Special Friday Update: Formatting, Argh!

So, I don’t make the hardcover file until I’m pretty sure I’ve got most of the typos, because I don’t want to have to do it twice.

Wait, let me back up. Here is the flow of events. This takes place during final tweaking and proofing.

–Make a version for the ppbk version so I can tell the cover artist the number of pages and also confirm that the title page is on the right and so on with the very big formatting issues.

–Read through a draft on my phone and make a thousand little tweaks. (Actually about a hundred, but it seems like more.)

–Make those corrections to the ebook file.

–Get back proofing comments from a lot of people and make those corrections to the ebook file.

–Send myself the updated version so I can read it again on my phone.

–Delete all the chapter text from the ppbk file and replace it with the text from the corrected ebook. Make a paper copy for my mother to read.

–Get more proofing comments and this time it isn’t SO many, so it’s probably more efficient to make those changes to both the ebook file and the paperback file.

–Decide there can’t be many more corrections to come and make the hardcover file and get the number of pages to send the cover artist.

NOW there are THREE files, and any future corrections need to be made to all three files, unless I once again delete all the text and replace it. But wait, there’s more!

–Use Draft to Digital to create the epub file, now required for Patreon.

This, it turns out, is annoying. What you do is, you load the ebook file to Draft to Digital as though you’re going to publish it through them, which you are not in my case. I’m grateful for their tools, but if you don’t want to do it that way, you could do it with Calibre. Regardless, you need to create the epub file and it turns out this is annoying because –>

–The conversion process is going to screw up the title page and the copyright page and the table of contents, AND ALSO you will lose all line breaks where nothing is in the line. I mean if you created a line break with two hard line stops, you are going to lose those. This is one reason, but not the only reason, the title page gets screwed up. The fonts change and also you lose any line spaces between the title and the author’s name.

–Many iterations of loading one file after another to Draft to Digital and previewing that file over and over to see if the spacing is now tolerable. I can’t even tell you how annoying this was. Here are some tips:

–You can put a centered * on a line, drop it to font 1 so that it is practically invisible, and the conversion process now sees there is a line there. This can be really helpful to create line spaces. A larger * can be used as a separator to create line spaces in the text of the chapters and also between any lines you want separated anywhere else. I mean anywhere where you don’t mind an * in the center of that line.

–The best way to put in separators if you haven’t done it already — I honestly do not really like separators and prefer just a blank line — but if you have to use separators, then you can Find ^p^p and that will find all the line breaks throughout your book, which is very handy.

–It also works better to put in the title page yourself, but let DtoD put in the copyright page. It’s the only way to get the copyright page on the right page, as far as I can tell. You must also let DtoD put in the table of contents. If you were actually going to publish through DtoD, you would have to take out every hyperlink to Amazon or Goodreads because various platforms won’t accept your book with those links in place, which makes sense. You know what is sensible? Making a Word file with your “Other Works by” page both with and without links so that you can rapidly replace one with the other at any moment.

–BUT, and I bet you saw this coming, that means that at this point you have FOUR correctly formatted files, so you must either make each correction four times, or else make the corrections just once, but delete and replace the text for the other three: the ebook file, the ppbk file, the hardcover file, and the epub file.


I’m going to get through this TODAY so I do not have to fuss with it over the upcoming three day weekend. I’ve just tipped over 50,000 words for RIHASI and should move well ahead with it over the weekend if nothing else gets in the way.

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5 thoughts on “Special Friday Update: Formatting, Argh!”

  1. I’ve done this various ways, but the easiest is to open all four files and then make correction #1 to all four, then #2, and right down the list, with occasional checks that I didn’t miss a file when I made one or another change. Doing one file at a time is fine when inserting a “to” that was missing because that’s not ambiguous, but if I rephrase a sentence, it’s easiest to rephrase one time and copy and paste the exact new sentence into each of the other files. After hitting “set as default” on font and paragraphing in each file, because if it’s TNR 12 in one file and TNR 11 in another file, you want it to switch as you paste. Font often has to change because of page number constraints for paper editions.

    Super ugh, but we has a sudden ice day, so boom, free afternoon, and done. Less than two hours. It’s just not a fun thing to do.

  2. 50,000 words on Rihasi already! I have no idea how you write so fast. I’m impressed (and a little jealous)

  3. Good for you, getting it all done in one afternoon!

    I tend to get super distractible on such jobs… then have to rush to finish it before the delivery date.

    Though such a job is often helpful to get me to finish another job I’ve been procrastinating on.
    Confronted with a job like that, it suddenly seems much more attractive to do the ironing (which I dislike) instead of e.g. sorting out the paperwork (which I dislike even more) – but then just before tax day I have rush through sorting the paperwork after all. I still haven’t managed to get myself to stick to the planning for such things.

    Maybe it helps if you know that the result will be a lovely new book for sale everywhere, rather than filling in tax forms or cleaning out one’s old filing folders.

  4. Hanneke, I could tell you how long stacks of papers have been sitting on the floor of my home “office,” waiting to be filed, except I honestly have no idea. My ability to procrastinate on that particular job appears infinite. If I actually used that room for anything besides storage, maybe I’d stay more on top of that. Or maybe all those papers would be stacked in a single closet.

    But I’m glad you mentioned taxes. I will move that file onto a kitchen cabinet so it annoys me enough to put that stuff in order, so I can drop it by my CPA’s office on Monday.

    Rowan, it’s sometimes a lot slower. That’s why I set aside the Black Dog stuff: I really wanted a couple books ready to go earlier in the year, and for fast, it’s the Tuyo world.

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