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Old 07-04-2023, 11:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2021
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Default It's a losing battle

I have a friend who writes and self-publishes (through Amazon KDP) science fiction novels. He sells them in book Kindle e-book format and print-on-demand. I took a look at one of the print books and I was, quite frankly, horrified. It was, from a typography and layout perspective, simply awful. So I volunteered to format the interior of his next book to make it more in keeping with ... well, with books.

I did it, he published it, and he was very pleased with the result. He writes using Microsoft Word, and I formatted the interior in Word, so I sent him both a PDF ready to upload and the Word file to use as a template for the next one.

The next book in the series has just been released, and I just looked at the preview on the Amazon web site. I was shocked at what I saw.

My friend told me he used all the setting from the previous book I gave him to use as a template. I specifically cautioned him about not using copy and paste, because that would screw up the styles I had set up in the formatted book. He apparently ignored all of that.

I used Crimson for the body font. It's a good, clean serif font that's very suitable for use in novels. He used a sans serif font, probably the Windows/Word default Calibri. I had the book set up as fully justified. He reverted to ragged right, which is how he had done his previous books. He somehow got the page numbering to begin (and display) page 1 on the title page, so by the start of the actual story the page numbering was already well up there. Oh, and he reverted to leaving space between paragraphs -- for what reason, I don't have a clue. He was doing that before I offered to intervene, and doesn't seem to know or care that it's not the way serious books are typeset.

And now I'm going through the same thing again with another chap, who is a fellow member of an authors' web site to which I belong.

I don't know why I bother, or why I care. If the authors don't care, why should I care? Unfortunately, this is what gives self-publishing a bad name. Both of these guys are decent writers, but the only way to describe what their books look like is to say they look like they were produced by amateurs.
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