I would like to introduce you someone who’s very special to me: my friend Meredith Bond, an author and book formatter. She prepared my books for publishing. Her work speaks for itself – those of you who saw my books know what I’m talking about. Merry’s professionalism, endless patience and support made me feel truly blessed to have her on my little team.
“I love books. I always have. They’ve entertained me since I was a baby, given me solace when I was down, brought me happiness throughout my life, and taught me everything I’ve ever wanted to know (and more). I can’t imagine a world—or my life—without them.
I love looking at books nearly as much as I like reading them too—and I don’t just mean picture or coffee table books. I mean ordinary novels and non-fiction too. From the title page through to the biography at the end; everything from the way they’re laid out to the fonts to the chapter titles and drop caps. I think they’re fascinating.
So what does one do with such a passion? Why, become a writer and formatter, of course!
I write what I have always loved reading, romance. From the day my mother handed me my first Georgette Heyer Regency romance, I’ve been reading and loving the genre. When I found myself without a job and with nothing to do in rural Massachusetts (having moved there as a new bride to be with my husband), I did the only thing I could think of—I started writing the books I loved reading. Now, oh-so-many years later, I’ve published four books with Kensington Publishers, and fourteen on my own as a self-published author (four of them are republications of the first four, edited and changed a bit, two are short stories in anthologies).
I haven’t always stuck to my beloved traditional Regencies, but have branched out into adding a paranormal element (magic) to my Regencies and then into different time periods in history, including a series of post-Arthurian stories and right now I’m writing a contemporary (with previous life flashbacks to medieval times because I can’t just write contemporary without some history thrown in).
And with my passion for exploring how books look and the rise in self-publishing, I’ve become a formatter of books for indie-authors—which is how I met my lovely host!
I’ve never been an artist, but I explore my artistic side with my formatting. Laying out a book so that it’s easy to read and pleasing to the eye is my goal. A well formatted book is one where you might notice a few touches here and there—a drop cap (that large first letter at the beginning of a chapter), a picture at the section breaks (I always try to pull an element from the front cover of the book for these)—but for the most part good formatting fades into the background unnoticed and just makes the book easier to read and a more pleasant reading experience.
Ebooks don’t allow for too much fooling around with the formatting because the whole point of an ebook is to allow the reader to decide what font they want to read in and how large the letters should be. (I have found spots here and there where I can get creative though – in Katie Graykowski’s romance Between the Lines, about a football player, I put chapter titles between lines.) But when I format for CreateSpace (print-on-demand), if the client-author allows me, I’ll go all out and fooling with fonts (again, pulling what was used on the front cover), picture separators, drop caps, I even managed to throw a picture of a cedar tree into the header of C.J. Carmichael’s Twisted Cedar Mysteries. I’ll do all that I can to make the book pretty and fun to read.
Books are so much fun. They’re a lifeline for some, and a passion for so many. And now, with e-readers and books being priced as low as 99 cents, it’s so easy to pick one up at your favorite e-retailer and delve right in!
So, the next time you’re enjoying a good read, stop and notice how it looks. If it’s nice, you can probably thank a formatter for that. If not… well, then, perhaps the author or publisher didn’t take the time to make sure that it did. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to make a book look good, but it can enhance the whole reading experience.
I hope all of your reading experiences are pleasant ones!”