Scribus Success Story: A Gingersnap Cat Christmas (paperback print novel)

Indie Publishing Friends, Writing

 

Scribus Success Story - book interior with epigraphs and illustrated title page

Epigraph and Title page for A GINGERSNAP CAT CHRISTMAS. Scribus actually had an option to cameo the image like that!

Indie authors, paperbacks can be done in Scribus, and they can be done beautifully!

A Gingersnap Cat Christmas is a holiday fantasy I wrote for middle-schoolers. The POD paperback (whose interior I formatted in Scribus) is available through Amazon.com.

About the project: Having just missed my Christmas 2017 publishing deadline for the Gingersnap Cat ebook, I vowed to use the extra time in 2018 to teach myself Scribus, with the goal of having Gingersnap ready for print before Christmas 2018.

 Before this project, the last time I’d touched the Big Name desktop publishing program was back in college for a single assignment in a single class…so I really felt like I was starting from scratch! I learned the basics using the Getting Started with Scribus tutorial, and also by working on a single-page newsletter for my church.

I used Scribus 1.5.3 on Windows 7, and chose 5.5.x8.5” for the trim(overall book) size.

  • Completed Size: 199 pages
  • Initial Margins: Inside = 0.875in, Outside=0.625in, Top =.625in, Bottom =.75in. (Note! While these are the settings I used at the beginning of the project, they had to be readjusted after the author proof showed the body text getting sucked into the gutter, see “Challenges” below).
  • Typefaces (fonts): the interior body text was done in Fanwood Text Regular 13 with a fixed 19.5pt line spacing. The interior heading typefaces are Firefly 11 (title), and the Classiq Regular Italic Choix 11 (author).
  • Cover: Designed in the open source vector program Inkscape, but Scribus took care of converting the exported PNG to print-ready PDF. (The kitties were painted in the open source raster art program Krita)

This project was completed just before Amazon migrated all Createspace projects over to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and was so created according to Createspace specifications.

Scribus Success Story - book interior with a running header and a chapter heading

A sample of the novel’s interior.

Challenges: Though I thought I had automatic hyphenation turned on, but I don’t think I ever saw automatic hyphenation function work, so when needed, I inserted the hyphenation manually.

After setting up my left and right Master pages, I started by making each chapter its own file, applying paragraph and italicized styles (my italics weren’t transferred from MS Word), then adjusting the tracking (spacing between words), widows, orphans, etc. Once finished, I added each chapter to the main book body file.

This worked well initially, but since this was my first typography job, I wound up tweaking the tracking inside the much larger main file, which meant I had to deal with a slowdown in program speed. But if I had completed all my tracking 100% to my satisfaction in the individual chapter files, then added them to the main file without touching them afterwards, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Scribus was still usable during this time—it just required a little patience.

My biggest technical hurdle was shifting text blocks—first when my corrective tracking caused pages to switch from left-side to right-side pages (and vice versa), then shifting the text blocks away from the gutter and down from the top after I got my first author proof back. (I recommend all authors set their inside margin wider than you think you’ll need!) Luckily Gregory Pittman came to my rescue with his very helpful shifting script! (He was also kind enough to modify the script to include vertical shifting after an email exchange. Mr. Pittman is a gentleman and a scholar!)

I found Clif Graves’ previous Scribus Success Story   invaluable as both guide and inspiration, along with John Osterhout’s Scribus templates  and DJ Mills’ “Creating Print-on-Demand Interiors and Covers Using Scribus” tutorial.

I’ve had numerous compliments on the look of the Gingersnap Cat Christmas paperback—and now that I’ve done it once, I look forward to using Scribus to publish print versions of my other short stories and novels.

 

Screenshot of Symphytum Personal Information Manager

Free easy-to-use Personal Information Manager SYMPHYTUM helps you get organized

Indie Publishing Friends, Reviews, Writing

I’ve been CRAVING a virtual Rolodex/dossier box/index card program to help me organize things (like my book info)…today I stumbled upon a BEAUTIFUL and EASY TO USE Personal Information Manager (PIM) that let me do exactly what I wanted quickly, with little fuss.

It’s called SYMPHYTUM, it’s free for Windows, Linux, and Mac, and I love it already. Screenshot of Symphytum Personal Information Manager Each record starts as a blank screen, but you add the fields you want where you want them. Simple pick-an-option-then-drag-and-drop. I used a lot of “text” fields for my book page here, but the “date” field will pull up a calendar from which you can choose dates, and clicking the globe icon in a “web link” field will take you to the URL you entered in there. I’m sure there are other cool features.

You can also view all the records in a table, which makes things easy to see.

Two tricksy things:

  1.  When moving fields, they switch places with each other (when in a column I usually wanted it to bump the one I was replacing down)
  2. I couldn’t figure out how to resize my image at first, but after some experimenting I discovered the procedure: make the frame as big as you want, then get the image. If it’s not to your liking, resize the frame and get the image again.

