on October 7, 2008
Aaron Shepard's "Perfect Pages" is the best book (if not the only book) that teaches the reader the many pitfalls of desktop publishing. I published my first two books with a self-publishing company. If I had "Perfect Pages" first, I wouldn't have. I would've published them myself. Luckily, I can publish more books in the future without having to pay someone to do it for me.
I didn't actually need every bit of information that this book explains. Shepard discusses the differences between MS Word for Windows and Macs, etc. But the information I needed was well worth the money. For example, I didn't know how to resize the document to make it acceptable as a print-ready PDF file.
Shepard also explains how to create book covers in Word, something that I thought was impossible. Although he suggests setting up a document as two columns, I thought of my own way. After a little practice, I learned how to created covers in Word and PowerPoint. After creating them in PowerPoint, they can be transferred over to Word.
If you use Word 2007, you may experience trouble. Shepard explains how to use older versions of Word (which are easier to use). He recommends Word 2000 and 2003. I agree. Those are the easiest to work with, and they don't differ too much. Word 2007 looks COMPLETELY different. However, "Perfect Pages" can still help you. You will only need to do some sleuthing.
Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard is 159 pages long and is all about preparing a book for self publishing, Print on Demand (POD).
I found the first ten pages or so quite heavy going and wondered if I had made a mistake in purchasing this book, but then it all open out well. There was much new information for my own bank of knowledge. Whilst the book is very professional, I felt that it often had too much detail, which over complicated how to layout a book, when there is simpler ways for a first timer who may think that headers and footers etc. are compulsory for a book, when it is not. However, to have the option and how to go about it is good.
The book covers both Word and Mac, which I found confusing, which often meant a re-read of a paragraph or sentence, though helpful if you have one or the other. I also came across some good publishing words like: rivers, floaters and widows and orphans and now know what they mean!
The book is laid out really well - hope so, when it all about this subject! And very easy on the eye, with examples of right and wrong sizes, punctuation, print symbols etc. which is most helpful as was the recommended book for certain areas of book layout and production and the how to make an Index in word.
Good book on how to get perfect pages in your own production of a book!
on May 7, 2007
Perfect Pages is a practical little manual that reveals ways of using MS Word as a versatile tool for producing self-published books. It shows how Word can perform surpisingly well for both typesetting and cover design to create publish-on-demand books. Shepard's hints about adjusting settings for punctuation and page layout are particularly valuable. Perhaps the book's only flaws are an inclination to be sometimes overly brief with explanations, and the lack of screen-shots to illustrate its useful advice. Overall though, Perfect Pages is well worth the money.
on January 22, 2007
I was disappointed to find that this book offers very little more (and in some cases a lot less) than any Word manual. Sure, the author covers many basic functions of Word that allow it to be used in desktop publishing, but the book itself looks like a poorly designed self-pubbed book.
Few of the pages themselves use any design elements to illustrate features that a book requires to make it readable and attractive. It talks about text boxes and frames, graphic elements, and ornaments without demonstrating their use on the page.
With no index and a poorly constructed Table of Contents this is not a book I'd recommend to anyone wanting to know how to design or produce a book using Word, or any other program.
I'd hope to use this in a desktop publishing course I teach, but instead will refer people to Word manuals and
general books on design and self-publishing.