Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tweaking my way through the format

It's February. I'm supposed to be frantically writing book 3 of Hemlock for our writers' group challenge. But I promised my Mum I'd publish my next book of children's short stories soon, so I finally agreed to stop putting off reformatting it...

...and finally remembered why I'd stopped in the first place. 44 stories is okay - a few cut and pastes, file > page setup > set margins and headers and footers so they don't overlap, set the gutter, apply to all sections (and wonder where sections came from), edit the stories - start even, end odd - then you're done. I remember struggling to make the page numbers appear on the contents list - turned out it had hardwired the page-size in when I switched from docx to doc. But, as I said, easy enough.

That was Genesis People, last January, just before my Mum went back to England the last time. This one's Psalms and Parables, and she's going back on Thursday. There's one hundred and fifty psalms and a story for each - 305 pages! And there's sections on top of sections on top of firsts and lasts that were meant to be intermediate. I change the header and the page-count jumps. I stop viewing headers and it goes back, except for one story that's turned out too long, so I fix it and another one looks wrong.

I'm dreaming tails on tales... but I did it at last! I've finished reformatting it; 305 pages, 6x9 inches, headers, footers, gutters, each story fitting on a two-page spread. It kind of looks like a book. And Lulu would even give me 15% off my order if I try to buy it today. But I've still got to proofread and that'll take more than a while.

Back to editing.

Back to Hemlock, soon.

Nah, back to a nice hot cup of tea.

7 comments:

Cold As Heaven said...

Appears like an author has a lot more to take care of than just the content of the book. It reminds me of the hazzle I always get when writing a science paper and getting it back from peer and editor review to fix all kinds of stuff. It usually takes more time than writing the first version. No fun at all. The fun part is the first version when you create the content.

Laura Eno said...

I've had to beat up page numbers too. They're not very cooperative. Best of luck with your endeavors!

bearmancartoons said...

PDF conversion was the worst for me.

Linda Kage said...

Wow, sounds like a lot of work. Congrats on meeting that goal. Good luck with the next!

Stephanie Faris said...

Wow...that's a lot of work. I guess I never thought about how much actual labor goes into publishing your own book.

Gladys Hobson said...

Wow! That is a lot of careful work.
We publish (and sell) through our own Magpies Nest Publishing. My son formats the books to perfection with InDesign, taking my carefully prepared manuscript back to plain text (!) and then putting in the styles to ensure uniformity throughout etc.
BUT sometimes it is a long wait to get it done!
I thought of doing it through LULU and looked at what was involved. Too much for me I think, but maybe more than that would be the cost. I sell most of my books through bookshops (40% discount given) and book wholesalers (at least 50% discount required but orders can be up to 50 books). Yet the retail book price has to be no higher than paperbacks from large publishers or they would never sell.
I sell a few books privately and give some away. Maybe friends would buy direct from Lulu but I can't see anyone else doing so - certainly not retailers.

My latest book has 145,000 words (400-500 pages depending on print size) That would cost a lot for the book AND for postage if bought from LULU.

We (I say WE as I include my son!) get our books printed in batches as single books would be too costly. The initial cost of the books includes downloading and a proof, so the first batch is more expensive but following batches get cheaper. We get them registered with ISBN and they automatically get put on Amazon etc and in catalogues. (My UK books are ridiculously priced by Amazon.com. I usually provide books abroad myself.)

I do have some books published in the USA through AG Press. (I don't pay fees but I give any royalties to charity.) They are really for the American market as postage to the UK is nearly as much as the book!

Just thought you might be interested, Sheila.

Sheila Deeth said...

Thanks for the support. I'm hoping to get back to the writing part soon. Interesting to read how you do it Gladys, and how you decided who to publish with. I chose Lulu partly because they sell in England, but I don't see many people buying from them there or here.