lulu author specials where they get free shipping at the author buy price and then the author placed the books with the bookshop themselves. The books are selling on the shelf for the same price they're on Lulu, but buying at the shop means they don't pay shipping or have to wait. That author split the mark-up with the bookshop owner, but they had a much bigger profit margin on the books than I do, so it was a good deal for the bookshop, since they only had to pay him after they sold a book.

The sort of novels I sell for $9.95 others sell for $19.95, but I don't have as big a name as they do.

red61544

@Crumbly Writer

Crumbly, I have inDesign as part of Adobe CS4 (vintage 2007), but I have never used it. I'll give your file a try; I think I can figure out how to convert it. If not, the forum for CS4 still exists and I may be able to get some help there.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@red61544

Crumbly, I have inDesign as part of Adobe CS4 (vintage 2007), but I have never used it. I'll give your file a try; I think I can figure out how to convert it. If not, the forum for CS4 still exists and I may be able to get some help there.

I tried, with an earlier version, but you have to import the source document into a particular 'page type', which means you've got to then customize each page individually, or at best, copy the elements into new pages of each page type, which means a shitload of cutting and pasting each time you want to update a new or existing book.

InDesign is just not a satisfactory solution, and thus Ingram-Sparks isn't either. Seriously, who expects authors to write their books using InDesign????

Technically, I image the proper procedure is to define each page style, convert the source material and then copy the text only of each page into the appropriate page type, but that's not a whole shitload better!

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