Revising published books
I’m taking several of my novels out of circulation to review and revise before I get serious about promoting them. Unfortunately, the ones that I’ll take down are my five most recent works, At War with Terror, Where Have all the Young Girls Gone? (Speculative Fiction) and The Children of Light Trilogy, (Fantasy).
I want to change the covers of The Children of Light Trilogy so that they match one another because I plan to release them as a three-book set. While I’m at it, I will also do grammar and spelling checks. The other two have satisfactory covers, but I want to change publishers.
Names of the World is a collection of more than 90,000 personal names from almost every country and ethnic group in the world. It also includes current and historical indigenous names from the Americas, Australasia, and Oceania, as well as the naming traditions of many countries.
Book design is another of my skills. Here are some tips on formatting print and electronic books. It would take a whole book and personal instruction to learn all the skills, but here are some of the basic necessities to get you started. Even if you plan to hire a book designer, it would reduce the billable hours considerably if you took these steps before submitting the manuscript, otherwise, she would have to remove every extra space and indent in addition to creating a style sheet.
These tips are for users of MS Word. (See below.)
- No headers, footers, or page numbers. When converted to an eBook the manuscript will become one continuous page.
- A navigable table of contents is essential for enabling readers to move around the book. Create a TOC with hyperlinks instead of page numbers.
- Hyphenation and justification are OK.
- Amazon suggests putting page-breaks before new chapters. I never do that because I format chapters with ample space between them so they don’t run into each other.
- Maps are barely readable on Kindle readers, but if you really want to include one, turn it sideways, i.e. place the long side vertically to match the shape of the screen. Maps are probably easier to see on tablets.
Print books are a whole other story, very tricky, but if you’re an experienced MS Word user, you shouldn’t find it too hard, and templates are available from some book printers.
- You must have a Style Sheet. The style sheet makes all the different elements consistent because each element will have a predefined style with its own typeface, font-size, spacing, and alignment, etc.
- Get rid of all the indents made by hitting the Space-bar four or five times, and paragraph space by hitting the Enter several times. Indents and paragraph spacing should be set in the style sheet where they are used automatically as you type.
- Styles are needed for headings, for normal (indented) paragraphs, and for the first paragraph, also settings for typeface, font size, spacing, indents and alignment (Centered, Left. Right, Justified). See link below for help creating a style sheet.
- A first paragraph style comes after the chapter heading. You need extra white space between the chapter heading and the first paragraph, about 16pts is good. The first paragraph should NOT be indented. This allows for dropped caps which would look out of place indented.
- You don’t need a table of contents for fiction, only for non-fiction.
- Readability. Never use a sans-serif typeface for body text, except in small documents. The serifs on the letters is there for a purpose; they help lead your eyes from letter to letter along the line of type, and keep you wondering off into the next line.
- Sans Serif type is good for headings. I find Word’s generic style sheet ludicrous. A minuscule sans-serif font—Calibri—as body text makes a document virtually unreadable.
I made my own style sheet which I use it all the time. I’d be crazy without it. I prefer the serif type Lucida Bright for body text. It’s elegant and remarkably readable.
- For the Internet, sans-serif typefaces are fine, however, you’ll have noticed that news stories and other long documents now rely on one-sentence paragraphing to make them readable.