Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Ha! That formatting..


I've been AWOL for more than a week from this blog, sucked into the mire of domestic necessities (donning the supergran cloak) but there actually has been so much happening!

I've just created this new Facebook header because I can now display all seven of my novels- all to be available soon for purchase.

With great trepidation, I've ordered a proof copy of The Taexali Game. If all is well with it when it arrives via a slow postal service (ordered onthe 30th April and not here yet), fingers crossed, I'll be ordering a bundle of print copies. I'm terrified, but also extremely excited at the same time.

The processes leading to me getting the 'go ahead' from Createspace for ordering that proof print copy were quite a challenge.

I'm not sure how many other authors have been like me  - using MsWord for writing their manuscripts with little knowledge of how to use it effectively for formatting issues. I've been typing away on MsWord for probably twenty years with almost no understanding of the nuaces of the sophisticated programme. I bear a lot of blame because, with a bit more effort, I could have learned to use it better back when I was still teaching.

As a practising primary teacher of the oldest children in the school I was expected to produce printed evidence of lessons in class. These were pieces of evidence of creative writing, poems, descriptive work about topics learned etc. As long as these pieces of evidence had been thoroughly spell and grammar checked they were acceptable as long as the presentation was good to 'the eye'. That meant using an acceptable 'justification' with appropriate paragraphing but how that was achieved was via a 'manual' process.

What I had no experience of at that time was the formatting of the work. I could have set up classroom computers in such a way that the default Word programme had proper indents without using the TAB key or RETURN key for a new paragraph. I did do a number of computer courses that were specifically designed for teachers but there was no requirement to learn the techniques that I've recently learned.

Going through the process of preparing THE TAEXALI GAME for publishing I am now aware of so many aspects of using MsWord that I now need to pre-set in new work. To my shame I didn't even know how to insert an 'EM dash' - but now I do!

I like my manuscripts to be the best presented as possible before submission to my publisher, in the past with regard to grammar, speeling and syntax, but now I'll be ensuring that I send in work that matches Crooked Cat's formatting 'house style' (when I can) because I see now how much time must be spent by Stephanie Patterson at the final draft stages. I'll be trying to remember to justify properly; insert the correct kind of Em or En dashes; asterisks for POV changes; double line spacing for a time change; and inserting proper ellipses.

When a document has gone through mnay changes, and maybe even different versions of Word used over the years before submission, some formatting isssues must be so hard to sort out!

The next stages of my venture into self-publishing will be organising the ebook version of The Taexali Game. I'm hoping Createspace will make tha teasier having done the print version first but if not... I have a better idea of checking that the layout fits the ebook requirements.

Now... when will the postie bring me my proof copy?


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