So there I was, with a finished manuscript, edited (3 x me, editor x once, 1 x me final), and ready for the formatter.
I hadn’t realised there were still many decisions to be made – at first it seemed simple:
- Page layout.
I tackled them in reverse order. Margins were no problem, having chosen a standard book size – UK trade paperback – they were set by the printer. All that remained for me to decide was – How far down the page should a new chapter start? And should I open each chapter with a dropped capital? No problem – I have oodles of books to look at, so twenty random samples later the decisions are made – no dropped capital and chapter headings starting 1/4 way down the page. Job done? ‘Not quite’ says formatter. ‘There is the chronological story – Chapter One, Chapter Two and so on, but there are also the ‘Torgau’ sections that are outside the normal chapters – how do you want them to be differentiated?’ Hmm. ‘Start them at the top of the page’. ‘Page numbering?’ the formatter queries. ‘Bottom, centre’, I reply and layout is sorted. Phew!
Now for font/style.
‘Something plain’, I say, ‘Easy to read – Times New Roman?’
‘Size?’ formatter asks.
’12 point?’ I say, hoping that will be about right in the real thing. I’m dreading being asked about the Torgau sections, but fortunately, she makes her own suggestion. ‘Garamond and italic’.
That sounds fine to me, but when I print out a page to look at it, the Torgau sections look more prominent than the main chapters, so I ask for them to be altered so that they don’t appear to be more important. (I’m not quite sure what she did but it looks fine.) So far, so good.
‘Final two decisions’, she says. ‘What font would you like for the chapter headings? And should they be all capitals or capitals and lower case?’
I never expected it to be so complex, but I’m glad that at least I only have to make the decisions, not execute them. I have a brainwave, thankful for the expertise of the cover designer who had come up with a perfect font for the title on the cover and hoping the formatter can upload it to her computer. ‘Can I have the chapter headings in the same font as the title? And all in capitals? It’s Morpheus.’ ‘Apart for the Torgau sections,’ I add, just to clarify.
I was happy with the end result – at least on screen, and hoped when the paperbacks arrive they’d look good. Which, thankfully, I think they do… So it’s all looking good for the paperback launch on the 18th October, Amazon has the Kindle set to preorder and Kobo, Nook etc are good to go.