Making it pretty, and other vanities…

I really enjoy typesetting. There is something cathartic about it. For months I have been slaving away with first drafts, second drafts , third drafts , edits, redrafts, more edits, post editor editing, revisions… All fun stuff I assure you. But once all that is done, and the dust has settled. (barely in my case as I always end up starting these things as soon as I can even if it midnight, I have work in eight hours, and I’m running short of coffee…) I get to do something I only get to do once in a  while. I get to typeset a book…

Up until this point Maybe has been just words on the page, in complete, a work in progress, a none thing in some respects. True, it remains a work in progress once I start typesetting a proof copy as well. But once typesetting is underway it is really becoming an accrual thing and I have always felt more comfortable with actual things. Its why my house is a library, my music is on disc, and I still buy dvd’s. But just like making a cover, typesetting and designing book interiors makes my books real for me. Even if the majority of my sales are ebooks where the interior typesetting is to an extent mute. (not entirely, you have to type set an ebook as well, and do fancy stuff with active menus etc. but its less critical than with a print book, you don’t need to make sure each page fits, that indents are right, that drop downs at the start of a chapter are all the same two inches from the top etc.) Ultimately I like making things, a book is a thing and real honest to goodness thing you hold in your hand rather than ones and zeros. So last night, or more honestly in the early hours of the morning, I started typesetting Maybe and decided into the bargain I needed different  chapter masts form the cog wheel design I use for Hannibal books.

Hannibal books have a harder edge to it them than I am going for in the Maybe books. The austere interlocking cog wheels of Hannibal would have been fine, but I decided I wanted something a little lighter, feminine and a tad more Victorian for maybe’s layout. here is the flower cogs design and lay out or chapters and the contents page I came up with (this was at about 2 am)


Of course, it wasn’t that simple, nineteen chapters heads and an epilogue take a lot of putting together, as does getting them laid out in the book so each chapter head falls on an odd number right hand side page. Which sometimes mean the even page before it is blank if the previous chapter finished on an odd page number. Of course it doesn’t technically matter if the chapter heads go on even pages, but having them all fall on odd pages just feels neater and means if you flip through the book all the chapter heads fall right. And of course when you are making chapter heads you need to make the contents page , the dedication , the ‘by the same author’ and all the rest as well.

The ‘By the same author’ page is always fun as you want to include the as yet unwritten books. And while no one but me will probably hold me to it, that left me committing to writing at least two more books this year, and possible a third.

On top of all this you have to get your fonts right, line spacing right , paragraph style right and oh dozens other things all of which need attention to detail. Because presenting the words correctly is as important as writing them.

Finally of course when your interiors are just right you need to get your cover sorted. Luckily I have the cover, unluckily at 3am, the coffee having ruin dry, I spent a frustrating half hour wondering why my cover didn’t fit the template… (I realised I was building the book a 6×9 rather than 5×8 like I should have been about 3:30) Eventually though, fuels by a fresh cup of tea I realised my error and managed to sort that out, reload the interior , build the cover, write a first draft back cover and put this together…

cover proofing

The red and white dotted lines are cuts and bleeds, and the back cover blurb is temporary, (as is the airship) this is just a screen shot from the on line proofing at KDP ( hence the off little arrow on the right…).

By this time it was 4:00am and the long wait for submit acceptance was running at 15+ minutes for each change, but the book was built, typeset, and ready for the next stage. I staggered off to bed, and this morning when I was slight more awake I did the last few bits and bats.

Proof copies have now been requested…  the book exists…

Of course this is just another step in the process, I have already spotted three errors in the current version after requesting the proofs. There will be more. But the plan to release Maybe in April is still looking good…

A final note. I am for my sines very computer literate, I know how to use software and what software works best to achieve the results I want. I have also taught myself to typeset, which requires all those skills. If your not like me and your not as well versed with It herding then I will always recommend you get a professional to typeset your print books or at least a lot of advice and take your time. And for the love of Odin don’t start doing it at 12:00 am. Midnight is for sleeping… or so other people tell me.

This entry was posted in amediting, amwriting, books, editing, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, insomnia, novels, pointless things of wonderfulness, reads, sci-fi, self-publishing, steampunk, writes, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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