1. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Back to square one

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cherie, Nov 29, 2010.

    Hello, all,

    I have finally gotten back after quite an illness. I have resumed trying to get my book published, and am getting completely mired down with the nuts and bolts of just typing the stupid thing!

    My computer came with the new Microsoft Works. I typed the entire book in Works. Then I found out no publisher will work with anything but documents typed in Microsoft Word!

    So, I broke my budget and shelled out for Office 2007 to get Word. I retyped the entire book in Word, only to find it had to be in PDF format! I was able to obtain a PDF converter, converted the entire book to PDF format, and then, guess what?

    You cannot edit PDF documents! I have found just a couple of typing errors in the entire book, but cannot fix a single one.

    Then I found out that there are PDF editors online, lots of them! Some free, some cheap, some very expensive. All want to put watermarks on your pages. Many want to put spyware on your computer, and you have to agree to that just to try their program! And many of these programs CANNOT EDIT PDF DOCUMENTS!!!

    I went to CNET to find out which PDF editor software was best. They touted PDFill as the best PDF editing program on the market. I emailed PDFill and told them all I wanted to do was edit my PDF documents. And guess what? Their program, PDFill cannot edit PDF files at all! Here is their response to me:

    "PDFill cannot edit the text inside your PDF.
    You can only use Whiteout to cover the old text and enter a new one."

    This is the best PDF editor???

    Does anybody know how to get around this mess? I used to think the hardest part of writing a book was actually writing the book! Now it seems, that that is the easiest part! Man!

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Cherie
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll probably get shot but OpenOffice saves in most formats and it is free. I thought Word saved it to PDF?

    I write my work in OpenOffice then save it into what the publisher/agent asks for when it is ready to ship off. I always double check by sending it to a friend with word.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Can't you just edit the original word file? Converting it to pdf shouldn't have overwritten the original .doc (or .docx) file, so it should still be there. Once you're done editing that, then you can convert it to pdf format again.
     
  4. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Hello, Elgaisma and thirdwind,

    Thanks for the responses. When I type a chapter, I am offered the option to save in PDF format. When I select that, the original becomes PDF, and that's that.

    cherie
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    can you copy and paste it into a different document?

    EDIT: OpenOffice allows you to export as PDF and keeps the original document intact for you to edit. OpenOffice is free to download. (have just tried it lol)
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Microsoft Works will save in Word format (.doc).

    Download the CutePDF writer, and you can make PDFs from any application that you can print form. Plus it leaves your original document intact (and I don't know how computer savvy you are, but I am willing to bet your original document is still on your computer in Word form. When you "save" as a PDF it creates a new file, it doesn't re-write the original).

    OpenOffice will read and save many different file formats, as pointed out above. It also have native PDF export function, which leaves your original document alone.

    You've made this way more difficult than it needed to be :) You shouldn't have had to re-type this even once to move between these different word processors (I do that sort of thing all the time) and saving PDFs should leave the original still intact on the computer.
     
  7. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    No clue whether Elgaisma's or Steepike's advice will meet your needs but this computer illiterate downloaded a trial version of Nitro PDF Professional for free t'other day and just about managed to edit a PDF document.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Before you do anything else, it would be wise to save a backup copy just in case something like this happens again.
     
  9. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    @ Elgaisma

    "...I'll probably get shot but OpenOffice saves in most formats and it is free...."

    I've used OO for a couple years now. Got sticker shock when I saw how much MS Suite costs. Now I know why computer prices dropped so much after MS stopped requiring bundling their software with the computers!

    OO converts to all the common formats far as I know, and I've never had any trouble with the program. Most of the common commands use the same key-strokes and are found in the same place in the toolbar. The few that are different are there none-the-less.

    I also use Google.Docs - not the best word processor, but I can access it pretty much anywhere. If I need it in a standard format, cut and paste to OO and I'm good to go.

    -Frank
     
  10. DisFanJen
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    DisFanJen Member

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    Hi, I'll start by suggesting getting Openoffice as well. But you need help with your current situation.

    Assuming you don't mind someone else seeing the PDF, I have the ability to convert a PDF into a word document so you can edit it using either Word or Openoffice.

    If you'd prefer to stick with word once you have the file back in word format, can I suggest a free program called Bulldog PDF?

