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Self Publishing Software – Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign?

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When you’re writing and self-publishing a book, should you stick with Microsoft Word, or should you use something different like Adobe InDesign? What’s the best software to use?

In this video, Amazon best selling author Julie Broad explains how your distribution channels will impact the software you use and the format you have to put your book in.

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Video Transcript:
Are you self-publishing and you want to know what software to use?
Is it better to have my book in Word or some other software or do I just need to get it
into a PDF?

This is an excellent question and it is something to think about. Doing a book and self-publishing it is enough work as it is if you’re not redoing things so let’s tackle this now before you can answer this question.

There’s some things that you have to figure out first what format do you want to publish your book in hardcover softcover or a digital book.

The next question is where do you want distribution?
Because if you don’t care about distribution and you just want printed copies or you don’t
even care about printed copies this is a whole different conversation and a PDF might be just fine but if you want Amazon distribution for a printed copy or you want a books or Kobo or whatever it might be to carry your book then you’re going to have to kind of back things up and plan accordingly.

So, first of all if you want a hardcover your best option for self-publishing if you want distribution
as well is probably going to be Ingram Spark, or Lightning Source they have a hardcover option they also have access to lots of bookstores.

If you’re just worried about getting it on amazon.com CreateSpace is probably your cheapest
easiest option for doing that now CreateSpace also recently came out with the option for you to apply to get it on to amazon.ca so for us Canadians that makes CreateSpace a lot more accessible and a lot better option for people who really wanted amazon.ca distribution but
weren’t going to get it easily through CreateSpace before.

So, the software you’re going to use and the requirements is going to vary and depend on which publishing house and which format you’re using okay so let’s cover those really quickly now Amazon if you’re going to just print two KDP which is kindle direct publishing then they make it super easy for you they will even accept a word document so they accept word, HTML, mobi, and epub formats.

Now, here’s the trick if you include a lot of images maps and graphics into your book. Word is
a giant pain in the patootie to work with with images it is a great word processing tool but when your file starts getting big and clunky with a lot of images sometimes I find that a picture that was here is all of a sudden all the way down there like why and so I hate using word when I have a lot of images so even though KDP will accept it.

I bet you there’s a very good chance your book doesn’t end up looking as good as it could if you stick with word so my recommendation is to consider using something else that is meant for page layouts so that you can create the layout and the format that you want and have it graphically very appealing the most common software that is used is Adobe InDesign.

There are other options out there but that is the one that I’m familiar with and that I know most
people doing book layouts will use and some authors will even write their book InDesign and the argument for doing it is that yes it’s a somewhat complicated piece of software but if you’re trying to create a very visually appealing book so a coffee table book or a more artistic book then you can create it right from the start choosing your fonts and layouts and adding the pictures and the sidebars right from the start.

So there is an argument for it for me it’s hard enough to get coherent thoughts to come together to create a book I don’t need the added distractions of trying to make it visually appealing at the same time Kindle has a great guide I recommend you check it out because if you do stick with word there’s some really important tips to set you up for success for example you don’t want to
copy and paste your images you want to insert them you don’t want to use header and footers but you do want to use their heading one tagging system okay so create spaced fonts must be embedded into that PDF and there’s some other criteria that are stated here again because it is a PDF you might be able to do it using Word.

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