[OS X TeX] Writing a book

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Fri Jan 31 13:37:11 CET 2014

On Jan 30, 2014, at 9:05 AM, John B. Thoo wrote:

> It turns out that the publisher does not work with (La)TeX and, unfortunately, my LaTeX skills are very basic.  (E.g., I kludged the exercise sections using the enumerate environ.  I wish I knew a better way to include exercises so that they would be better formatted and particular exercises would be easier to reference from the text.)  My friend, thus, raised the following concern.

A quick search reveals two promising search results:


> "So the book would look exactly like how it types sets for you. So it would look like a very long article. To get different color, size and style fonts for things like section tiles, text to wrap around images, sidebars, and all the other things that make a text book look appealing, we would need to do it in Word. so the question is do we stick with what we have because it is almost done and you have put sooooo much time into the Tex, or switch to Word so it can look like other texts?"

People who use Word to lay out books deserve what they get.

> Now, I don't use Word.  I don't even have a copy of Word.  My question is, can my friend's concerns be addressed using LaTeX and, if so, where do you suggest I learn how to do it?

When I was starting out, I'd plug in a description into a search engine for any difficulty I was having. Usually it would result in a number of results which all used a particular package to address the problem, so I'd read the package documentation, see if it was suitable, and if it was, add it to my preamble (w/ a %comment on why it was there) and adapt my code.

These days I use Memoir.

> Here is a draft that shows what the book format looks like now.
> <http://ms.yccd.edu/Data/Sites/1/userfiles/facstaff/jthoo/cvandpubs/books/imh_dft20130913.pdf>  (77 MB)
> I am still using TeX Live 2012 in XQaurtz.  (I type in vi.)  I should upgrade to the latest.
> Thanks very much in anticipation for your advice.

My suggestion would be to:

 - get the publisher to cough up a book design / template (as a .pdf) or typesetting specification
 - re-work your design to match that, but being careful not to damage the semantic markup while doing so
 - send them .pdfs for review and copy-editing


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

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