Where I Work

IT IS AN ARTICLE OF FAITH that most artists and typesetters are idiots. This is not a random brain fart opinion, but one that is very well-informed, based on a cumulative century-plus of experience dealing with what such risibly call art, design, layout, and so-forth. Nor is it idiosyncratic to this shop. Anyone who’s ever worked directly in print production will tell you the same. It’s as though an MFA graduate discovers he/she can’t get a job in that field, so they come over to the commercial side and bother us.

More proof of the pudding is in this bad aftertaste, as reported by Passive Guy. He quotes a post that tells us…

[For traditionally-published books] Typesetters strip the author’s codes and import these word processing files into page layout programs, such as Adobe InDesign or Quark, and massage them into attractive book pages per the publisher’s design specifications.

At this point, all connection with the author’s original files is lost. Any changes made from this point forward are made solely inside the page layout software, NOT in the Word document as well. It is not a parallel process.

Well, that’s the case if you Embed (Place) the text in your page layout project. But there’s another way to do it, and that’s via a live link. That is, the text is linked in the layout document (say: InDesign), but the link is maintained and can be refreshed in case of changes in the word processing document (say: a Word .doc.)

Which is, now that I mention it, the way that the system is meant to be used. But it requires a certain level of professionalism, organization, and discipline, which those MFA majors are apparently incapable. So they don’t do it that way, and … violas … they lose the connection between content and formatting that the system is designed to maintain.

Of course, if smart indie authors are using Scrivener, they can recompile their entire book, with proper formatting presets, every time a change is made — almost in seconds, certainly in minutes.

And to hell with the page layout software, which I have maintained since the days when Aldus ruled the page, does not work and play well with others. On account of which, I have an unreasoning prejudice against Aldus products, their heirs, assigns, and successors, world without end.

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