What I Do For You

This is what I attend to when laying out your manuscript for printing:

Trim Size: I help you decide on a size for your printed book. That helps decide details like margins and placement of the book block, font size, line spacing, and where the page numbers will be placed. Oh and the book block? That’s the rectangle of text on the page.

Font selections: I help you decide on which of my available fonts to use, which helps determine some of the “feel” of the book. The will be at most three different fonts; one for the main text, one for the title and chapter heads, and (possibly) one for decorative contrast. (But probably not.) This does not count fleurons, which are text-based decorative elements, which can be taken from any font (but care must be used to match the style to the text and other fonts.)

Text Layout: that’s the placement of the Title on the half-title and title pages, the publishing information on the copyright page, any dedication or acknowledgements in their respective places, the arrangement of the chapter numbers and titles (if any), the justification and hyphenation of the text in paragraphs, and adjustment of the text flow (no changes to the text itself) to eliminate widows, orphans, and runts. Additionally, the end of a chapter should have a minimum of five lines of text. This is where the majority of the time goes, because it’s such a fiddly process.

Font adjustments: there are four dashes in a proper, professional font. The first is the minus sign, and that should exclusively be used for mathematical equations. Second is the hyphen, which is used to indicate a word is split between two lines. Third is the Em-dash, used as a form of punctuation setting off phrases in a sentence. And last is the En-dash, used to show duration (such as 8:00-9:00). The proper forms of the copyright symbol and other symbols like ellipses will be used, and typographer’s quotes (“curly quotes”) will be used, and any use of foot, inch, and degree marks will be placed properly as well. This gets really annoying when there are conversations about carpenter’s measurements, but that’s the job, right?

Word Stacks: this is when two or more consecutive lines end with the same word. This looks annoying (through no fault of the author), and I’ll work to subtly change the layout so that those words do not end the lines. This is the last thing that I do, for two reasons; the changes that I make here will have little to no consequence for the rest of the layout, and the rest of the layout changes can change whether this is even an issue at all.

Yes, I use software that makes a lot of this automatic. (But not all, I hasten to add.) What you’re paying for is the knowledge of how to use that software to make it automatic, and how to make the automatic process produce an acceptable result. And, of course, the knowledge of when the automatic process will not produce an acceptable result, and needs to to tweaked by hand (and how to do that.)

Frankly, I may be undervaluing my services – but what you are not paying for is a dedicated eight (or ten) hour work day. I have professional, family, and community responsibilities that I have to attend to  – but you’ll get your results back in a week (and I’ll let you know if there are any delays.) I do this as a hobby, because I’m a bit obsessive about books.

Would you like my obsessions to serve your book?