Thursday, May 25, 2017

Art and Applied Geometry

I have spent at least 25 hours of this past week or so formatting The Hostage for CreateSpace.

It was (still is) intensely fiddly work:
Most obvious, I exchanged the save-a-space 'Chapter One, Chapter Two' etcetera for Mycenaean numerals (thank you, my friends, for doing your math in base 10, and using simple geometric shapes rather than pictographs).

 Found and corrected scores of formatting errors, such as tabs instead of indents, and indents that offset headings and time breaks that were meant to be centered.

Assured that internal breaks would not fall at the tops of any pages, so that before leafing over, the reader is warned that we are doing a time or place jump.

Experimented extensively with font, pitch, line spacing, and margins, adjusting for enough but not too much white space so that a page doesn't present itself as solid type, but also doesn't look fluffed; like it's trying to be more than it is. At 6X9 overall page size and 11 pitch, the book settles at 313 pages total, 307 of actual text. At 5.5 X 8.25, it is 355 pages, and that is still 32 lines of text per page, which is within the average. Most self-published books, I learned yesterday, run far closer to 200 pages, while most traditionally published books run from the high 200s and up. So this book can keep company with the grownups. All of this noted, I don't much like an overall size smaller than 6X9, because then the pitch has to be 10 which looks tiny on the screen, although on a book page it might be fine.

Asleep yet?

And an hour ago, of course, I finally understood how important gutters are and how I have to design them myself. And how to mirror pages in Word. So a whole lot of - okay, let's call it fun - messing with trying to keep the text page count above 300 while not running the inner margin into the dark, or making it look like a children's book.

And just now, oh shit, justification.

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