Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Printing Reviewer Copies

Well, now that the initial cleanup is done on the novel, I now have to hand a copy to several trusted reviewers. They will read it and mark up the stuff I missed. Over the years, the review copy style has changed.

When a writer (in my case) thinks of a manuscript, it's in standard manuscript format. Unbound, Courier 12, double-spaced, one side of the paper. Underlined where I expect italic in the finished text. But after handing a few copies like this to people, I discovered that only writers and editors expect this. Reading a novel from individual sheets out of a box was difficult for my reviewers.

I tried to explain why the publishing industry uses manuscript format to the reviewers, but that didn't really help. They weren't in the publishing industry. They were friends helping me out. So I changed.

Using a custom macro, I've developed a way to rapidly convert the manuscript from standard form into an alternate for reviewers. Double column text, times font, single-spaced, italics instead of unerlined. It shrinks a 500 page manuscript down into 100 pages. Then I punch and comb-bind the result. The result is a lot like magazine text, and a lot easier for my reviewers to handle. I also print a table of contents, so that it's easier to match up the returned review copy changes with the text still in manuscript format.

A few times, on the road, I had Kinko's produce the copies, but this time, with my nice new HP printer I got for Christmas, I'm doing the job myself. It's a little more work than Kinko's, but it's probably faster to do at home -- and a lot cheaper.

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