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Author Topic: 119 hour work week
JBSkaggs
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Im just griping to gripe.

I just finished a 119 hour work week. 8am till 1am for the past two weeks trying to get the next issue ready for publication. I am still behind schedule!

I am wondering just how much writers know what is all entailed in publishing a magazine or book. Do writers know just how much work goes into the presentation, layout, editing, illustration, printing, and marketing of one issue.

I have found that the writers who understand the process of the industry submit documents which are easily formatted and edited.

One nightmare I have come to fear is the:

HARDBREAK LINE SPACING and HARD SPACE INDENTATION in e-subs.

What this is: This is where a writer uses his character return (enter key) to create line breaks or he uses the space bar to create indents. Rather than using the word processor's formatting features to do this automatically.

This is up there with using weird fonts or text colors.

It sometimes takes hours to fix this problem. And the writer for whatever reason is not always accessible to fix it himself or doesn't understand what I mean.

So when you are submitting your work to editors format your document in such a way that it reduces the editor's workload rather than increase it.

Okay back to more coffee, coffee is my friend- sleep? dont need no stinking sleep just coffee...

JB Skaggs


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Beth
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Hey, JB, you can use Word's Replace function to get rid of a lot of that. It lets you search for formatting characters.

But I totally agree that that would be incredibly aggravating. Have you considered specifying more formatting guidelines in your submission guidelines? Or just return the stories to the author for more formatting work. You shouldn't have to do that kind of stuff.


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Elan
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It may not be your writers... my experience is that something hinky happened between the last upgrade of OUTLOOK, combined with Windows XP and the newer version of WORD. I used to NEVER have problems with formatting, and now my stuff is rife with it. The only change I've made has been upgrading Microsoft software. I always blame Bill Gates when I get frustrated with software glitches.


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Lord Darkstorm
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Do yourself a favor, specify what you want. Be clear that any submissions that do not follow the guidlines will be rejected. People may not like it, but tough.

Don't accept submissions in the body of an email, make them attach it as a file. That will stop any email program modifications that are not expected. I'm sure you could enlist some additional volenteer help to weed out some of the slush if you needed it.


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HSO
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Here's a big time saving tip for those files that have leading spaces used as tabs... it really is amazing. Trust me. Ready? Good.

SELECT ALL (CTRL-A)
CENTER JUSTIFY
LEFT JUSTIFY

The leading spaces will disappear. And this action only takes about 5 seconds to do. I do this all the time with our flash challenge subs that come in this way.


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HSO
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By the way, JB... if you'd like, I'll give you my freeware manuscript template (MS Word) to post on your site. You can then recommend for your submitters to download it when they send something that offends. It may not be the greatest template, but it avoids those two issues you mentioned above, and its free. And it's got nifty features and makes use of Word Styles like nobody's business.

/end shameless self-promotion


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JBSkaggs
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Send it on! I like the idea.


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TaShaJaRo
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I know how to format first line indentions in Word so that I don't have to TAB but how do you create a line break between paragraphs without using the ENTER key?
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JBSkaggs
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Carriage return between paragraphs is fine. But submitting a doublespaced text using carriage returns for the spacing is not.
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Robyn_Hood
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Oh my Goodness!! Why would anyone want to go through the troublof creating a document like that?!

I must admit I had to do it a couple of times in college because I didn't have Word or WordPerfect at home, and the only word processing program on the computer was an old version of WordPad (the lame excuse for a word processor that comes with windows) that doesn't have double-spacing as an option. It easily added something like half and hour to the whole document preparation side of things. Why anyone would willfully subject themselves to something like that, I do not know?

As for the editing woes, I can sympathize. When I worked at the newspaper, I would spend 25 to 30 hours a week on editting and formatting, and that was with stuff that was typed in properly and ready to go. Not to mention I wasn't the only one working on the layout, etc. It is one of the bigger jobs associated with putting out a publication. I know I spent more time researching stories and laying things out than I ever spent doing actual writing.


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dpatridge
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you actually WANT your submissions to use the wacked MS Word auto-indent?

... I'll have to think of that and edit my manuscripts myself ahead of time if i send to you. personally, i prefer NOT using the auto-indent and have it turned off. why? simple, it misbehaves too often adding those mangy indent marks in where i don't want them.

imagine having a new line get auto-indented when it is a new line by virtue of word-wrapping. this happens to me regularly.

but to each their own, and i shall certainly be sure to format to the editor's preference rather than my own when i actually send something out. to do else... anyone wanna say career derailment with me?


