Since 2002, I have been editor for our local historical society’s 20-page quarterly. When I first started, I did it in an old version of WordPerfect and (you’ll laugh) actually cut and pasted together the booklet and took it to our local printer.
Then I got slightly more high tech and started producing PDFs from the WordPerfect files.
The next thing was a switch to the Atlantis program, which produces .rtf files, from which I made PDFs to send to our local printer.
So, I still have all the old .wpd and .rtf files.
The historical society is now interested in taking the old issues, indexing them, and publishing the old issues in books (putting several together per volume) or perhaps just putting the old issues online.
However, there is not much of a budget for new software. The new software would need to do indexing and be able to handle endnotes and read the old files.
As a side issue — I am also looking into producing Large Print versions of documents. It seems that there are all sorts of standards that different organizations have for producing large print books. Do you have any advice for what standard to use, and how to handle graphics for large print books (obviously the graphics need to be bigger, but I don’t know how much).
I spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday converting two files: one Quark XPress 6 document to InDesign CS4, and one WordPerfect document to MS Word 2004. Part of the time-suck was because my apartment is disorganized and I couldn’t, um, find one of my laptops. Most of it, though, was because I’ve forgotten a lot of my old file-conversion juju.
I used to have to jump through these kinds of hoops all the time, salvaging manuscript files that had been prepared in weird old programs on MS-DOS or whatever. But since I drifted out of the exciting world of typesetting, I haven’t had to convert a lot of texty documents. Video, audio, and image files, yes, but not so much with the text.
So, in case anybody else has forgotten or never knew how to do this stuff, here’s what I had to relearn yesterday.
Continue reading “In like a lion, out like a lamb”
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should feel jazzed that a person I used to work with, who at that time did not know InDesign from Address Book, is still using my files as templates for new books today in his busy freelance design business. Being a spiteful, negative, unforgiving person, however, I instead find it just kind of disgusting. Because even though this person is apparently now making a nontrivial chunk of his income by designing and typesetting books (and perhaps double-billing for it, too), he clearly still doesn’t know typography from a hole in the ground.
Continue reading “Flattery Will Get You Nowhere”
French flaps: Extensions of the cover of a paperback that fold elegantly back inside the book and hold extra copy, in imitation of the flaps of the jacket of a hardcover book. Très chic.
. . .
Headbands: Adorable, colorful ribbons at the top and bottom of hardcover books. They are there to delight you.
. . .
Monograph: A scholarly tome on a single subject or limited aspect of a subject. Monographs were once bought primarily by libraries that used to have “standing orders” for all books on certain topics from specific presses. Those days are gone. Those days have been gone for a long time. Remember that when you are revising your dissertation.
. . .
Orphan: This refers to the first line of a paragraph left sitting by itself at the bottom of a page. “Widows” are the final line of a paragraph left alone at the top of a page. It’s the publisher who creates that kind of loneliness; it’s the publisher who should take care of it.
Some of it is specific to academic publishing, and much of it is, sadly, pretty straightforward, but you may find it of use when trying to explain certain phenomena to the uninitiated.
I spent most of last week TypeCon, where I took three classes and attended about half of the presentations. The highlights were, hands down, the day I spent making mudpies at Hal Leader’s aptly named Paradise Press and Erik Spiekermann’s obscenity-laced presentation on opening night (big, big crush).
Overall, I think this was my favorite TypeCon of the four I’ve been to, but few of the conference sessions I attended stand out, so mostly I must have liked it because of my trip to Paradise. Hal’s just such a sweet guy, and he’s so enthusiastic about letterpress, and I love the smell of inky machinery, and I love doing meditative handwork like picking letters out of trays and building them into lines of text. The best TypeCon ever? Would be spending four days just doing that. I’d probably need a wheelchair afterward, though—it killed my feet to stand all day, and the next morning I discovered that I had a major sore spot way deep in my left shoulder from holding a composing stick full of lead all day.
Newsflash: Lead is heavy.
Following up on the popularity of her copyediting report, Rose Levy Beranbaum has posted another interesting entry about the production of her forthcoming cookbook: Book Production Phase 7 Pre Design Meeting.
The designer’s estimate had the text running forty-two pages over the initial castoff, so there was a lot of discussion about how to make it fit. She’s posted her notes from the meeting, which give a you an idea of the complexity of cookbook design. Continue reading “The Recipe for Success”
Tom Christensen did an informal survey of four book designers to find out how much they’d charge for a hypothetical job.
I was trying to determine a reasonable price for a 320-page hardcover collected poems, interior and cover/jacket design. . . .
According to the 2001 edition of the Graphic Artists Guild handbook of Pricing and Ethics, for an average poetry book a designer might charge $7,500 to $15,000 to design and set the interior plus $1000–$2000 for the jacket. That gives a total range of $8500–17,000. Those figures are seven years old, but several people say the prices in this publication skew high.
Yes, in my experience, they do.
The results? Each different, like a snowflake: $3,100, $8,000, $8,800, and $12,800. See Tom’s post for each designer’s breakdown of charges: rightreading: Book design fees.
Commenter “elle” is trying to find a book that’s “kind of like a manual on how to design interiors.”
Like why you use a space break, why you indent certain amounts, why chapters start new right and things that break down the skeleton of a book. It’s something that is never really taught and you kind of do these things without a reason why, its simply because “you just do.” Do you know why a part opener always starts new right backed blank? I don’t. I just know it does.
Why do we have double breaks? Why does the text start flush left afterwards?
Anyone? Anyone? The usual books I recommend are The Elements of Typographic Style and The Complete Manual of Typography, but neither of these goes into the reasons behind design conventions, as far as I can recall.
Photo: Girl inspector confers with a worker as she makes a a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. Photographed by Alfred T. Palmer. From the Library of Congress’s Flickr project. No known copyright restrictions.
How do you name your style sheets, those of you who bother to use them at all? Below are some of the most common style names I use for book work, which are cribbed from various sources. I use these same abbreviations to key manuscripts on those rare occasions when I’m copyediting text for someone else to typeset.
Warning: This is supernerdy. Do not click “more” unless you are prepared to be bored out of your skull.
Continue reading “How stylish are you?”
John Oliver Coffey dropped me an e-mail the other morning about a new discussion forum for typesetters, aptly called . . . Typesetter Forum. It’s
a new (and free) forum for questions, answers and opinions related to the publishing industry with particular emphasis on typesetting.
Its not exactly a free-for-all (will be lightly moderated) and is oriented towards collaboration . . . and solving common typesetting challenges whether in applications or techniques. We will also post jobs, contracts, news and resources for everyone interested in the industry.
So, of course, because I was supposed to be getting ready for work, I decided to check the site out instead. Continue reading “Yap, yap, yap”