Author | Works | Notes | Contact

Silly Formatting

Books are... taller than you might realize. They're taller than I would have thought a little while ago, at least. (This is not a metaphor.)

My favorite book format is the mass-market paperback. At a glance they're quite blocky. I think they look super-duper nice and I appreciate the highly practical/cheap nature of their design.

Mass-market paperbacks on a shelf

Mass-market paperbacks on a shelf

Mass-market paperbacks in a pile

Mass-market paperback covers


On July 17th, 2017, when I initially published Seven Tales from New Austin, Black Dragon, and At the End of the Gravel Cemetery Road, I had attempted to model the pdfs after the mass-market paperback format. The result was... a good first try?


Page from Seven Tales from New Austin


But upon closer inspection, mass-market paperbacks actually look quite a lot different on the inside than what I'd released.


Pages from Archangel's Legion, by Nalini Singh


For one thing, my pages were shorter than they should have been. Also, my margins were too large. And—even though I swear that I examined several other books' headers prior to formatting my own—I still managed to flip around the alternating author and title headers: turns out, author should be on the left/even pages, title should be on the right/odd. There are also even more nitpicky formatting details that are just in bad form here: e.g., having headers on pages that also have a title heading at the top.


Seven Tales from New Austin header (bad)

Journey into Violence, by William W. Johnstone header (good)


Not to mention, it should have been a pretty huge red flag that I was fitting about 170 words on an average page, whereas the style I was going for should have been able to fit 400, if not more on the denser pages. Big ol' swing and a miss there.


Seven Tales from New Austin random page word count: 196

Archangel's Legion, by Nalini Singh random page word count: 388


So, after literally measuring several mass-market paperbacks with a ruler (like I should have done in the first place) and literally holding books up side-by-side with my monitor (like I should have done int he first place), I can now say that I've arrived at a formatting that—I hope you'll agree—is at the very least a good second try. As of today (March 18th, 2019), this is now the formatting you'll find for the 2017 titles on my Works page:


Reformatted pages from Seven Tales from New Austin

Reformatted pages from Black Dragon

Reformatted pages from At the End of the Gravel Cemetery Road


Also I fixed some typos here and there, while I was at it. Pretty much only in cases where I saw that I had blatantly used the wrong word. As much as part of me would like to, I'm not trying to edit history here. I think that even my odd sense of where commas go was part of Black Dragon's overall character/style.


Blatant error in Black Dragon (corrected in the new pdf)


If you're the least bit interested, these were the old formatting measurements:

And these are the new formatting measurements:

And, for posterity, these are the original pdfs, left exactly as they were initially published: