Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Creating an ARC

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 What on earth is an ARC?

Yes, I'm aware this week's topic is right out of the Ark (if you'll pardon the play on words). But I had occasion to use this ancient skill this week and thought perhaps I should pass the instructions along for any other e-authors who might have a friend or relative also "right out of the Ark." 

Here's what happened: 

I have a friend who does not own any e-reading devices, not a single one. But she wanted to read my latest book, The Abominable Major. Could I print it for her? (Yes, I know I should probably explore the print possibilities for my books, but I haven't done it.) So there I was, figuring my way around the bulkiness of printing off a stack of manuscript pages the way we used to do when submitting to editors and agents "way back when" (not so long ago, actually - just back in the late 90s and early 2000s before the e-book industry blossomed into a major phenomenon and digital submission became the norm).

And then I recalled the brief transition period between print and digital when e-book authors had to make print ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) for reviewers. O-kay . . . if I'd done it then, I ought to be able to remember how . . . Incredibly, it took me all of ten minutes to format the first ARC, about five minutes for the second one. (I printed both The Lady Takes a Risk and The Abominable Major, as they are companion books with numerous cross-over characters.)

Below are photos of how they turned out. Please pardon the "square" look of the photos. Evidently I'm not tall enough to get the right perspective. The pages of my ARCs are all 8½ x 11, printed Landscape.

Grace note:  I made my ARCs in Word Perfect. The instructions ought to work just as well in MS Word  and hopefully in other professional word processing programs with column capability.The primary difference is, if you're using MS Word,all you have to do to get started is open your Final Document and "Save As" [titleARC].


1.  Open the final version of your manuscript - the single-spaced, justified version you uploaded to your e-vendor or editor.

2.  Select All (Control + A) 

3.  Copy (Control + C)

4. Close file.  Note:  your computer will likely scream, "Do you want to save the ginormous file on the clipboard?"  Answer:  YES

5.  Open your word processing program.

6.  Paste entire file. (Control + V)

7.  Go to File - Select Page Format - Landscape

Optional:  at this point you can reduce the font to 10 or 11 to save space and have less pages to print.

8.  Adjust margins:  Left - 1" (or more), Right, Top, Bottom - suggest .6

9.  Select Format - Columns - 2

10.  Format - Page Numbering - Bottom Center*
       *In Word Perfect this makes only one number per page, not per column, but it's sufficient to save the day if the pages hit the floor!

11.  If desired, insert your cover (to the right of center & using photo paper) and print a cover for your ARC.

12.  If you want to be fancy, you can get the pages bound at your local print shop, but I just divided the pages in half (c. 75 in each bundle) and held them together with binder clips. When the "wings" of the binders are lifted, you have what looks like an open book, still held firmly together by the clasp. (That's why the wider left margin.) 

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As mentioned above, the second time around it took me five minutes (not counting printing a cover page). So if columns are as easy in other word processing programs as they are in Word Perfect, this conversion should not be a chore. (I admit I've never tried this in Word.)

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For a link to Blair's website, click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.

For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.

Background information on The Abominable Major can be found on my Facebook Author Page. To read it, click here.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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