When the Rules aren’t actually rules

So~ I’m working on formatting all of the El’Anret stories into a single paperback for you guys (because you didn’t know, right?), and I always like to re-visit the rules for formatting when I take on such a task. Formatting GODEATER was a bit of a nightmare, because I had no clue what I was doing, so I Google’d LOTS OF STUFF AND THINGS.

YES, RICK, I DID, BUDDY. With a thick southern accent, too!

Anyway.

Websites chock full of formatting and writing rules always begin with a quote similar to this:

You’ll never be taken seriously if you don’t follow the traditional publishing rules. Go to your bookshelf and open any book. You will absolutely not see these things…

So, I did! I went to my bookshelf and started turning pages. And… guess what? I found all of those things. Let’s take a look.

First Chapter pages are never numbered.
Except a good 65% of the books I looked at on my shelf *do* have those pages numbered, and they’re all traditionally published. In fact, Maggie Stiefvater just unveiled an advanced copy of her new book, All the Crooked Saints, and not only is it numbered straight through, it also breaks the next rule…

First chapter pages never have headers.
Again, found it! This number wasn’t as high as the numbered pages, but still sat around… 50%.

Other rules were certain fonts, margin amounts, etc., and yet none of them were rigidly followed. So I’m here to say this: make those pages beautiful. Live fast. Take chances. Bend the rules, or buck them all together.

They’re more like guidelines anyway.

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