Do poltergeists inhabit MS Word? I swear they must. Let me explain.
Last week, Roxanne Smolen bailed me out with her blog about formatting a paperback for CreateSpace (CS) and I was left with the simple task of converting my manuscript to PDF and uploading it on CS.
Easy peasy, right? Wrong.
Following instructions from various sources, I had divided the manuscript into three parts. For numbering the front matter, I chose to use small roman numerals as page numbers, to differentiate it from the main body text. I numbered the body text with the usual Arabic numbers starting with the number 1.
After recombining all three parts of the manuscript back into one whole, the poltergeists appeared.
The pagination was off. The front matter performed as expected, but in the main body, page 313 followed page 311. No matter what I did, I could not correct the problem. I tried forcing the number by creating a new section and then, by using the “Format page number” command, I selected page number 312. To no avail. Poof! Page number 313 magically appeared. Is it a poltergeist or just too many rewrites?
Exasperated, I moved onto the next step, which was converting the Word Document (doc.x) version to PDF. That was easy enough using Word 7, which enables the process through the “Save As” function.
Next was to return to my CS project and upload my newly converted PDF version. Everything was proceeding smoothly. I launched the “Interior Reviewer” to see how my book would look, not expecting the first upload to be perfect. I expected it to show me errors that I could then correct. That is exactly what it did.
A quick aside here. I mentioned the CS “Interior Reviewer” in a post two weeks ago. In that post, I said that I would not be using it because I was going to do the mechanical formatting work myself. That information was misleading. The Interior Reviewer has nothing to do with the mechanics of formatting. It shows what your book will look like once you are done with the CS procedures. I have brought that post up to date.
Back to poltergeists.
The Interior Reviewer alerted me to a different problem – blank pages. To avoid boring you with details, I needed to insert blank pages at various positions in my body text. I did this, but when I uploaded the converted PDF version I wound up with excess pages. That is unacceptable to CS. I tried everything I could think of to remove these excess pages. I eliminated all breaks and then carefully re-inserted them. Again to no avail.
The poltergeists were at it again. It was just like page 313. The manuscript seemed possessed with a mind all its own, or, maybe Word just went crazy, or…those damn poltergeists!
Dealing with orphans and widows created a different problem. I needed to eliminate or add text in order to ensure that each chapter did not end with a single word or partial sentence all alone on a page. After spending hard-earned money on a copy editor and proofreader to ensure my ms was up to par, I was loathe to mess with it, but I had to.
Now, not only was I changing the wording of my text, but I found that in the formatting process some text had been inadvertently eliminated. I have no idea how that happened. Could it have been improper keystrokes or an inappropriate carriage return? How many more mistakes may have been injected into my once pristine manuscript and by whom or what…?
Anybody else have poltergeist experiences?
My method of teaching myself is by trial and error. The repetitive nature of this process is not only boring, it is time consuming. I am reminded of the old saw, which states that repeating a process expecting different results is insanity.