For those who aren't writers, I'll tell you it seems like the entire publishing industry uses Microsoft Word. When an agent, or editor, or even a critique partner, asks to see your whole manuscript, it has to be formatted so that the recipient can actually read it. That is the whole point of sending it, after all.
It turns out, Microsoft Word has some sort of formatting allergy to things written in Open Office. Even if I save the file as a .doc Word file in OO, the formatting would sneeze somewhere during the conversion process, and it never seemed to have a hankie close at hand. Headers, footers, page numbers, margins, spacing, chapter breaks, and everything else would end up in a jumbled slush of word soup.
The event that finally sent me to the Dark Side was innocent enough, but doubly mortifying for me. Several months ago, I sent my full manuscript to Spectacular Agent Person. She emailed me that she received SOMETHING, but she didn't think it was my manuscript. It was about 80,000 words shorter than my MS, and was WONKY, WONKY, WONKY. The formatting exploded when she tried to open it in Word.
I quickly went over the submission, opened it up in OO, redid ALL THE FORMATTING, and sent it along again. Lucky for me, it worked that time. I felt like a moron, but it worked eventually. I was just lucky that Spectacular Agent Person was nice enough to point out my embarrassing error and let me resend it. She could have written me off as a lunatic and hit delete.
Fast forward about five months. After I finished ALL THE EDITING, Spectacular Agent Person miraculously asked to see the revised MS. When I fished ALL THE SQUEEING, I took my .odt OO file, reformatted it as a .doc Word file, and sent it on its merry way.
First thing the next morning, I had an email from Spectacular Agent Person, wondering if I sent the right file. It was 17,000 words (What happened to the other 86,000 words?!), and the formatting was once again described as "strange." I scrambled to reassemble my tattered document, screwed up the formatting even worse before I finally made it at least passably readable, and sent it along again. I apologized for the horrible formatting, and blamed it on Open Office.
Surprisingly, Spectacular Agent Person agreed with me, and advised me to do anything I had to do in order to get Word on my computer ASAP. So I did.
I won't even go in to the day-long ordeal of trying to download Word. Needless to say, I finally got it installed, and spent most of the day today trying to de-wonkify Running Down the Dragon. I'm FINALLY satisfied with how it looks.
My next project is to transfer all my other OO documents into Word. Synopses, queries, my other manuscripts, the WIP--everything needs to be reformatted. I suppose I should start with Devil May Care, since I should be working on edits for it right now. Instead, I'm still reading RDTD, since I spent the last two days doing Word-related things, rather than word-related things. :)
|This is George. George is a horse. He has Horse Sense. George approves this message.*|
*And yes, this horse is really named George.