Software for Self Publishing

Hi all:

I am inerested in possibly self publishing my novel.

Aside from Lulu, does anyone have any reccomendations on software?

All I ask for is simplicity and a person to talk with if I get stuck.

Any ideas?

Thanks so much,


Howdy. Depends on what you mean by self-publishing. But last year I published a book (my mother’s life story) using Papyrus as the book layout software (cost ~$100 US). I had text and about 100 photos in 234 page book, no footnotes or endnotes. It performed flawlessly, adjusting titles numbers, etc. with ease. I made the final PDFs using Papyrus and sent them to the local print shop. In fact, about a month ago, I had a third printing done on the book.

Is that what you are looking for?

Just to add to what exe said…

Really depends on how much money you want to spend and how much you want to do yourself. If self-publishing is going to become a regular occurrence then I’d suggest buying a layout program otherwise for the odd project here and there you’re better off going to a freelance graphic designer. If you’re inexperienced with page layout then the freelancer will do a better job and faster so if you weigh time vs costs that might be the best approach.

If you want to do it yourself then look into the following apps:
Adobe InDesign (Mac and PC) - expensive
QuarkXpress (Mac and PC) - expensive
PageMaker (PC and Mac Classic) - mid-range and now a legacy program
Apple Pages (Mac) - £55 with iwork - has problems with Lulu though
Mellel (Mac) - about £30

Another alternative is Scribus, which is an open source layout program. It’s free and runs on just about any platform, but if you’re using an Intel mac you’ll have to compile it yourself or use Fink or MacPorts. I’ve dabbled with it and found it to be quite powerful and flexible but with it’s roots in linux it might confuse you if you’re only used to Mac or PC.

The learning curve on most of these programs is fairly steep and then you have to get your head around the difference between word processing and page layout. I’ve worked with of very intelligent people (scientists and engineers) that can’t, mostly because of the bad habits encouraged by MS Word.

If you’re only working with text then I’d suggest using Pages (assuming you’re on a Mac). It’s cheap, easy to use and is reasonably well supported on forums etc. The problems with Pages and Lulu can be overcome by printing the file to PS and then uploading that to Lulu’s server. If you head over to you’ll even find some simple book templates that look half decent.

BTW, Papyrus and RagTime are cross-platform (Mac and Win).

Check out

Another alternative is find a local community college and talk to their art department. Hire a student to layout your book for a small fee and supply it to you in PDF. Many design students while still in school look for work to build their portfolio and would usually jump for the chance to design something “For professional use”

Another idea is have an art teacher do a contest for the cover design. THe prize is say $50.00. A whole class or multiple classes may all “enter” your little contest and then you would have many designs to choose from as the “winner”

This would allow you to focus on other things and allow a starting art student to get their feet wet.

If you wish to pursue do many book designs and graphics for self publishing I would recomeend Adobe Indesign. If it is a one time thing or something that you would not use very frequently I would look at alternate software or look to “hiring” someone to “layout” your work and then supply it to you in PDF.

If you have any questions feel free to ask me. I have been a professional designer and have done professional layout for over 15 years. :slight_smile:

(My day job)

…tis your night time job that causes problems :imp:

The End is Nigh :imp:

…the end is night, you say?

[size=85]…what goes bump in the night, Msieur, isnt always the good woman turning over too far and falling out of bed!!..beware :imp: [/size]