Friday, July 22, 2011

Formatting isn't for wimps

Stones of Abraxas is officially edited for the final time and ready for formatting in my self-publishing odyssey. I've been reading a lot about the formatting process at different self-publishers, and the consensus seems to be that it's a process for the anal retentive. Apparently if an author isn't prepared to be be obsessive-compulsive about it, then she should hire a professional to do the formatting.

After giving it some thought, I've decided that I should try my own formatting. While my house is messy and I'm far from a perfectionist when it comes to anything else I do, I'm actually very careful about following written rules with the things I write. Years ago when I was finishing my doctoral dissertation, most of the other students paid formatters to put their dissertations into the appropriate format demanded by my university. The university had a 100+ page handbook that we needed to follow to the letter when typing our dissertations. Any mistakes would delay approval of the research and possibly graduation.

Was I daunted by the school's obsessive requirements? No, it was a challenge, so I formatted my dissertation myself. Shortly after submitting it, I got a call from a lady in the dissertation office. She complained that I was supposed to have put the name of my formatter on my dissertation, but it wasn't there. I said I hadn't used one. She was stunned. She said that no one ever had such a clean copy after doing it themselves.

Because of this one success ten years ago, I've convinced myself that I can format my own self-published book. Am I deluded? Maybe. But I've got to give it a shot, and if I'm successful, then I'll save some cash and will never be intimidated by this again. And if I try and fail, then I'll have to admit that I'm not quite as obsessive-compulsive as I thought. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Next time you see me, my back will be sore from hunching over my keyboard. :)


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