I spent a lot of time working on the formatting of my first book, Seasons of Imagination.  I downloaded a template, but it did horrid things to the book.  So I wrote down all of the settings that they used for formatting, like margin and gutter and such.  Sticking those into my original document was better.  Finally I had it.

But when I received the first copy, it was awful.  So I redid it.  And it was better.  Good enough.

I tweaked the format a little for The Fireborn and a little more for The Halley Branch.  It was getting pretty good!

Or so I thought.

After I put out The Halley Branch, someone who had read all three in paperback noticed an issue.  A big issue (I won’t tell you.  Find it yourself ;) ).  So when I started working on Embers, I made sure I fixed it first thing.

So Embers was put up with my fix and using all of the stats for my pretty good formatting.  I ordered a proof, just to be sure.

Yuck.  With the major mistake gone, all of the little ones suddenly rared their ugly heads.  I fought with Word and made the formatting better.  Some of the things I put in made no sense whatsoever, but it works.  It looks good.  I converted (through Word) to Acrobat.  It still looked good.  I posted and used the online viewer.  It looks good.  it looks far better than it did.

I am not going to get another proof since it is too late.  I will order one the first day I publish it and see.  But I’m not worried – the viewer looks perfect.  I spent a lot of time with it to be sure.

OK, I know I should break down and order a subscription to Acrobat.  Word is not made for formatting.  I hate it.  Acrobat is.  I will just have to do the math to see if it is worth it.  So far self-publishing has been a very expensive pastime.  For now I will stick with Word, particularly since I think I have finally figured out the formatting.  i will see when I receive a new copy of Embers!

The problem is, now I have to go back and fix all of the other books.  That is going to be a lot of work – the major mistake I talked about was easy to fix when I started it out right from the get-go, but going back and fixing it will be extremely time consuming.  Oh well, I do have to do it, don’t I?  All of the books deserve a professional look and feel.

This post is more for other writers going through the same things than for readers.  You don’t care, do you?  You just want to read :)  And as for Embers, come December 4th, you can!


13 thoughts on “Formatting

  1. Pingback: Formatting Part 2 | Trent's World (the Blog)

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is possible with Word. The part that was odd is the spacing in the header and footers. What was also strange was that back when I did Seasons of Imagination (the other book that I used a table of contents), it would renumber the pages when I used pdf so the table of contents was bad yet Word worked fine. This time it renumbered the pages when I used Word but pdf worked fine! It is a little scary, but stick with it. Make sure you upload it well before your “go live” date so that you can order a proof and double check it. Should be fine, it’s just not as fun as writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the First of December | Trent's World (the Blog)

  3. Gary A Wilson

    No – I too would like to publish some day, but given how my job has worn me out for frustrations enough for one week, I may have to retire before being willing to put up with you just went through. sigh. Thanks for the insight Trent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is a lot of work, but in the end, worth it (I hope ;) ). Sometimes since I spend so much work time on the computer, the last thing I want to do is sit at a computer writing/editing/formatting/etc. but as long as I am able to get out and move, exercise and explore, it uses a different part of my brain than my job, That helps. And retiring will help a lot more! Oh well, a few more years…


  4. Alethea Kehas

    I have had so many formatting nightmares to get through as well…it makes the writing part look easy. I was just told by Ingram with my latest challenges not to use Word. Just when I thought I had figured it out…I feel your pain!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Follow Friday, Blog Style – The Haunted Wordsmith

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