Thursday, April 19, 2012

Layout for Word Processing a Poetry Book

Let's say you want to print out and make a little chapbook, pamphlet, or even a thicker book of poems and/or photographs. Figuring out what goes on which page can be daunting. While many programs exist to help you set up pages for a book with signatures, there is a simple way to set up the signatures with a word processing program. This will be more useful as a tutorial if you are actually setting up a file.

Example: A 12-page book, three signatures, two folded card (65 lb. coverstock) pages in each signature. These folded pages will make the size of the book block 4 1/4" x 7". For a hardcover book: make five signatures, the first and fifth will be endpapers that can be glued to front and back boards. By using cardstock you can print on both sides of the paper with no show through.

Paper grain for copy, inkjet, and laserprinters usually runs long. We are going to assume that your paper does, too. First, set up the document as a template with margins, indents & spacing, columns, and font as follows:

Format < Document
Top: .75"
Bottom: 4.5"
Left: .5"
Right: .5"
Gutter: 0

From Edge: Header and Footer each at .5"

Format < Paragraph (indents and spacing)
Spacing: Line Spacing: Exactly At: 18 point (This will give you even spacing should you desire initial caps that are 18 point.)

Format < Columns
Number of columns: 2
Column #1: 3.25"
Spacing: 1"
Column #2: 3.25"
Check the box for equal column width.

Font < Minion or Palatino or Gill Sans
(These are the most legible print fonts and are slightly narrow. Times and New Times Roman are okay, but overused and not as pleasant.)

Making the Template (Note: the pages in the photos were printed portrait; they are shown trimmed to size)
Paste numbers and indicators onto the columns as placeholders. Use column breaks after each.

Front, page 1: L column is text 6 (poem 4 shown); R column is Title (title and image shown)
Back (page 2): L column is half title, image, or blank (blank shown); R column is text 5 (image shown)

Front, page 3: L column is text 4 (image shown); R column is text 1 (poem 1 shown)
Back, (page 4): L column is text 2 (poem 2 shown); R column is text 3 (poem 3 shown)

Save this doc as "Signature_Template1." One of these signatures, for example, can accommodate a story that is originally 2-3 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. type. This signature will have two folded pages.

If you want more than one signature, copy the signature template, and revise the numbering:
Front, page 1: L 7; R 14
Back, (page 2): L 8; R 13

Front, page 3: L 9; R 12
Back, (page 4): L 10; R 11

Save this doc as "Signature_Template2."

For a final signature with a colophon or back matter, copy the signature template, and revise:
Front, page 1: L 1; R 8
Back, (page 2): L 2; R 7

Front, page 3: L 3 (colophon); R 6
Back, (page 4): L 4; R 5

1 - 3 could hold part of the body of the book. Save as "Signature_Back_Matter."

For a hardcover book with an image on the endpapers copy the signature template, but revise:
Front, page 1: L blank; R 1 blank
Back, (page 2): L (print with pattern); R blank

Remove all numbers. "Right 1 blank" gets glued to the boards. Print two copies, flip one over for the end of the book. Save as "Endpapers."

The Layout
  1. Duplicate the file "Signature_Template1" and rename for your story or project.
  2. Paste segments in order from your original file into "Signature_Template1copy."
  3. Check the formatting.
  4. Look at the column breaks. See where sentences end, how lines are split. Read through to see if the pauses between columns would work better if the text were split in different places. Your document at present is in sequential order, but won't work as signatures, yet.
  5. When you are happy with the file, save it. Keep it open.
  6. Duplicate the "Signature_Template1" file, the one with the numbers.
  7. Paste the columns that correspond to the order in the proper places.
  8. Print on both sides. Trim to 7" by cutting off the bottom.
  9. Repeat for more material and more signatures by following the above with "Signature_Template2."
Instructions for sewing: Single Signature Binding (95); Two-Sewn-As-One (100); for 3 or more, pp. 165-174, 181, and from Chapter 7 in Making Handmade Books. Shown: French Link Stitch binding ready to be cased into hard covers. Finished book is shown at the top of the post.


Velma said...

this is superb and daunting for me, alisa. i just made a little pamphlet/zine and almost lost my sanity over it. i must have wasted 200 sheets of paper just printing messes. i need to study what you have written, and then give it a try! it seems outrageously hard for someone like me who has minimal computer skills and no printing experience. but thanks. i'm printing this as soon as i prove i'm not a robot.

Lizzie said...

Thanks for this! I made diaries for Christmas presents, in 2009 & 2010. Quite a challenge, to set up the layout and printing, for 6 sections of diary, note and address pages.... I was proud of my finished books!
I'll post a link to this little project, in my blog's "Tutorials" page (if that's ok?)

Alisa said...

Velma—I completely understand. Looks like a forest: really just one tree after another. Works best if you can follow and set it up at the same time. If it would help, try doing it with ruler, pencil, paper by hand, first.

Lizzie—Linking is always good!

R. Von Fickn said...

Hello, really nice post :) but could you share an example in Word format, so we can just edit it with our text and we are done? Thanx!

Alisa said...

I hoped to be able to do this for you, but just tried both a .doc and a .pdf, and google docs won't preserve the formatting.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

Thanks, Alisa!