    It pretends to be a printer and you just do the usual file\print and the program converts it to a PDF file without touching the original.

    There are other ways to do it, in fact the latest version of office can 'export to PDF' just like Openoffice, but I like Bulldog PDF for it's ease of use. :)

    If you'd like me to help just PM me.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    says who?!

    agents and editors use ms word and as far as i know only self-publishing venues would insist on a pdf file...

    so, unless you're intending to go the vanity press route, just stick to ms word and don't worry about it or waste any more of your money/time/energy...
     
  12. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Hello, everyone!

    I appreciate all of your responses! The main problem is that you CAN convert PDF documents back to Word documents, but they are totally distorted, huge spaces between paragraphs, sometimes between lines, page numbers appear in the center or at the top of pages, or above a few lines at the bottom, sentences are broken, and indented in different positions, etc.

    It takes so much trouble to put things back where they belong, that it is faster to just retype the entire chapter. I have tried the online PDF converters, like Primo, but you have to put your material out there online and hope nobody rips it off, , get it converted back to Word format with all the problems I just mentioned above, and spend the next hour or two just trying tp put everything back in place before fixing the SINGLE LETTER that was a typo.

    This is nuts. Why is there no easy fix by the companies selling us this trash? And why do publishers have to have it in PDF anyway???

    Thank you again, everybody,

    Cherie
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Cherie - I think the point people are making (some of us anyway) is that when you save to PDF format from OpenOffice, MSWord, MSWorks, or any other word processor, your original file is still there. There is no reason to retype anything in order to edit it. You just edit the word processing file and save it as PDF again. I do this sort of thing all the time.
     
  14. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    If you've saved it as a PDF, the original Word doc still has to exist.

    Continue writing and editing via Word. If the agent/publisher requires a PDF, then convert the file to PDF by making a copy of the Word doc via 'Save As' in Word.

    A PDF should mostly be considered a 'final submission' format when requested but you should pretty much always work out of Word.

    I'd even go to the extent that even though OpenOffice is free, get used to using the industry standard (MS Word....sad, I know).

    Also note...when saving a doc in Word. Save it as a '.doc' and not a '.docx' since not everyone has converted to the newest versions of Office.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Unless you have tables or a lot of other unusual formatting, for your average fiction manuscript you can use OpenOffice and "save as" a .doc file, and the person on the receiving end will never know the difference.
     
  16. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Straying away from the PDF/ OpenOffice/ MS Word debate I just want to say good luck with the book after your illness.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OpenOffice saves in .doc a quick send to a friend with Word will allow you to check it worked fine. I have yet to use any formatting in mine that hasn't been saved.

    Have also had two agents that were happy to accept .odt indicating they actually use OpenOffice.
     
  18. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you Mia for setting me clear on this one. Being computer illiterate this thread had me worried for I have never heard of pdf. Thanks to you I can now breath a sigh of relief in the knowledge that I do not have to conquer any more computer software. :)
     
  19. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    All is not lost! You saved my bacon!

    Thank you all for your kind responses, I truly appreciate them!

    One of them got me thinking about possibly having the book in the original Word format (prior to making it PDF) lurking somewhere on my computer.

    It wasn't BUT, it jogged my memory and I recalled that I had made a CD of the entire book before I printed a copy for myself. I found the disk this morning, and it is all there in the original Word form, and I can EDIT IT!!!!

    I had originally done the whole book in 18 point font size, and space and a half line spacing, before I found out that most publishers want it in 16 point, double spaced. I found if you highlight an entire chapter or even the whole book, you can change the font size and line-spacing on the entire document instantly!

    Thank you all so much, if it hadn't been for this forum, I probably wouldn't have thought of it that original CD!

    You really saved my bacon!

    Cherie
     
  20. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    16 point? Really? That's massive. Are you sure you don't mean 12?
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cherie... standard ms format font size is 12 pt, not 18 or 16... and the most universally accepted font is courier new, since times new roman is too cramped and tiny for reading all day, every day...

    dragon... you should ask a mod to move this post into its own thread in the introduction section, as it doesn't belong in someone else's thread and won't get you the responses you need if it stays buried here... cogito will be happy to do it for you, i'm sure... and he'll also give you the info you need... welcome to the site!

    love and hugs, maia
     
  22. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Out Out of the frying pan, and into the fire!