My wishlist:

  1. It’d be nice if they had a toggle for “field-add” mode so I don’t accidently move things around when I’m just entering stuff (though I don’t think I’ve done that…yet.)
  2. I stumbled on a keyboard shortcut or two, but I don’t see ’em listed anywhere.

The next software program I want to get for writing is TrackerBox (which tracks sales across different vendors) but until then, Symphytum will work well in helping me keep ISBNs and the like straight.

 

Writing

drawingden:

drawingden:

drawingden:

*UPDATED VERSION SUMMER 2015*

Digital Painting and Drawing

  • Autodesk SketchBook Copic Edition – This is the limited edition of SketchBook Pro with 72 Copic colours to choose from
  • Krita – Krita offers CMYK support, HDR painting, perspective grids, dockers, filters, painting assistants, and many other great features
  • GIMP – GIMP is a well known free alternative to Photoshop with similar features 
  • Mischief Free Version – With six essential brushes, a basic palette of colors and an infinite vector canvas, Mischief-Free is perfect for hashing out ideas, life drawing, and endless doodles
  • MyPaint – MyPaint is a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters, and comes with 39 different brushes
  • Verve Painter – Verve is a small painting application that uses fluid dynamics and brushes to push the paint around, though it is still in development.
  • Inkscape – Inkscape is an open-source professional quality vector graphics software with sophisticated drawing tools with capabilities comparable to Adobe Illustrator.
  • FireAlpaca – A similar program to Paint Tool Sai that offers features such as a snap feature which creates a variety of perspective overlays.
  • MediBang Paint – A free lightweight painting program for Windows, Mac Os and Android with cloud saving to allow users to easily switch between platforms.

  • SpeedyPainter – Basic painting program with a simple layout and features such as perspective grids and reference view mode

3D Modelling  

  • Google Sketchup – Drawing-based tool for architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is a free version and SketchUp Pro is a paid version with additional functionality.
  • Sculptris – A free, introductory digital sculpting tool, a great stepping stone for digital sculptors, created by the makers of Zbrush.
  • Blender – A powerful application with full-fledged professional tools, Blender has a wide community and resources to help you learn.
  • SculptGL – This handy modelling program works online in your browser and is compatible with wacom tablets

Animation

  • Synfig – Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork.
  • EmoFuri – EmoFuri is a new animation software that helps artists easily animate photoshop illustrations in a 2D-3D style.It uses PSD files of character illustrations to animate them. 
  • Pencil2D – Pencil2D is an open-source animation/drawing software that lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation using both bitmap and vector graphics.
  • Live2D – This increasingly popular 2D-3D animation software is similar to Emofuri with sample models available to experiment with, and is also available in english.

Pixel Art

  • Piskel – An online pixel art app that lets you animate pixel art with a live preview of your work.
  • Piq – While it doesn’t have the best looking layout, this online tool has lots of interesting features including a colour-drift tool that’s great for making colour palettes.

Etc

  • Thisissand – An online fun and unique playground for creating colourful sandscapes, also comes in an app version
  • Flame Painter – A free demo of the full program, it allows you to try out the flame generator and change different brush settings and paint your own flame paintings
  • Silk – An online interactive generative art program that creates bright silk-like patterns, with options to change colours and rotational symmetry.
  • Bomomo – This interesting program has a group of dots that move around the screen in the pattern you choose, then paint the canvas according to when you click the screen.
  • Drawpile – 

    Drawpile is a software collaborative drawing program that allows multiple users to sketch on the same canvas simultaneously.

Writing

drawingden:

drawingden:

drawingden:

*UPDATED VERSION SUMMER 2015*

Digital Painting and Drawing

  • Autodesk SketchBook Copic Edition – This is the limited edition of SketchBook Pro with 72 Copic colours to choose from
  • Krita – Krita offers CMYK support, HDR painting, perspective grids, dockers, filters, painting assistants, and many other great features
  • GIMP – GIMP is a well known free alternative to Photoshop with similar features 
  • Mischief Free Version – With six essential brushes, a basic palette of colors and an infinite vector canvas, Mischief-Free is perfect for hashing out ideas, life drawing, and endless doodles
  • MyPaint – MyPaint is a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters, and comes with 39 different brushes
  • Verve Painter – Verve is a small painting application that uses fluid dynamics and brushes to push the paint around, though it is still in development.
  • Inkscape – Inkscape is an open-source professional quality vector graphics software with sophisticated drawing tools with capabilities comparable to Adobe Illustrator.
  • FireAlpaca – A similar program to Paint Tool Sai that offers features such as a snap feature which creates a variety of perspective overlays.
  • MediBang Paint – A free lightweight painting program for Windows, Mac Os and Android with cloud saving to allow users to easily switch between platforms.

  • SpeedyPainter – Basic painting program with a simple layout and features such as perspective grids and reference view mode

3D Modelling  

  • Google Sketchup – Drawing-based tool for architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is a free version and SketchUp Pro is a paid version with additional functionality.
  • Sculptris – A free, introductory digital sculpting tool, a great stepping stone for digital sculptors, created by the makers of Zbrush.
  • Blender – A powerful application with full-fledged professional tools, Blender has a wide community and resources to help you learn.
  • SculptGL – This handy modelling program works online in your browser and is compatible with wacom tablets

Animation

  • Synfig – Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork.
  • EmoFuri – EmoFuri is a new animation software that helps artists easily animate photoshop illustrations in a 2D-3D style.It uses PSD files of character illustrations to animate them. 
  • Pencil2D – Pencil2D is an open-source animation/drawing software that lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation using both bitmap and vector graphics.
  • Live2D – This increasingly popular 2D-3D animation software is similar to Emofuri with sample models available to experiment with, and is also available in english.

Pixel Art

  • Piskel – An online pixel art app that lets you animate pixel art with a live preview of your work.
  • Piq – While it doesn’t have the best looking layout, this online tool has lots of interesting features including a colour-drift tool that’s great for making colour palettes.

Etc

  • Thisissand – An online fun and unique playground for creating colourful sandscapes, also comes in an app version
  • Flame Painter – A free demo of the full program, it allows you to try out the flame generator and change different brush settings and paint your own flame paintings
  • Silk – An online interactive generative art program that creates bright silk-like patterns, with options to change colours and rotational symmetry.
  • Bomomo – This interesting program has a group of dots that move around the screen in the pattern you choose, then paint the canvas according to when you click the screen.
  • Drawpile – 

    Drawpile is a software collaborative drawing program that allows multiple users to sketch on the same canvas simultaneously.

Writing

drawingden:

drawingden:

drawingden:

*UPDATED VERSION SUMMER 2015*

Digital Painting and Drawing

  • Autodesk SketchBook Copic Edition – This is the limited edition of SketchBook Pro with 72 Copic colours to choose from
  • Krita – Krita offers CMYK support, HDR painting, perspective grids, dockers, filters, painting assistants, and many other great features
  • GIMP – GIMP is a well known free alternative to Photoshop with similar features 
  • Mischief Free Version – With six essential brushes, a basic palette of colors and an infinite vector canvas, Mischief-Free is perfect for hashing out ideas, life drawing, and endless doodles
  • MyPaint – MyPaint is a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters, and comes with 39 different brushes
  • Verve Painter – Verve is a small painting application that uses fluid dynamics and brushes to push the paint around, though it is still in development.
  • Inkscape – Inkscape is an open-source professional quality vector graphics software with sophisticated drawing tools with capabilities comparable to Adobe Illustrator.
  • FireAlpaca – A similar program to Paint Tool Sai that offers features such as a snap feature which creates a variety of perspective overlays.
  • MediBang Paint – A free lightweight painting program for Windows, Mac Os and Android with cloud saving to allow users to easily switch between platforms.

  • SpeedyPainter – Basic painting program with a simple layout and features such as perspective grids and reference view mode

3D Modelling  

  • Google Sketchup – Drawing-based tool for architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is a free version and SketchUp Pro is a paid version with additional functionality.
  • Sculptris – A free, introductory digital sculpting tool, a great stepping stone for digital sculptors, created by the makers of Zbrush.
  • Blender – A powerful application with full-fledged professional tools, Blender has a wide community and resources to help you learn.
  • SculptGL – This handy modelling program works online in your browser and is compatible with wacom tablets

Animation

  • Synfig – Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork.
  • EmoFuri – EmoFuri is a new animation software that helps artists easily animate photoshop illustrations in a 2D-3D style.It uses PSD files of character illustrations to animate them. 
  • Pencil2D – Pencil2D is an open-source animation/drawing software that lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation using both bitmap and vector graphics.
  • Live2D – This increasingly popular 2D-3D animation software is similar to Emofuri with sample models available to experiment with, and is also available in english.

Pixel Art

  • Piskel – An online pixel art app that lets you animate pixel art with a live preview of your work.
  • Piq – While it doesn’t have the best looking layout, this online tool has lots of interesting features including a colour-drift tool that’s great for making colour palettes.

Etc

  • Thisissand – An online fun and unique playground for creating colourful sandscapes, also comes in an app version
  • Flame Painter – A free demo of the full program, it allows you to try out the flame generator and change different brush settings and paint your own flame paintings
  • Silk – An online interactive generative art program that creates bright silk-like patterns, with options to change colours and rotational symmetry.
  • Bomomo – This interesting program has a group of dots that move around the screen in the pattern you choose, then paint the canvas according to when you click the screen.
  • Drawpile – 

    Drawpile is a software collaborative drawing program that allows multiple users to sketch on the same canvas simultaneously.