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Lines and pixels and dots, oh my!

Lines and pixels and dots, oh my!

Lines per inch, dots per inch, pixels per inch. Don't those all mean the same thing?  No. They don't. But you will find many examples of people saying dots per inch when they mean pixels per inch. I've probably done it myself. So how should you understand these three...

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When is a hardcover not a hardcover?

When is a hardcover not a hardcover?

Maybe you've seen yesterday's feature posted by the New York Times Book Review titled "How a Book Is Made: Ink, Paper, and a 200,000-Pound Printer." If you're not a subscriber, this link may no longer work for you by the time you come across this post. If that's the...

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Three common misconceptions about self-publishing

Three common misconceptions about self-publishing

You will find—have probably already found—a great deal of advice and information floating around the Web. Some of it is great. Some of it is okay. Some of it is just wrong and can lead you well astray of the path you want to be on. Here are three of the biggest false...

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Say, neighbor, can I borrow your paper stretcher?

Say, neighbor, can I borrow your paper stretcher?

Writing is an intensely cerebral activity, so much so that sometimes an author—perhaps even you—becomes so lost in abstract thought that they lose track of the idea that what they're trying to produce is a physical object that can be held in the hand, namely a book....

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New year’s resolution

New year’s resolution

Covers are on my mind. Book covers, specifically. You want your book to have a cover that stands out from the crowd, especially if you are competing for eyes in a retail environment. So it's understandable that you might want to hire a graphic designer who specializes...

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Comma—chameleon

Comma—chameleon

This is a brief technical essay for editors. Writers are free to listen in. Why do we argue, er, debate, er, discuss commas so often? Why do we mostly all agree about one comma and have widely divergent views about another comma? (Okay, there are only three possible...

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The lowly speech tag

The lowly speech tag

I think it’s time for a general reconsideration of the convention around commas and speech tags. I’m sensing some grumbling among the ground troops (fellow editors), and I think it may be time for some brave style guide author or three to tackle the problem. Here’s...

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Judging a book by its . . . no, not just its cover

Judging a book by its . . . no, not just its cover

For most of my life, the public was willing to trust experts—in whatever field—to render judgment on what was better or worse (an argument, a product quality, an artistic work). The zeitgeist has shifted, and now the cultural norm is to distrust experts and reject...

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Printers, publishers, and . . .

Printers, publishers, and . . .

Earlier this morning, on a mailing list, someone trying to sort out a list of printers began to ask a question by positing “There are many, many on-demand book printers/publishers online, some with very low prices.” I responded as follows: Stop. Right. There. You’re...

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