    :confused:Hello, all, and hi again mammamaia!

    Dang! If I don't do one thing wrong, it seems I do 2 more! I was referred to several PODs by a kind party on this forum, I subscribed to all of them (no money involved) and it was one of those publishers that informed me that they would only accept books in 16 pt font, double spaced, and in PDF format. They didn't specify a font style, I just used TNR because I had always liked it.

    I didn't even know what PDF really was then, but quickly found out and put all of my stuff in that PDF format. Then I found out I couldn't edit PDF, and, of course, I found a couple of minor spelling errors. I have tried so hard to get this book off the ground, but I am beginning to see the writing on the wall.

    I have shown it to several people, and asked them to read a chapter, and they loved it! But are they humoring me? Or telling me the truth? They are surprised at the information in it (it's a how-to book for the general public on garage sales, most of it is from personal experience and a few seasoned sellers), and everyone I showed it to said "I didn't know that! I've done that before, I wish I had known not to do that!", etc.

    Oh well, I do know now that any document taken from any format will not convert properly to word. It scrambles the entire document, changing spacing, page numbers, line format, etc. And pics? Forget it! I am attaching one that is in the book. It is of a fabulous $5,600 Black Glama mink coat I got at a garage sale for less than $100. Guess I will have to delete my pics to even start again : (

    Again, thank you all.

    Cherie
     

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  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    possibly a mix of both...

    if, as it seems, you intend to pay to have this book published, you should check out the various pod's comparative costs and especially for including photos, as their fees/book price may be prohibitive with artwork added...

    some questions you should consider:

    are you sure you want to self-publish?

    have you the ability to promote and market your own book?

    can you sell enough copies to recoup your out of pocket expenses and hopefully make enough profit to make it worthwhile?

    have you checked to see how many books like this are already on the market?

    why aren't you trying to interest a paying press in it?

    ...i mentor writers of all kinds of books, so if you want some help with this, or just feedback on the quality of the ms, drop me a line any time...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com

    ps: that's some coat!!!... i had a much-loved full-length designer black mink back in my bad old life and that photo sure brought back memories [and shame ;-( ]...
     
  24. flanneryohello
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    flanneryohello Member

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    After reading through this thread, I feel the need to provide a reality check (which is really just a compilation of advice already offered, plus a few of my own thoughts).

    First, when you save a document as a PDF, it does NOT overwrite or delete the original document. Cherie, whether or not you're able to find your original .doc file, I assure you, converting to PDF did not destroy it. If I open a Word (.doc) file and save it as a HTML file (web page), I now have two files, with two different extensions: one .doc and one .html.

    Retyping between Works and Word is madness. Not only can Microsoft Works save in formats that Word can open (including Word format, .doc, and Rich Text Format, .rtf), but why not simply copy (on a PC, Ctrl-A to select all, then Ctrl-C to copy) then paste (Ctrl-V) your text from Works to Word, if you don't want to or don't know how to save in a different format?

    It kills me, thinking of the time and money you've spent going completely in the wrong direction!

    Also, paying someone to publish your book should be a LAST resort. I would highly recommend attempting to submit to traditional publishers first. Ebooks are also a much cheaper (and easier to distribute) self-publishing option. You can create an ebook for Kindle or via Smashwords for FREE. Perhaps that would be a better first option, as attempting to sell a self-published print title is difficult, to say the least. Not that there isn't the odd success story...but the vast majority of people who pay companies to self-publish their books never recoup their investment.

    I'm sorry you've gone through so much totally unnecessary effort.

    BTW, I am a software developer and extremely computer-literate, so I speak with total confidence on the technical stuff.
     
  25. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Hello, again, mammamaia and flanneryohello,

    I don't want to self-publish. I can't afford it, and the requirements make my head spin. I want to write, not drown in the details of typing. I sent my first query out yesterday to a publisher who has already released a garage sale book some time ago. I was hoping past sales on that book would encourage their interest in my book, as mine covers aspects not mentioned before in books on the same subject (at least that I have seen, and I have seen quite a few). mammamala, why shame on the coat? Just curious.
     

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