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HSO
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quote:
personally, i prefer NOT using the auto-indent and have it turned off. why? simple, it misbehaves too often adding those mangy indent marks in where i don't want them.

Turn off Auto-Format-As-You-Type and that problem will go away. Alternatively, set up a Word Style that handles the indentation for each paragraph. There are no "marks" or "hidden tab characters" to be concerned with then.

Here's where you problem truly lies....

Start Word. Select TOOLS>AUTO CORRECT. Click on the "Auto Format as You Type" tab in the dialog box. Uncheck "Format beginning of list item like the one before it" and "Define Styles based on your formatting" and pretty much everything under the heading "Apply as you type". It's all crap -- utterly worthless for manuscripts. Heck, you might as well uncheck everything in that particular tab, especially the "replace --" one, which forces an actual em dash rather than two small dashes (hyphens)...

These things will solve your problems with funky indentations. Trust me.

[This message has been edited by HSO (edited April 26, 2005).]


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Lord Darkstorm
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I found a better solution...I use word perfect.

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HSO
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I knew someone would eventually post what LDS posted.

Let's not let this topic turn into a topic battling over which program is better, please. We all make do with what we have. I'm hopeful that I can at least help people make do a little better than they could before using software that isn't necessarily intuitive at times, and certainly can be utterly frustrating most of the time.

[This message has been edited by HSO (edited April 26, 2005).]


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Lord Darkstorm
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Just making a point. I have Word as well. Just a personal preference.


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JBSkaggs
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So yall understand- when I work with the text it is not in a word or wordperfect environment- it's in a desktop publishing environment. The Publisher automatically strips out formatting marks put there by word processors- but not hard indents or hard carriage returns. Then it auto formats for the magazine's style. It is very difficult to see if hard indents etc are the case until I start the actual posting of the story into the layout of the magazine. Then it really causes chaos with the style formatter etc. It can end up adding twenty extra pages to the magazine move illustrations and screw-up layouts totally- which then I have to close the file. Go back to word or wordperfect and fix the document and reimport it into the layout again. Which when I am on hour ten of the day is not cool.

Yesterday I refused to work on the magazine at all and took a break before I beat my computer to death with a sledge hammer.

The other editors I speak with all nod knowingly when I explain I don't own a Mac.


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HSO
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If your zine/mag takes off and has good circulation, perhaps you'll be able to hire someone to do the grunt work. In the meantime, consider revising your submission standards to ensure the author does most of the work for you. And then reject any story that doesn't meet those requirements.

But I suspect you'll always run into formatting errors when moving between programs. You can eliminate many of them by doing the above, but you can also write simple Macros in Word to automate the process for you. Well, maybe not simple, but they can certainly be written. It depends on what your true issues are.

There's a "show hidden characters" feature in Word... it looks like a hidden paragraph mark on the toolbar. When you get a Word file, turn that on and do a quick inspect before copying and pasting. It will show tabs, leading spaces, and extra line breaks. If it's messed up, you'll know right away, before you put it into your Desktop Pub proggie.

Alternatively, you can "risk" Word's Auto Format function and have it do the work for you. It's fairly good and fixes a lot of these things automatically, but you have to tell it NOT to do some things or it can make it much, much worse.

Experience and practice will make it all go much easier eventually. Hang in there... find the shortcuts and use them.


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Robyn_Hood
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JBSkaggs, what publishing program do you use?
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JBSkaggs
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I use Ragtime.
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Robyn_Hood
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That's one I've never heard of. I went and checked out their site. Looks interesting. Unfortunatly I can't pass along any tips or tricks. I can offer moral support .
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Elan
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eek... you use PUBLISHER??? No wonder you have trouble!!

As a professional graphic designer, I know of no one in the field of presses and printing that has even one iota of respect for Publisher. It's a mickey-mouse level toy program, invented so office secretaries can crank out newsletters on their little in-house laser printers.

If you are doing serious printing, you might consider switching to Pagemaker (aka In-Design) or Quark. There is a reason those programs are expensive. They are worth it. But if it reduces the number of hours in your work week, wouldn't it be worth it?


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Elan
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Hmm... maybe I misunderstood... when I read: "The Publisher automatically strips out formatting marks put there by word processors" I translated that you were using the program Publisher.

Ragtime I've never heard of.


