And I Thought It Would Be Easy

I thought converting the PDF file I had that Hale Books Ldt used to print the hardcover version of A KILLER PAST would be easy. Simply convert the PDF document to a Word document, go through it and change the English use of single quotes for dialogue to our American way of using double quote marks (and switch the double quotes they use for anything quoted within a quote to single quotes), change how they punctuate time, and maybe play a little with the formatting since chapters in the hardcover version don’t always start on a new page.

Oops, I forgot the file they sent me was formatted to be printed using landscape, full screen reading (a left and a right page). And I didn’t realize they had separated parts of the book into sections (section breaks), or had column breaks. I didn’t realize a find and replace wouldn’t change everything, that it might just change what was in that section.

Since starting this last week, progress has been slow. I have had the opportunity to get to know MS Word much better, and to study what each task bar and drop-down menu provides. I finally managed to get all of the section and column breaks removed, and the file is now in Portrait orientation. I think I’ve removed all of the footers and headers, but I’m not completely sure about that. (I’ll see as I work my way through the file.)

I had to place a copy of the hardcover book by my computer, because every so often I’ll find two paragraphs that seem like they should be one. (And they usually are. Why they ended up split in this Word document, I don’t know.) I’m also finding extra spaces between words. Oh, not all the time, just here and there. I suppose that might have been for spacing on the printed page. And words will be split.

At first I thought I could do a find and replace with the quote marks, but I forgot contractions and apostrophes have the single quote, so if I did the find and replace, I’d have to go through the entire ms looking for those words that should have the single quote. And what would I do about the quotes within quotes. I’d have to do those by hand, too. As it is, making the changes line by line, I’m catching lots of little “errors” and I’m re-familiarizing myself with the story. I do like Mary Harrington. I think many readers who haven’t been able to purchase the hardcover version of A KILLER PAST because of the high price (and don’t like reading e-books) will like having the paperback available. So, please excuse me, I need to get back to my page by page, line by line editing.

Oh, and A KILLER PAST isn’t the only book I’ve had problems with. This week my 1993 Silhouette Romance, LYON’S PRIDE, went live as an e-book. It’s now available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, many others and through libraries. I’ll also be a guest at the Write Way Café on July 26th (tomorrow). If you have time, stop by and you can read about the problems I had getting that book out as an e-book.

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16 Responses to And I Thought It Would Be Easy

  1. But that’s progress. You’re still in business. i wonder what my end game will look like.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Rohn, just keep at it. You/I never know when the right person will read one of our books and decide it would make a great movie or might write a great review that suddenly sells a million copies.

  2. Diana Stout says:

    I can so empathize!!! I end up going through the entire book changing just one thing at a time, otherwise, I lose track of what I’m doing. So many edits. I never realized how much I could growl when working on one of mine. I’ve got two more to look forward to fixing. And, I wonder why I procrastinate so. LOL

  3. susan payne says:

    When having to do something similar I hit the space bar first then the ‘ then space. it should cut the number in half. for the end I use the .’ and space. That should at least ignore the contractions. Otherwise, this is when you wished you wrote short stories. Lots of good wishes for the rewrite –

    • Maris Soule says:

      Not quote sure I understand space bar ‘ and space, Susan. Anyway, there are so many things that need to be worked on, I think going through it line by line is the safest.

  4. Diane Burton says:

    It’s never easy. Too bad you didn’t have the original doc file. What a pain to go through all that. As I’ve said from experience, it’s easier to start fresh than rewrite an old(er) manuscript. That’s what I did with my newest release. In the end, I can say it’s worth it. Good luck!

  5. Thanks for the warning. Maris. I’m saving this.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Annette, don’t feel you need to save this. Most American publishers will send you the final file as a Word document. They don’t send you the set-up for the printed piece.

  6. Melissa Keir says:

    That is a tough thing to do. I always remove the section breaks and leave the end of the chapter breaks, then I can find and replace the whole book. 🙂

    • Maris Soule says:

      Because the hardcover book has chapters starting just a few lines down from the preceding chapter, I couldn’t do that, Melissa. And I had to get rid of the column breaks, too. Thank goodness it isn’t a 150,000 word book. 80,000 was enough.

  7. I’ve had to convert a pdf file from a publisher into an editable Word doc also. I use for the initial conversion. Then I ask my formatter to clean it up. Or you can save it as a text file in Word and remove all formatting. Whichever way works. It is very tedious going through these manuscripts to reformat everything.

    • Maris Soule says:

      You’re right, Nancy, I should have used the RTF to see the formatting. I didn’t think of that. In a way, I’m enjoying going through this story again. It’s been several years since I created Mary Harrington. It’s fun to have her in my head again.