The font saga.

Editing took forever... but that was really because of me. Juggling work, the role of mommy, friend, neighbor, wife... I found it really difficult to find the hours and the quiet. I won't sugarcoat it. Editing is by far the hardest, least fun part of the process. Real talk.

It's my first time working with a real publisher, so I've been learning a lot. I had so very many completely naive expectations about how the process would work. The Author's role is so much larger than I knew.

Typesetting was supposed to go fast. I imagined we'd just pass around a draft or two and then magically, we'd be ready to print. I sent the team some wishes I had for look and feel. The first draft was sooooo not it. I was so disappointed in what they sent (which is not their fault, for the record). I totally took it personally - like, ohhhh so THIS is what you think of my book? This generic and annoying font set is what it deserves?

Once I slept on it, I came to my senses and simmered down. My typesetting team is not the same team I worked with during editing. Each are deeply specialized. So, the typesetters probably know very little about the story itself or the vibe I'm trying to capture visually. So, I proceeded to write them a super long email describing the story. It's YA magical realism which means we can play a little. Things can have whimsey. I wanted the handwritten notes to be in a handwritten font,.. and for that matter, why not give each character their own handwriting?

I wrote about the epic love between Nova and Evan. I told them it's a coming of age story. I told them she travels across the US. I told them everything. So, when the second draft came through, I was so excited to open it. I thought it might be the last draft.

Yeah, no. OMGlob it was not good. They interpreted my thoughts into a look/feel meant for a cheesy romance novel. I had failed. I was stuck.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I was at the beach indulging in a mini artist retreat. I woke up one morning to find the third draft in my in-box. It was better,.. but still not right. Being far from home, I Googled printing places nearby. I am old-school in that I still read real books (not digital) and edit by hand. The first place I found only printed on clothing and large signage. They sent me across town to Quality Printing Service. Their lobby has two giant fishtanks full of strange and beautiful fishies. They even have Dori & Nemo!

Hot off the printer, I stared at the new draft for what felt like forever. I'm thinking - I had communicated in every way I know how and it just didn't feel like we're going to get there.. I was officially stuck.

Then, fate intervened, I met Joy. She'd been helping another customer when I walked in. She asked what was wrong, I'm sure thinking I was unhappy with the print service. I told her everything I just told you and more. She said matter of factly,"That's because you're talking to the typesetter like a creative." She's had experience with this type of work and educated me on it. The typesetter doesn't read the book like the editor does. They just focus on look/feel. So when I'm spouting off about whimsey and epic love, they're skipping over it looking for something helpful. Joy asked why I don't just tell them which fonts to use. I said that as a creative, I would never dream of telling another creative how to make their art. I gave them point A and point B, but figured they'd want to take creative license on the details. They're the experts, right?

Right... so, I knew I needed to get clearer on what I wanted.

"I have no idea what fonts I want or really how to make a decision about it, " I whined to Joy.

Joy, being the angel from heaven she is, very patiently educated me. She showed me where to find fonts and how to narrow down my search. She taught me the difference between sarif and sans sarif fonts, and gave me her opinion as I identified which parts of the book would have which font-type.

Knowing Eloise writes with a quill and her homemade blackberry ink, I needed the perfect font. If I'm using handwriting fonts for handwritten things, it just has to be one more way to get to know these characters... not a cheesy distraction.

Thanks to Joy, I got unstuck. If you're ever in Lincoln City, OR, stop in to Quality Printing Service and say hi to the fishies for me. Joy too! : )

In the end, I care a whole lot less about what I want it all to look like, and a whole lot more about what YOU want to see.

Here are the fonts I chose:

Title page & Part 1,2,3 page titles: Collegiate (had to go sans sarif since the body text is all sarif...)

Nova: Get Lost

Evan: Spydolls

Eloise: Mystical Eyes

I'd love to know what you think!

I have high hopes for the next draft... that it is the final! 4th time's the charm?



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