Print-on-demand (POD) technology may have made it much simpler for unknown authors or for works for which there is a very real but limited market to actually get published, BUT there is still the very sticky problem of preparing the material for the printer. The author's original word-processing file (such as MS Word), along with illustrations submitted in such formats as Adobe Photoshop or CorelDraw, must be modified in a "desktop publishing" program, of which Quark Express, PageMaker or Adobe InDesign are good examples. These are complex, expensive programs — and require a long learning curve to master. Of course, they are extremely versatile and deliver excellent results. NOW, there is a simpler solution that anyone with a home computer can learn to use in a day or so. Not quite as versatile, perhaps, but still good enough for most applications, and a real bargain.
About two years ago I began using Serif's PagePlus 8 software to convert my Word, Photoshop, and CorelDraw files into book page layouts, resulting in a PDF file of the entire book that was completely ready for the printer. PagePlus is amazingly easy to use, if a bit "jumpy" at times. It has since been updated three times and is now in its 11th version, which I currently use. The latest one allows the editing of imported PDF text files; possibly an advantage to some. Anyway, the resulting books look quite professional and the POD printer had no trouble with the files. The latter were delivered on CD, although FTP Internet submission is equally good. Most conventional offset printers can also accept these files.
Serif is a rather odd software company that (as far as I can determine) only sells directly to the user via their website. Located in Nottingham, England, they also have a sales office in New Hampshire, U.S.A. Besides the desktop publishing program, PagePlus 11, they offer other easy-to-use graphic solutions including PhotoPlus 10 (similar to Adobe Photoshop Elements but a bit more sophisticated), and DrawPlus 8 (similar to CorelDraw) — along with a host of web and presentation programs. Serif programs are only for PCs; sorry, Mac users. They are friendly people to deal with, whose unusually informative website allows even critical comments from users around the world.
If you are an author considering POD publishing, going this route could save you a bundle over having the printer prepare your Word files for the press. It really gives you complete control of your work. And it's relatively cheap. Check out their website.
Interested in photography? Check out my "Assisting Avedon" blog.
SO, just what Little Adventure am I up to now in 2013? Why, just the most challenging one of them all! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT.
FLASH! March 12 2007. I have just ordered Serif's new version, PagePlus X2, which is optimized for Windows Vista and has other improvements. When it arrives from England I'll test it and tell you all about it. Stay tuned.
AGAIN FLASH! August 1 2009. For the last year or so I have been using an even newer version, PagePlus X3, which is a slight improvement, and sending the resultant files to the printer via FTP Internet uploads.
CHECK OUT these products if you're interested in desktop publishing. CLICK on their names in the boxes below for information and reviews, or on the Buy button to purchase.: