Q&A: Can I Typeset My Book Using Word?

April 30th, 2012 → 8:00 am @

Welcome back to our short series featuring common questions on book publishing and marketing. Today, we learn the best ways for authors to typeset their books:

“I see you a lot on the web talking about typesetting but I also see a lot of other folks who claim to typeset their books using MS Word and say that I can typeset my book using Word. I am confused? Can I do it myself in Word or should I hire a typesetter?

The problem is that MS Word is the direct descendents of typewriters, not typesetting systems. It was originally meant to mimic the “look and feel” of the familiar typewriter. This was partly intended to calm the anxieties of the millions of secretaries and assistants who were being asked to switch to computers.The explosion of interest in self-publishing has led to an unprecedented number of books being produced using typewriting programs such as MS Word. If you want your book to look the best it can, if you want a book that looks like a book and not like the report you did for English Composition, it’s good to know the difference. Sure, you can “typeset” your book on a typewriter or rather MS Word, but then again, why would you want to? There is a reason why typesetting programs such as InDesign and Quark were created. If books were meant to look like English papers then that would be the standard, but no matter how many self-published authors do their books using MS Word, the standard will always be typesetting programs. In our professional opinion, you should hire a typesetter, as they know and understand books.”

Courtesy of ZLS Publishers; thanks for the tip!

Carol Topp, CPA


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