Tuesday, October 30, 2012

[DTP] Starting to use Serif's PagePlus X6.

Yesterday I went ahead and got Serif's PagePlus X6 desktop publishing software for Windows. Serif's DTP software has come highly recommended to me as a good, competent, low-end program. As such, its direct competition would be the Open-source program Scribus, and the rather reviled Microsoft Publisher. Comparing it to programs like QuarkXpress and InDesign would likely be useless, as their target market has very different needs, desires and workflows.

That said, I'm coming from QuarkXpress (even if its several years after the fact), and thus I'm having to make sure I keep my expectations in check. Moreover, I'm coming over to this from OSX to Windows, so that's even more adjustment.

What I primarily want is a competent desktop publishing program for my own, personal use. Given how many smaller RPG/game shops use Serif, I think it'll be quite functional for me. Moreover, I really want to start getting into creating ePub eBooks; my old Adobe CS2 couldn't do that (CS5 or higher), my Quark 7 can't do that (Q8), and so far as I can see, Microsoft Word 2013 can't do it (currently in release preview).

I don't have any clients or jobs lined up at the moment, and won't put myself on the market for a while. I'd like to be sure I'm putting out quality first, you know? Having already done one test ePub, I'm starting to test those, but have already run into an issue with the iPad eReader, which is unacceptable. I'll research that later on to see if its my fault, a problem with the export, or any number of possible issues. Just like PDFs and HTML, ePubs are a standard in a rather loose sense - the reader program/client has more influence on things than I'd like.

I was able to get the upgrade pricing from X5 to X6; a $30 savings, although after using Steam and other such services for so long, seeing a small additional fee for "download protection" was a bit unexpected (essentially, it would let me redownload the application for up to 2 years if I need to). However, Serif's customer service has been quite good to me, so I went ahead with it.

At the moment my goals are:

  1. Achieve competence with the program. There's a lot for me to learn, both in terms of knowing what to do, but also getting familiar with PagePlus's personality, quirks, etc.
  2. Establish a workflow for eBook creation.
  3. Establish a dual-workflow for PDF layout and design as well as eBook.
  4. Research fair and reasonable rates for services rendered.

So, we'll see! Here's hoping, right?

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