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mikemunsil
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You're still right.
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Robyn_Hood
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I was under the impression Pagemaker was a MS program. I used once, when I was in high school and have thought of it since. My understanding is that is also a low-level program aimed at the amatuer market.

In-Design is supposed to be Adobe's answer to Quark. I haven't had the chance to try it out, but I've heard it is pretty good. Since it's from Adobe, it is at least designed to work with Photoshop and Illustrator.

Quark is my favourite. I love that program, I'd like it a lot more if I could actually afford it. If I was still in publishing, I'd find a way to own it.

When I finally get a home computer, I might check out that Ragtime, just to see how it stacks up.


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JBSkaggs
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Eventually I will have the resources to move to a full mac setup. For now I have to use what I can afford. And since healthcare costs just doubled for me That seriously eliminates any new software purchases.
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hoptoad
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Hi,
I spent last 12 years designing and publishing magazines.
In my opinion the worst sin is ignoring wordcount.
This may not be a problem for you, but when you are dealing with multiple contributors and solicited articles, to ask for and plan for 1200 words and receive 4000 at the last minute, (or not quite as bad but still a pain in the neck: 400 words) shows ignorance of the process.

BTW1: if you are using Quark or InDesign, all useful formatting, like underscoring to indicate italics, disappears when you import text anyway, and you are left with going through the hardcopy to find each one. (That's why you should never actually just italicise the text in your manuscript, it is too hard to pick-up when you scan the hardcopy.)

BTW2: Who teaches people to put two spaces at the end of a sentence?

As to the Quark vs Predator (InDesign) question. I have both. Quark is still better but the difference in price is ridiculous. InDesign has too many bells and whistles, it needs to slim-down and specialise.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited April 26, 2005).]


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hoptoad
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On another note Mr SKAGGS,
Working consistently the way you are will make you sick. Don't let it mess-up your sleep patterns. I was a 10:30 bedtime boy all my life until I began designing and publishing to tight deadlines. I used to work from home, and even though now I can get to sleep early again, and do, my wife can't. Just measure the impacts if you are planning to do this long-term.
The trick (and it is a trick) is to set your submission deadlines a couple of issues behind the issue you're working on, almost impossible for small startup magazine, but the only way to get some sanity happening.

In other words start soliciting articles and designing future issues well in advance, maybe get your partner involved in that part. This is not a one person job.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited April 26, 2005).]


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JBSkaggs
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You are entirely correct Hoptoad. We are past the main hump now and have the month of may to finish off. One of the problems I was facing was creating a concept layout for another pub called Monstro-9 between the two of them life went hectic there. I am delegating more and looking for more help.

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Elan
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Just an FYI on Pagemaker... It used to be Adobe's flagship program, and yes, it's a full-blown desktop publishing program. In my opinion, it beat the pants off of Quark in its heyday. But sadly Adobe decided to split its desktop publishing business into two, and they ruined their market (IMHO). They decided to quit supporting upgrades Pagemaker and market it for secretaries and low-end users. Thus, the last decent upgrade has been YEARS ago. Then they came out with InDesign which was intended to capture the marketshare of professional high-end users. After several years of InDesign dogpaddling for marketshare, I'm only just now beginning to hear some grudging positive comments from graphic designers. This foolish marketing decision ruined my favorite DTP program and let Quark command a strong lead in the DTP world, even though it's a cumbersome program. I nearly broke into tears the other day when I learned Adobe is buying Macromedia's Dreamweaver, which has been, by far, the most flawless piece of software I've ever owned. I don't know how long it will take them to add "random feature" glitches that completely ruin the stupid thing.

*Deep Sigh*


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Elan
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quote:
BTW2: Who teaches people to put two spaces at the end of a sentence?

That would be your old 9th Grade Typing Teacher who had never seen a font beyond Courier in her life, and knew nothing about computers and had never heard the word "kern".

I found it didn't matter how much I railed and ranted at my co-workers to STOP using double spaces at the end of a sentence, they just couldn't change their habits. So I changed mine and quit yelling, and just sucked it up and spent the time required to strip the suckers out.


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Elan
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quote:
how do you create a line break between paragraphs without using the ENTER key?

To create a single line break, hold down the SHIFT key while hitting your ENTER key.

(Technically, that didn't answer your question of how to do it without hitting the ENTER key, but I suspect it answers your real question, which is how to keep from getting a double-spaced return?)

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited April 26, 2005).]


