[scribus] Using Scribus for novels and short stories

Gregory Pittman gregp_ky at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 5 19:00:49 CET 2011

On 01/05/2011 12:19 PM, LORN MACINTYRE wrote:
> Dear Rob,
> Thank you for your response. My novel is 60,000 words long, split into 20
> chapters. It was written and formatted in Times New Roman 12 using Microsoft
> Word XP. I want to:
> Transfer it into Scribus using OpenOffice to preserve the formatting.
> Choose a font which will avoid kerning issues as much as possible, since I read
> that Times New Roman has kerning problems.
> Create possibly two Master Pages, one for the first page of each chapter, the
> other (with page numbers and header) for subsequent pages.
> I presume that since formatting has been preserved to some extent, I will not
> have a great deal of editing to do, apart for attending to widows and orphans.
> Produce a cover with a coloured photograph.
> Produce a PDF file of single pages for printing.
> You mention LaTex, but I have already purchased the Scribus manual, and have
> been experimenting with portions of text transferred from my Word files.

My first advice would be to suggest using as many sources as you can 
about font choices, and do your own research as well.

Christoph Schäfer and I made the official manual using Scribus, and 
aside from the included graphics, this was largely a text-based book. We 
were comfortable with using Fontin for the font, but this is only one of 
many possible choices.

My personal bias is to believe that a serif or serif-like font tend to 
be the best choice for book-length text. The reason for saying 
"serif-like" is that, as you look at various fonts you see gradations 
rather than discrete differences. For example, look at Fontin vs Fontin 

With text, one of my personal pet peeves with sans fonts is the trouble 
distinguishing 'I' from 'l' from the number'1'. Also look at the number 
'0' vs the letter 'O'.

The things to consider are that you may have a font which is attractive, 
clearly differentiates various glyphs, but still is somehow a chore to 
read as a book, because the font becomes a distraction from the actual 
text that is the reason for the book's existence.

As far as kerning, you do _not_ want to have a huge chore of searching 
out numerous places where you must kern characters. This is why you must 
look at a large body of text in a particular font to decide whether it 
is worthy of your consideration. Go to the library, go to a bookstore, 
and peruse all sorts of books, not for the content, but for the 
readability, the legibility, the visual comfort you have as you scan 
pages. Sometimes books actually will have a page which tells you which 
fonts were used, but even if they don't, you should be able to see how 
various glyph characteristics are either pleasing to you or not.

Lastly, I mention googling the topic, but like so many kinds of 
searches, you will find a sea of opinions out there, so use searches 
which help your decision-making and don't just add to the list of 


PS: make sure you know the license of your chosen font. Can you use it 
without a fee? Can you embed it? Does Scribus load it without issues?

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