Grace's Mosaic Moments

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Word Perfect to Indie Pub

This week's bit of color - this year it was Riley's turn to sing with the Deerwood Chorus at the Amway Arena. (Chorus in the red shirts & khaki pants)

The National Anthem before a Magic's game
  ~ * ~
I may be the only romance writer in existence who writes in Word Perfect, but I've been typing professionally since Noah built the Ark (or at least it seems that long) and when I saw my first word processing machine in 1981 (IBM - $10,000), I went absolutely wild. I had to have one. I'd been typing my mother's manuscripts since I took typing my freshman year in high school, I'd studied advanced typing (oh, wow, electric typewriters!) and shorthand before going to New York to audition for Broadway, knowing I would need a good-paying part-time job until I got a singing job. And it paid off - got the first job I applied for - in a legal office. And yet, for all my skill in English and shorthand, I  had to retype something like twelve pages of my first effort because I spelled "judgment" one way and my boss spelled "judgement" the other way! (But, oh joy, I went on tour with The National Company of The Sound of Music within three months of moving to New York City.)

Later, after I was married I began my first attempts at writing novels and discovered my mother might make only minor corrections here and there when writing her children's books. Not so with me. I simply tore apart my first drafts, which meant multiple retyping of every single page of four or five hundred pages (because, yes, I was long-winded too).

So when I saw the IBM Displaywriter, I thought it was the most awesome thing I'd ever seen. It had all of 250K memory, and it wrote in umpteen languages. All I had to do was switch keyboards (and, no, I don't remember how I did it, but suddenly my QUERTY keyboard was typing in French or Italian or Spanish with all the right accents - all I had to do was look at the pretty pictures in the instruction manual to figure out which key typed what. I even got a job from Yale transcribing a series of lectures in French. Looking back, the whole thing astounds me. But one thing I learned from all this was that IBM knew how to word process.  So when PCs began to join the computer scene (with 8K memory which you could pay to enhance to 16K), it was pretty easy to sneer at Microsoft. And even when they developed a word processing program, it couldn't hold a candle to the one I was already using. When I was absolutely forced to use my husband's PC, I'd just about tore my hair out attempting to make early versions of MS Word behave.

And then a company in Canada (Lotus?) created a really good word processing system that actually worked on PCs - and allowed graphics!  It was a major breakthrough. And of course both Microsoft and Corel found a way to mimic it, leaving the poor Canadian company by the wayside. (Or maybe one of them bought it, I don't know.)

But in the long run, MS Word never did catch up, its only triumph over Corel, the Track Changes editing program, which has become the standard for the publishing industry. The graphics I can produce with Word Perfect for promo materials are unsurpassed. If I hit "print," I don't get the whole darn manuscript instead of just the page I wanted. It makes gorgeous columns, etc. But nonetheless Microsoft rules the industry, so if you want to indie pub from Word Perfect (or programs other than MS Word), you're going to have to bend a little, work longer and harder . . .

So  here's what you need to do for Word Perfect. Hopefully, my suggestions can be adapted to other word processing programs as well.

Note 1: You will need a copy of MS Word - a version with "doc" available as an alternative to "docx." (At least my older copy of MS Word - with "doc" only - is the version recommended by Smashwords' very knowledgeable Mark Coker.)

Note 2: if your manuscript is divided into several documents, arrange them into one. (When creating, never, repeat never, use separate documents for each chapter. It's unnecessary and makes it tedious to put the documents into one long doc.) I personally do 5 chapters per doc as I write, but whatever method you use, be sure each chapter is separated from the next by a Hard Page End - Control+Enter.]  And be sure you use Auto Tabs, not Manual Tabs.)  Link to Tab Conversion instructions

From Word Perfect to Indie Pub - Step by Step

1.  Turn on View - Reveal Codes.

2.  Delete all codes at the beginning of your manuscript. (Since Times New Roman is the default, this should not affect your font. Bascially, you're getting rid of headers, page numbers and double spacing. If your Auto Tabs disappear, put them back in. [Format - Paragraph - Format - First Line Indent - .5]

3.  Keeping your attention on the Codes at the bottom of the screen, go through your manuscript for "wonky" codes and extra spaces. This is not a "quickie." It's tedious and time-consuming but will pay for your effort by getting rid of codes that could put glitches in your ms when it's published. The two codes I most frequently need to get rid of:  italics where no italics should be and manual tabs that creep in, even though you'd swear you'd never touched the tab key. You will also find two spaces between words or sentences where there should only be one. Sometimes there's an extra space at the beginning or end of a paragraph. Just keep scrolling down. You'll be surprised at what you find. (But don't stay at it too long at any one sitting - the brain begins to go numb.)

4.  When finished, turn off Reveal Codes.

5.  Save the entire manuscript to Rich Text Format (which has a lovely "W" indicating it is compatible with MS Word). Say bye-bye to Word Perfect.

6. Open MS Word. Bring up the RTF copy of your manuscript which is in Word Perfect.

7.  Save the document as a Word doc. Be sure you save it into MS Word; otherwise it will save itself right back into Word Perfect!  That's two changes in one step - change from RTF to Word doc. Then Save into Microsoft Word.

8.  Click on the ¶ symbol in the Tool Bar. This will turn on what few codes you can reveal in MS Word:  hard returns at the end of a paragraph, manual tabs (which should not exist in your ms as online publishing won't recognize them), and the spaces between words and sentences.

9.  At the top of the Word document, Select All - choose Format - Paragraph. Change the standard .5 indent to .3. [No sense in doing it earlier as the Auto Tab can revert back to .5 during translation from Word Perfect to RTF to MS Word.]

10.  Do a final complete edit of your manuscript with codes on, fixing manuscript errors as necessary, in addition to eliminating codes you don't want (manual tabs, extra spaces, etc.) [And, yes, for all that work in Word Perfect's Reveal Codes, you'll still find some codes that need fixing.] See also #s 11-13 below.

11.  As you go along, change all Chapter headings to 14-font (or 16 if you prefer). [Not a necessity - it simply looks better.]

12. At the same time, highlight the chapter title and change the paragraph indent from .3 to 0, and center

13. Highlight any Location & Date lines and change the paragraph indent from .3 to 0. These lines should end up flush left.  Turn off ¶.

14.  Don't forget to run a final spell check.

15.  Use Alt+F9 to check for a sneaky "1" that likes to insert itself at the very beginning of any manuscript converted from Word Perfect to Word.  Delete it! Turn off Alt+F9.

16. Don't forget to add something about yourself at the end of the book, plus info on other books you may have available.

Congratulations - you should be ready to upload to the online site(s) of your choice.

Thanks for stopping by,


For Blair's website with book covers & blurbs, click here

For Grace's editing service, click here

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