I dreamt of the book last night.
I dreamt that I was finally holding it in my hands, feeling its smooth, cream-colored paper between my fingers. I think it even smelled good!
Of course, this is no surprise to me, really, since I spent a good part of yesterday learning the finer points of book layout in Apple’s Pages program. Program? Why did I just call it a program? Am I stuck in the 1980s? “Application”, sorry. Or is that even outdated now? Should I be calling it an “app”? App, this. App, that. I hear that word so often that I’m started to feel a little “app’d-out”. So let’s call it an application. Where was I?
Book layout! It’s turning out to be a lot easier to layout the book than I first imagined. Modern *ahem* “applications” do a great job of automatically formating page headers and footers (complete with the chapter name on the left-hand page’s header). Figuring out the margins was easy once I found the right panel for margins (hint: it’s the document inspector in Pages). Thankfully Createspace (my book printer) provides a really useful template that, while it’s in MS Word format, opens up fine in Pages, so I was able to base my book document off of that.
Everything went smoothly. Everything except the page numbers, that is. Believe it or not, getting the page numbers to automatically generate from chapter to chapter was the biggest stumbling block I encountered… until I learned what the heck a “section” was in Pages.
Turns out, you insert a new section and check a box in the Layout Inspector under the “Section” tab that says “Use previous headers & footers” in order to get page numbers working correctly. And since the first page of the chapter isn’t supposed to have a page number (Per tradition. Check any book you own—it’s true!), you also have to check a box that says, and I’m not making this up, “Make the first page different.” Sheesh… Anyway, it’s all working beautifully now.
A Goal Stated Publicly
I’d like to take this opportunity to state a goal publicly. I’d like to have a “proof” copy of the book (basically a test run), by September, months before my public release. This means completed cover and all that jazz. To do that, I need to complete the following tasks:
- Compile feedback from close friends and rank them by priority
- Implement the feedback that feels right and agrees with my logic
- Complete book cover
- Order 1st proof copy
- Read through proof & markup any mistakes
- Submit revised manuscript to SF blogs for review
- Meanwhile, lend proof out to smart people for error spotting & cover feedback
- Get positive reviews back from blogs & quote them in appropriate places
- Make a final pacing, grammar, and spellcheck pass
- Export and upload Kindle & PDF formats to Createspace
I don’t know how long it will take for book review sites to get back to me, so I may let that slide. In either case, I’ve got a lot of finalizing work ahead of me; but I’ve gotta say, after seeing the first few chapters with page numbers and properly formatted chapter headings, I’m getting pretty excited. I’ve studied a lot of SF and Fantasy books that I own, and it hasn’t been too difficult to “take a page from their stylebook” and bring that level of professionalism to my own layout. (It also helps that I used page layout applications extensively when I was in college.)
I had been exporting the book as an 8.5×11” PDF to share with friends, but now… Now, with the page size set at 8.5×5.5”, the margins properly set, proper indentation, the fancy ligatures, and the page headers, something finally hit me.
This looks exactly like a “real” book.
And this is MY book.