Time to start writing again

I didn’t quite get as caught up with the publishing tasks as I wanted, but I did get a lot done! I finally finished the interior formatting for one of the five books I need to format for print. Since all my series have at least one book that’s already been formatted for paperback, I’ll reuse my formatted Word files as templates and that’ll helps things go faster.

I had a bit of an epiphany as I was formatting this particular paperback and I created a few new styles that made the hyphenation, widows, and orphans issues easier to deal with. I already knew how to do everything I did this time, but I had never really thought about making it easier. And wow, was it easier.

So here’s what I learned this time about paperback formatting in Word. (I always learn something when I start looking for ways to streamline my processes.)

I already rely on Word styles when I format for ebook or print. This time, I created a normal paragraph style that turned on widows and orphans for the single paragraph I apply the style to.

This matters because I create balanced spreads and don’t want facing pages to have a different number of lines on them and using widow and orphan control wholesale in the document will create very unbalanced spreads—pages that are shorter than the other by as much as three lines sometimes. I also used “keep with next” and “keep lines together” paragraph styles.

The new styles let me tweak the facing pages faster than if I manually went in and changed the paragraph settings each time I needed to. But not only that, usually I force the paragraph breaks by adding space between them and using hard returns (Shift+Enter) to split paragraphs in the middle when I need to even up pages. I didn’t have to do that this time and that means the book will be much easier to reset if I have to make a significant change that throws off my layout. I won’t be hunting up manual breaks and deleting them. I’ll just highlight my text and reset it all to “normal” paragraph style.

Finally, I created a character style for “looser text” and “tighter text” using the minimum settings I try to use when needing to tighten and loosen text to correct hyphenation issues or lines that are just awkwardly loose or tight.

This also helps with widows and orphans, so I always try it first before resorting to changing the line length of pages. I set my font to expanded by .1 pt and condensed by .1pt respectively. I found only a few instances where I had no other choice but to go just a hair tighter or looser than that and had to manually adjust the text. But this was super easy to use because I highlighted the text I wanted tighter or looser and clicked the appropriate style (I expand my quick style ribbon thingy into the sidebar when I’m working, for easy access). I tighten or loosen as few lines as necessary to make things fit instead of applying it to whole paragraphs—that’s why a character style instead of a paragraph style.

Things went so much quicker this time because of those things that I can’t believe I’ve never thought of creating these extra styles before instead of manually adjusting this stuff one selection at a time.

It was still time consuming, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t nearly as tedious as usual. I’m even excited to get to work on the next one on my list. :) I need to get to the covers soon too though. No point in having the interior formatting done and not going ahead and getting the book proofed and for sale!

But today, I have to start writing my next book. This is the one that I already have about 13,000 words or so already written. I might go back to working on multiple projects if I can maintain at least 2,000 a day on my main one.

Because right now I have two books to finish writing ASAP. One of them has to take precedence, but I’d love to be able to work on both.

It’s a sunny but cold 8:52 am on a Tuesday. It’s a good day to write. ;)