Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Reading FUN--and a Question.

In this romantic comedy, the rocky road to love just got rougher. Jake Malone's dead sure he doesn't need anyone to complete or complicate his life.

Meeting the self-assured loner, Carly Anderson disagrees and vows to pursue Jake until he catches her. In her quest, Carly's helped or hindered by a wanna-be Stallone, a larcenous film producer who preys on lonely women and a granny with a black Labrador and a Harley.

Question from the e-mail: I just took a closer look at my book and half my scene breaks are gone?  Yes, I only type a line if it's at the bottom of a page where a break might get missed, but I always put the two blank line spaces in. How could this happen? Oh, and this is the one I self-published with another company, because you turned it down. I wrote you about it before, remember?

Answer: Well technically, Rosie, the committee turned it down---not me. 

Though they do have instructions to refuse any book that will create technical difficulties in the preparation process so your choice to be inconsistant in designating the scene breaks could have contributed to their decision. 

It's true we may be the only publisher on Earth still using the aging version of the software we have chosen to set type, but every publisher uses typesetting software of some kind. Most of it has been written to eliminate blank lines, as random blank lines in any book is something to be avoided.  Therefore it's the author's job to indicate a scene break with something more than two lines of blank space. All the ones where you typed a line are there? Right?

Usually when we come to the end of a scene,

    * * *

we indicate it with  three stars  or a ~~~~ line so the editor and typesetter know where the scene break is.

The file YOU send, to me, or to any publisher, will be fed AS IS into whatever typesetting software that publisher uses. If  you are inconsistant in your typing routines (sometimes a tab, sometimes just                     a few bumps on the space bar, sometimes Justify Center, sometimes a long string of spaces, the typesetting program is guaranteed to spit a weird-looking jumble back out. It will also not correct that OR any of the typos in your file unless a Real Person reads through it and fixes things afterwards.

Even high priced vanity presses will not edit Anything unless you pay them an exorbitant fee. So what you sent to them was what you got, according to your own question, hon. You didn't always type a line at the end of your scenes. Only those scenes with lines typed after them became scene breaks.

I know this is hard to understand, Rosie. Especially for folks like you and me, who learned to type on a manual typewriter.  But the computer age is upon us. We recently received a ms. from someone who put returns at the end of every typed line (just as anyone would on a typewriter) instead of only at the end of a paragraph. That's an impossible document for any software to understand as their instructions say "start a new paragraph after every return."  I didn't even send that one to the committee. I just sent our standard "no thanks" letter.

Bottom line: People like us can ignore the needs of the computer age and tell ourselves to do things however we like. But people who produce books do it with a computer and need to have material that a computer will readily understand...

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