A couple of weeks ago I put the finishing touches to my latest book and uploaded it to a publisher. That should have produced a sense of satisfaction. Two years’ worth of research completed, 85,000 words written, rewritten and polished. Instead I felt more like muttering, “Good riddance, I never want to see that wretched book again.”

Woman typing c1906
Young woman typing, c 1906

Not that I haven’t enjoyed writing the book. But I’d just spent several days trying to get the footnotes looking half-sensible. The publisher didn’t require any particular style of footnote at this stage, but since it’s a non-fiction book, I did need to demonstrate that it was properly sourced.

The problems started when I moved the manuscript from Scrivener, the programme I used to write the book, to the word-processing programme I was using to edit it into the format the publisher required. Suddenly my nicely formatted footnotes appeared with Roman numerals. With over 300 footnotes, that didn’t look pretty. Who numbers a footnote ‘cclxxxviii’?

Several hours later, armed with information gleaned from various websites and forums, I got the footnotes numbered correctly. But then I noticed that every time I closed the file and re-opened it, a space would be added in front of each one. Deleting the spaces was futile, they just kept reappearing. More Googling and asking questions on forums revealed that this was a known quirk of the programme I was using.

To cut a long story short, I eventually managed to solve the problem using a different programme. The book is finished, the file is uploaded, and now I’m waiting patiently (because what else can I do?) to see if the publisher will accept it. And wondering what my next project will be. Stay tuned.


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