Formatting a poetry book is a unique challenge, and The Gloaming Limn was no different. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was difficult enough to simply decide which poems made it into the book. In the immediate aftermath of deciding which poems should be considered, I had upwards of 80 poems. This was followed by the hard process of cutting poems, including ones that meant a lot to me and I would enjoy sharing with people. Even so, I got my select group of poems and organized them into four sections, as I described in the last post.
When I format a book, I like to do it in pieces. By pieces, I don't just mean so much doing each section separately. Rather, each kind of page must be taken into account and prepared separately. For example, each section break and section title page needs to be uniform. This means paying attention to the precise font and size of text, as well as the exact number of spaces used, including alignment. This is simple enough to accomplish on a title page, but with a poetry book, the formatting of the poems themselves is the real challenge.
The trouble with poems is that they tend to have a lot of line breaks. As a result of this, there is a higher frequency of pages with only one or two lines on them, flowing over from the previous page. Now, this can be solved by tweaking of font or spacing. It's quite easy, really. But then arises the problem that a particular poem might have a noticeably different format than all the others. We can't have that.
So how did I resolve this?
Well, I broke my own rules. I'm obsessive enough not to let (much) variety in font occur, but when it came to spacing, I really had to compromise. Certain pages--I'll leave that up to the reader to figure out--have slightly different spacing than most of the others. The key was to do this subtly and without making it obvious to the reader. And after all, if the reader doesn't notice there's something peculiar going on, then there's no problem. (Hence why the best solution for making horizontal lines in MS Word is so brilliant.)
And so there's not much more to say in terms of formatting. After the book is formatted, it gets sent off to the printer, and assuming the printer doesn't mess things up, all is well.
However, probably my favorite part of putting this book together was when I received the artwork. As usual, S. Joy Troester made some amazing art, painting a great cover. Huge thanks to her for her high quality work on that. And for those who don't get the point of the cover...it's a painting of a sunset. A gloaming limn. (Sorry, we had to.) And then after we had the artwork finished, we sent it off to Felecia to have the lettering on the cover formatted. Much thanks to her for doing a good job with that, as usual.
Here are some links to places where you can view their work:
S. Joy Troester's Artwork Page
S. Joy Troester's Blog
Felecia Buck's Blog
Again, much thanks to them for their work on The Gloaming Limn.
So there are some of the minor secrets involved with formatting and publishing my poetry book. There's so much more that could be told, but it would likely get really boring. If you have any questions about anything I mentioned or have not mentioned, please feel free to contact me, either through Second Man Publishing's facebook page, or through the Second Man Publishing website.
You can purchase a copy of The Gloaming Limn here.