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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

July 15, 2005

DEMO: Making your mock book

Since you guys are using MSWord for this first project, I'll be talking specifically about that application. (It's a challenge, compared to Quark or InDesign or Pagemaker, but it can be done!) All measurements below are in good old American inches.

Making your mock book requires 3 basic steps: 1) formatting your manuscript, 2) estimating your page count, 3) creating a page plan.

You'll need:
* Your manuscript in MSWord
* Several sheets of blank paper
* A pen or pencil

Remember: We are not making the actual layout yet, just formatting to get an accurate page count and figuring out where everything needs to go in the layout. An essential step! Also, this page plan is for the interior of your book only. We'll do the cover separately later on (since you'll be printing it separately on different stock.)

Formatting your manscript

Now that you've determined exactly what you're putting into your zine or book, put all of your text into one MSWord document and style it--put it in the fonts and point sizes you've selected. Now's also the time to think about paragraph spacing (single-spacing or a little more breathing room between lines?).

Next, set the margins in your document so that they mimic the page size you'll be working with. In MSWord, you can manipulate the margins from the Format menu, under Document. In other words...

For a half-letter (aka digest) sized chap like Justin's, the page size in the finished book would be 5.5 x 8.5 (a landscape letter-sized sheet, folded in half). Half-inch margins all the way around would leave you with a 4.5 x 7.5 area for your content. In the finished book, your gutter (the blank area in the center of the book where the inner margins meet) will be 1 inch. That means in a letter-sized MSWord document, you should set your margins as follows:

Top: 1.75 inches
Bottom: 1.75 inches
Left: 2 inches
Right: 2 inches

For a half-legal sized zine like Stephanie's, the page size in the finished mag would be 7 x 8.5 (a landscape legal-sized sheet, folded in half). In this larger format, you'll have a bit more leeway with margins if you want to go larger, so play around if you like. For simplicity's sake, I'll stick with with a .5 margin all the way around in this example. That will result in a 6 x 7.5 area for content (with a 1-inch gutter in the finished book). So in a legal-sized MSWord document, you should set your margins as follows:

Top: 3.25 inches
Bottom: 3.25 inches
Left: 1.25
Right: 1.25

Estimate your page count

Once your text is styled and you have your document margins set to mimic your chosen page size, you should be able to easily estimate about how many pages your content will run. Print your document. If your margins and text and paragraph styling aren't quite how you like them, tinker until you like what you see.

Your printed formatted manuscript should now reflect the page-count of your finished book. (Bear in mind that your MS is a stack of single-sided sheets, and your finished book will have four book pages per double-sided sheet, so your stack is thicker than your finished book will be.)

You'll probably want to add some or all of the following:

Front matter (the term for anything that comes before your first poem or article)
* Title page
* Contact info/copyright page
* Table of contents

* Acknowledgments (these can go up front, in the back, or be combined with the copyright notice)

Back matter (the term for anything that comes after your last poem or article)
* Author bio/contributor notes
* Blank pages

(If your Table of Contents, Contributor Notes, or Acknowledgments threaten to run more than one page, the safest bet would be to format them as you did the rest of your manuscript just to see how long they are when styled the way you want them in the finished book. Otherwise just estimate one page for each.)

ILLUSTRATIONS: For a project like Stephanie's, it's essential to estimate space for illustrations now as well. A simple way to do this would be to collect printed copies of the images you intend to use and place them on sheet with the same margins as the rest of your document, and add the necessary pages to your estimate. If you have the images already digitized, you can go ahead and use the Insert/Picture function of MSWord and put them in the manuscript. You might want to round your page up (see below) to make sure you have extra room to play with later.)

# of formatted MS pages + # of front matter pages + # of back matter pages = Total page count

Creating a page plan, or mock book

I illustrated this step in class last night. Some of you may feel comfortable skipping the steps above and just "eyeballing" your page-count estimate after you've completed your first few projects, but I wouldn't advise ever skipping this step, even after a hundred projects!

Folded booklets like the ones we're making have page-counts that are multiples of 4, because each sheet of paper will contain four book pages: two on side A, two on side B. So round your estimated page count up to the nearest multiple of 4. (18 would need to be 20, 21 becomes 24, etc.)

Now, take your page count and divide it by 4. This will give you the total number of sheets per book.

20 book pages = 5 sheets of paper
36 book pages = 9 sheets of paper
...and so on...

I'm going to use a 12-page book as an example, but the idea is the same for any number of sheets.

12 book pages divided by 4 = 3 sheets of paper

So, I'm going to take 3 sheets, and label each side: A|B would be the front|back of the first sheet, C|D the front|back of the second, E|F the front|back of the third.

Three sheets with labeled front and back (trust me) sides.

Then I'm going to stack sheets A|B, C|D, E|F, with the A, C, E facing up and A on top of C on top of E.

Fold them in half, like a booklet, with A on the outside, where the spine will be.

My labeled sheets, stacked in order and folded, with A on the outside.

Now, starting from the first page of your mock booklet and with your formatted manuscript as your guide, label each page with the title of the piece that should appear there. Title page, copyright page, table of contents, blank, Poem/Article, Poem/Article part 2, etc.

It will look something like this:

My mock booklet pages, labeled with contents. Note that I have indicated "cont'd 2," "cont'd 3" for poems that are running over multiple pages. You'll see why it's necessary when we get to the layout process.

Holding your mock booklet at the spine, flip through it a few times, "read" it for logical arrangement of your front and back matter, and check it against your formatted manuscript again to make sure you've allowed enough space for pieces that run more than one booklet page. Make sure you've allotted space for all the elements you want to see in the interior of your finished product.

When you're sure your mock book accurately reflects the length and arrangment of your finished book, you're ready to use this page plan to create your layout!



  • This post should print out for you fine, if you prefer to have a hard copy to refer to as you go through these steps. Tip: From the blog home page, click on the time link at the bottom of the post. That will take you to a page with just that post on it. Then print.

    By Blogger shanna, at 12:28 PM  

  • Shanna, I have created these mock-chapbooks by laying them out in MSWord before, but I didn't use the technique of labeling each sheet of paper with a letter. In retrospect, this would have made life much easier. Thanks for the tip.

    By Blogger Kyle Stich, at 1:22 PM  

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