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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

You Can’t Put a Two-Year Course in an Hour-Long Presentation

I have to keep reminding myself of this. My article in the upcoming issue of Line Zero magazine (available later this week) is titled “Writing was the Easy Part.” It talks about the mechanics of Independent Publishing. It’s a subject I can talk about for hours! Unfortunately, Thursday evening at the PNWA writers meeting, I’ll have an hour. So, even after writing it all, I find myself going back through the presentation and saying things like, “No, I can’t take the time to explain imposition and do folding exercises.” “No, organizing a release party and promoting it has to be considered as part of the marketing process, not part of the mechanics (creative, production, distribution).” There’s just so much material!

It doesn’t help, of course, that I am a silly fanboy when it comes to printing history and book design. I sit here at my desk with my faithful copy of the 1923 edition of The Manual of Linotype Typography and wistfully think about how beautiful books were then. Whatever happened to Elzevir #3 and Benedictine—venerable typefaces for metal-set books.

But I have to remind myself that no one is coming to find out what the proportion of type to margin in Gutenberg’s Bible was. We have all we can handle when CreateSpace requires a 3/4" gutter margin that forces the type practically off the page on the opening edge. And if I can just get across the point that you don’t double-space after punctuation, put spaces around em-dashes, or both indent and double-space between paragraphs, perhaps that will be sufficient to help the burgeoning independent publisher look like a seasoned professional.

A recent article I saw expounded on the merging of Web reading and book reading. But they are very different, and we mustn’t forget that the W3C specifications were written by engineers, not designers. Perhaps letting type run from edge to edge of an e-reader is an efficient use of the screen, but it looks ugly. When I read a book, I want my eyes to be pleased as much as I want my mind to be stimulated.

Well, those who are interested will suffer through my nostalgic ramblings on this blog. I won’t subject the PNWA members to it on Thursday.

I promise. Sort of.



Oh, do ramble on!