Thursday, May 9, 2013

And Yet More Proofreading

Sadly, my blogging time as of late has been superceeded by both work demands and a myriad of tasks involving preparing the finalized manuscripts for both the e-book and the print book. I now have a profound and wondrous regard for book editors and all those hardy souls whose careers revolve around taking typed words in a Microsoft document and converting them into artistically gifted, visually pleasing pages in a book.

As I noted in the last post, preparing the manuscript version for the e-book was a testy process, mainly involving setting up an active Table of Contents. However, this was a trifling feat in comparison to the madness of formatting the print book pages. E-book pages are not meant to be that pretty and as long as the words line up correctly and chapters and paragraphs are clearly delineated, you are golden. Print books, however, require chapter headings, page numbers, graphics, and an assortment of formatting goodies, all which seem easy but a Word template is never an easy task to handle.

Lucky, Amazon's CreateSpace offers free templates for print book pages. I decided on a book size of 5.5X8.5 and downloaded the appropriate template. This pops up in Word with two pages side by side, so you can see what the general layout of your book will be. The template has gutters (the margins close to the book binding: these are deeper than the margins on the opposite side of the page) so the paragraphs are a bit askew in the program, but they will look fine in print.

On the right-side pages, I decided to have the title of the book and the page number on the top right hand side. On the left-side pages is my name and the page number. However, I have a few pages of information (copyright, acknowledgements, title page) before the story starts, so I tried to get the page numbers and headings to start on a specific page. Word, most infuriatingly, kept putting everything at the beginning of the document, and it was several hours of work and some research before I finally got the headers and page numbers to start where they should be.

Once everything was formatted, I created a PDF document that shows what all the print pages will look like, and I am currently looking through them one last time for errors and formatting mistakes. I have made some minor word changes, particularly since I found two "widows" (a widow is a single line on a page). Chapters 2 and 9 ended with widows, so I went back through the chapters and cut out a few words to get rid of the widows. I also kept an eye out for "orphans" (a one word line ending a paragraph).

Also, as I was going through everything, I realized that I needed more use of Captain Roberts' first name (Gavin) in conversations. I have a number of conversations where he is talking with an old friend and they constantly refer to each other by their last names. In review, I realized that this seemed to give the conversations a flavor of disrespect, so I edited some of these to make more liberal use of first names.

In all retrospect, it is a good thing that I had a disappearing graphic artist. The last posting I made showed an updated cover for "Steam on the Horizon". However, the artist of the cover simply dropped off the face of the earth and I had to scramble to find a new one. By a stroke of luck, I came across the artist Brent Schreiber: his work is phenominal, and you should take yourself straightaway to his website to see some examples of his work. When Brent and I first started talking, he sent me some examples of his work, and this particular piece caught my attention as being pretty steampunk-looking

Brent puts such amazing detail into his work! I can't wait to see the final cover for "Steam on the Horizon", We have been exchanging a flurry of emails and I just got to see the inked drawing today. Brent is setting to work on the painting next and is working hard to get the cover done.

Because there has been a delay in the cover, this has worked to be a blessing in disguise because it has forced me to take yet another read over the manuscript and make sure it is as perfect as possible. I am so ready to get this book done that I just want to throw it out there. However, I don't want to make mistakes and since I am waiting for the coverart to be finished, I have no excuse not to go through the manuscript again. Just yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten to justify the paragraphs and made a quick scramble to rectify this mistake. I don't want the book to come out and then I realize an abundance of errors I should have corrected!

It looks like I will be headed to OSFest 6 in July: I have no excuse since it is in Omaha, the lovely and talented Omaha-based singer Ally Rhodes will be there, and I will be able to meet Gail Carriger, author of "The Parasol Protectorate". Also, OSFest will be offering an Authors' Alley where authors can be available for book signing. Best of all, Authors' Alley will be open to the public, so anyone in Omaha can drop by to get a copy of "Steam on the Horizon". More information forthcoming!

And now, off to more proofreading. Oh dear, what grievous writing mistakes await me?