A book should be a work of art. How much do we adore those 100-year-old tomes, almost too heavy to lift, packed with colour plates of temple wall inscriptions printed from Victorian-era watercolour paintings? Even the functional, academic books that might never see the light of day outside of a university library should be crafted with love and attention.
And I adore being a part of that process; of helping to create that piece of art.
I’m of the opinion that good typesetting shouldn’t be noticed. Good book design and amazing images, of course, should be. But the typesetting shouldn’t draw attention to itself. If a book is poorly typeset, you will notice it; the last line of a paragraph stuck at the top of a new page, or a paragraph of text much looser or tighter than the others around it, draws and distracts the eye.
If you’re looking for an able and enthusiastic typesetter and/or image editor, I can help you. I specialise in my lifelong passion: history and archaeology, with a particular focus on ancient Egypt; the subject I studied at university.
I take great pride in producing beautifully laid out pages. Each page is carefully crafted to look its best, including tinkering with tracking to get those paragraphs just right, and hunting down widows and orphans.
Typesetting includes the usual, such as:
- applying heading and paragraph styles according to your design
- removing double spaces
- dashes changed to en-hyphens, where necessary
- acronyms and initialisms formatted as small capitals
I can also:
- set up your InDesign files with paragraph, character and table styles
- set up Word templates with paragraph styles for authors to use
- correct formatting of bibliographies and footnotes
In the toolbox: I work primarily with InDesign on Windows 10, ably assisted by Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Office.
Discounts are available for small, independent presses.
Hieroglyphic texts and inscriptions
The Egyptian hieroglyphic language is a thing of great beauty and wonder. I loved studying the language at university; it made me feel so much closer to the people of ancient Egypt. I did, however, completely butcher it when it came to handwriting my hieroglyphs …
Because of this, I invested in my first hieroglyphic font soon after I started my degree. I even used it to make myself a desktop picture for my laptop with the alphabet of uniliteral signs to help me learn them.
Getting hieroglyphs into your text is relatively simple these days. There are free fonts, including the Noto set from Google, and this is a wonderful thing. It’s now quite easy to add a hieroglyph here or there into your essay or article (or even your Instagram bio!).
However, if you need to replicate an entire inscription or section of text, things become a little more fiddly. Once you start trying to arrange hieroglyphs in stacks in the way the Egyptians did, you need to start using additional software or try to alter the positions of individual glyphs in Word (and believe me, I have spent maaaaany hours trying to wrestle Word into layout compliance).
If you have some hieroglyphs you need setting, and you don’t have the time or confidence with software to do it yourself, I’d love to help you out.
In the toolbox: I have the LaserHieroglyphics set of fonts; one of the most comprehensive hieroglyphic fonts available. It contains all the glyphs from Gardiner’s sign-list (both left- and right-facing), as well as overstrikes and transliteration. I also have fonts for demotic transliteration, Coptic and ancient Greek.
I can lay out your text and return it as an image file (JPG or TIFF), a Photoshop file or vector file, which you can then insert into your text.
Image digitisation and editing
Having beautiful, high quality images in your book or on your website or blog can make you stand out from today’s heavily saturated information highways. Getting your images print- or internet-ready can be time-consuming and, particularly for those without the skills or software, very frustrating.
You might need raw image files processing for a glossy, coffee-table photography book. Or perhaps you’ve photographed objects for a mongraph that need the backgrounds removing and a bit of gentle processing to get them looking just right. Or you might even have a big old folder of negatives, prints and line drawings that need scanning for your publication, along with some colour-cast correction and editing.
Either way, I can work with you to get your images looking great for your book or article, or set up ready for you to use on your website and social media accounts.
In the toolbox: I work with Adobe Bridge, Photoshop and with Lightroom for image management and processing. I use a Canon scanner for digitising negatives, prints and line drawings. At the moment, I don’t have the facility to scan oversized images, but I can photograph them. If you have drawings or images that are larger than A4, please do ask.
Let me give you back hours of time by dealing with the general project management of your book production. Whether it’s bobbing back and forth with authors, getting quotes and print guidelines from printers or liaising with other team members such as designers and copy-editors, I’d love to help out.
I can also proofread manuscripts once they’ve been to the academic/copy-editor and check printers’ proofs for you.
(Click on the images to open in a lighbox)