Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Publishing a Fishing Book - Word Imperfect (Pt3)

I can't move on to the topics I promised end of last post. My brain fried. There's too many contradictory signals out there in etherland telling me one thing and the other and I'm afraid that without the truths that come only from, err, what's that damn ism...?

Never can remember it when I need to...

... empiricism! - one can never know what to expect.

Keith put it best, last night, down the cut, us both after a big roach ~

"It's like when you build a kitchen and when you've made all the mistakes and soldiered on and in the end made a half-decent fist of it, the next thing you want to do is build another 'cause then you know exactly how to do it right, first time - only trouble is that that first kitchen will always be the kitchen as the thing was so costly you can't very well demolish it and start over"

Quite so. That's how it is with this first book of mine. Probably never will be perfectly right first time and too costly to start over once the first box load of copies arrives at the front door.

What I have got to say about progress on the thing is that it's going well as far as the largest job of all is concerned - the one of typesetting and layout. Compared to writing the drafts or producing illustrations this job is phenomenally hard work comprising as it does of hour upon hour of hard labour with the only reward being that every column inch you perfect is one less inch of the column mile you have yet to crawl on bloodied fingertips.

Illustrations inserted, pages laid out nicely, looking quite good. 9/10ths of a mile to go!

I've had to cajole the most unfamiliar Microsoft Word into being the old familiar Quark Express, the program I was trained on and love, as I can't afford to buy what is (at £799!) one of the most expensive applications I know of. With Quark the layout looks like a book as you see a book in your hand, that is to say that it works in spreads, so you see two pages and the right hand page is the odd number page, or in book layout terms the first page of the book or the first page of every new chapter. At the very beginning of a Quark document when working in spreads, there is no left hand page at all, there's a blank space because there's no left hand page in a book at that place, the first page being always a right hand page in spread view. It cannot be otherwise in paper form - logically it must be so in digital.

With Word you can work in spreads too (or at least what passes for a spread view) but quite illogically, page number one and all the subsequent odd number pages that should appear on the right half of the spread are shown as left hand pages and there seems to be no way to change this that I can find. What this means is that you must either keep the fact in mind the whole time that you develop the layout that the page you see on the right of the spread is actually the back of the page you'll see on the left of the spread when printed (evens are the backs of odds) or do as I have done and insert an extra page break early on (with a delete before print note!) so that the pages look to be in the right place in spread view just so you can get your head round it and work on methodically, logically and clearly.

Confused..? You will be!

Page numbers wrong way around, thick margins should meet in the middle...
Even then the page numbers in the footer will be (actually) correct for the document when it prints but wrong in spread view, odd being left and even being right even though I have now made what will be the odd pages appear to be on the right hand side...

Disregard them, for now.

Also, the margins, which are always made wider at the spine side of the page to accommodate the gluing or stitching process so when printed and bound the columns will still be central are now reversed too, because in spread view Word has the wide margins, which should both meet in the middle, on the outsides - which is completely irrational. Word, or at least Word for Mac that I'm working on, does have what it calls a 'publishing layout view' but even here I cannot find a true double page spread view anywhere. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?

Never mind, it'll all come right in the end...

Just so long as I delete that early page break!


  1. My brain feels fried too. All that editing, and software programs, and margins! Oy. Seriously though, the pages you posted here look great! Well worth the bloodied fingertips. ;)

  2. Glad you like it e.m.b, I need all the encouragement I can get! Another day, another chapter...