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limo
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I like In-Design, but then I'm a photoshop lover too so I have prejudices in that area. Interesting hearing all the grips and reading all the tips. What very useful people you all are!
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HSO
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Two spaces at the end of a sentence in a monoscript font is standard! Always has been. One space is fine for other fonts.

Likewise, two spaces after a colon is standard, to help distinguish it from a semilcolon (which gets only one space.

Indents should be set at approx. 5 spaces (but not done manually, of course. Set up your word processor to do it for you. Don't use tabs, they are a pain to deal with electronically.)

And the reason for all of this is because of the publishers who still PRINT magazines. Hard copies are sent to the typesetters, who image them and make their printing plates. They need to be able to clearly identify what is what. Modern typefaces make this difficult. Stick with Courier or Courier New, use two spaces after a period, do not use spaces before and after an em dash (which should be two hyphens or small dashes, not one single large dash [turn this off in Word] and it should look like this--just like this--when you do it). If a zine or mag publisher asks for something different, it's up to the author to change their manuscript. If you took the time to setup your manuscript template properly, these changes can be propagated in minutes, not hours.

I'm always reminded of the best advice I ever got while in the military: "Work smarter, not harder." This applies equally well to manuscript formatting.


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MaryRobinette
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I learned to type with a double-space after the period, which as HSO says, is still standard for mono-space fonts like Courier. I always read the formatting guidelines of a publisher carefully and do a find/replace to turn my doublespaces to single if a publisher lists that as a preference.

JBSkaggs, I just looked at your formatting guidelines. I think the easiest thing you could do to ease your workload is to add the things you've complained about here to the guidelines on your website.

Oh, and for those people who want Quark, if you check this page out, http://www.quark.com/products/xpress/purchase/education/ they have an educational discount that drops the price from $1300 to $199.

[This message has been edited by MaryRobinette (edited April 27, 2005).]


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JBSkaggs
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Mary now I feel stupid- yes I should change my guidelines. I have to redo the site for the June issue anyway soon.
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HSO
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quote:
I think the easiest thing you could do to ease your workload is to add the things you've complained about here to the guidelines on your website.

Er... what about me? I said that above, too. Dang it. No one listens to me. From now on, I'm going to send my responses directly to Mary. Everyone listens to Mary.


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JBSkaggs
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I was including you as well- meaning that Im stupid because i still have not changed the guidelines.
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HSO
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I'm still sending my responses through Mary anyway...

Of course, no one will ever see my repsonses, because Mary won't have time to forward them to the board, nor should she do so even if she did have. But hey... why not, right?

I just wonder how long it will take before Mary blocks my email address... two times, three max?

Hey, JB! What's the next theme going to be for FWG?

[This message has been edited by HSO (edited April 27, 2005).]


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Robyn_Hood
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Wow, what a difference a few years makes. It used to be closer to $2000CAD for a full version and $750CAD for the educational version, plus you had to get a sworn affidavi stating that you were in fact a student at the school and enrolled in a program that used Quark. There was also something about it only being good for as long as you were enrolled.

Compared to the student rate for In-Design (around $300-ish CAD), there was no way I would have bought Quark. Just too much cost, too much hassel.

This new setup might make it easier and far more worthwhile to go with Quark...

Thanks for the link, Mary.


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JBSkaggs
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HSO: Dinosaurs I think. Melida has not firmly said yae or nay yet.
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HSO
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Expect a lot of Jurassic Park-like stories if you go with that theme. Preferably the book, not the movie... but you never know.

Consider having your themes solidified well in advance, and then you can post all of them in advance on your website. This will give authors (and artists) plenty of time to write stories that match your theme. 3 months may seem like a lot of time, but I like to sit on my stories for at least that long before the final edit/draft. By then, I've forgotten all about them and I can look at them fresh.

Just a thought.


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JBSkaggs
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Thats easier said and done once you get the magazine rolling. At the startup stage nothing is very set in stone till it's done.

And until the first year is finished it is the startup stage.

I was hoping for the dinosaurs like from Piers Anthony's book about dentists in space.

[This message has been edited by JBSkaggs (edited April 27, 2005).]


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hoptoad
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The double space thing is a gripe most designers today will have, and -- you're right-- it is not the author's problem, but that does not mean it isn't annoying.

I was griping about artwork for print not disseminating false doctrine on formatting manuscripts

[This message has been edited by hoptoad to sound less nasty.]

[This message has been edited by hoptoad again to sound even less nasty.]

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited April 27, 2005).]


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