Friday, September 14, 2012

Typesetting & Design

THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL after typesetting:

I just completed a stage of the publishing process called "page proofs." After my manuscript went through the typesetting process, it was sent back to my copyeditor. She and I both read the manuscript multiple times looking for mistakes, tweaking words, and searching for lines that were either too tight or too loose. Tight lines run together like this: Weareclosertogetherthantwopeasinapod. L o o s e  l  i n e s  a r e  m  o r e   l i k e  t h i s.

My copyeditor used a couple of terms I was unfamiliar with: widows and orphans. It turns out there are rules to typography that make print more visually appealing to readers. An orphan is a very short line at the end of a paragraph, and a widow is a very short line at the top of a page. Both leave a lot of white space and interrupt reading flow. I found a good article that explains rags, widows, and orphans here:

After much back and forth between myself and the copyeditor, she compiled one master list of changes for the typesetter. It's starting to look like a real book.

I can't wait to see what comes next on my path to publication!


  1. Must take care of the widows and orphans... That's biblical, as well as a typesetter's motto.
    I was completely out of the loop at the typesetting stage of my book, so I only saw the already set copy. Now I feel like looking over every book for those tragic lines...

  2. Mirka, the manuscript was already typeset when it was returned to me. Then I had a chance to "proof the pages." My copyeditor was doing the same thing simultaneously. Now the typesetter will make some changes before advanced readers' copies are printed. I'm interested in how that differs from your experience.

  3. It must feel great to watch your MS take shape and look like a REAL book!

  4. Thanks, Emily. I just received cover art a few minutes ago!

  5. I learned so much about book making and also better writing during the copy editing stage!

    Glad you are at this point.

  6. I'm learning to be a better proofreader, Joyce! Katya has an "eagle eye," and it's teaching me to be more thorough.