Monday, April 30, 2012

Do Yourself a Favor... Type-setting in the First Draft 101

I'm stuck up to my eyeballs in the muckity process of preparing my upcoming book for publication. What does that mean? Aside from making sure all danglers and errant mixing-it-up wranglers are removed from the story's text, it also involves formatting the page, so that it all looks pretty (for the entire 224 page-book, in this case).

So, what did I do wrong? Obviously, I find the need to share some pressing revelation with my fellow writers who may be stopping by to say hello.

When it comes to paragraph tabs and formatting, do not use the default tab set at 0.5 inches when you are writing your manuscript. This is not the setting you will want to see in your ebook, nor your print copy. At the very beginning, before you do anything else, set your tab to 0.2, or 0.3, depending on the size your font will be in your finalized book. You may even choose to take the middle-road and go for 0.25. (I use comic sans font in my upper middle grade books (my kid reviewers dig it), so I use 0.3 because the font size is a bit larger; thus the need for a bigger tab space).

Why? While a tab of 0.5 inches looks great on a "wide" manuscript sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, it does not look all that wonderful on a narrower, published book page. Go ahead and look over a few titles that are put out by the Big Boys. I know you have a few on your shelves. You'll see what I mean.

And if you don't take my advice? Well, if you're like me and care about presenting a polished, amazing published story in all senses of the word, you will find yourself going into the final edits of your manuscript and changing each and every paragraph tab.

BUT! If you set it up your formatting at the beginning, your new paragraphs will begin at the proper indent with each hit of the return key, and you will be coasting into publishing bliss.

Happy Writing!

And stay tuned for my next release

31 Days! June 1, 2012!!!