InDesign Eye

One of my classmates took a picture a few weeks ago and posted it to her social media sites. It was a picture of her boots, a carpet, and a caption that read: “It’s not aligned to the baseline grid.”

This made me laugh. Quite a lot actually. Now it may have been because I was in the throws of graduate school, up to my eyeballs in assignments with little end in sight. But mostly it was because I understood what she meant and it was funny.

A few months back, however, I wouldn’t have understood the concept at all. I would’ve thought baseline grid, what the heck? or who cares, it’s a carpet? or even man, those boots are cute (granted I still thought that, but it’s besides the matter).

Because of my InDesign class I understand what a baseline grid is. I understand that things need to snap to it (or align). And I understand the reasoning behind it.

And understanding is a wonderful thing.

Understanding, however, can also be a hindrance.

I like knowing about InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I like having those things on my computer and dinking around with them. I like learning about them in class and turning in projects, discovering faster ways of using them, and being proud of what I accomplished. I like having a greater understanding of how things are done in the publishing world.

Because let me tell you, fellow writers, while you may work in Word, we work in InDesign. I know, I know, it shocked me, too. I love Word. I always will. But InDesign is the big player in publishing. One I need to understand and use in everyday life. But I digress.

I like knowing about InDesign. About knowing this is how the world works in publishing, regardless of it it’s a magazine spread, a book, a journal, a newspaper, or even a newsletter. I like being privy to that information.

And yet…

Because of this class, I also look at things differently. (To be fair, that’s a good thing, since it means I learned things in class.) But I also judge things, too.

When the gutter is too big in a magazine I’m reading, I scoff. When the decenders of one line run into the ascenders of the next line, I cringe. When the page is just too damn dark, I wince and close the book, magazine, or newspaper.

I’ve become much more judgmental of how the layout is on a page. Which is good, but it’s also a little bad, too. Like a curse, I always analyze a page to see if everything’s correct. And if it’s wrong, I turn away. I’ve had that in my editing life, too, I tend to cringe over the fact that other editors didn’t catch some error or another, or even smile sadly because I understand how easy it is to miss something small.

I do it all the time. All the time! And, on one hand, it’s nice, because I know my editing eye is sharpening with each passing read, but, on the other, it’s a little sad because I can’t just read something… to read it, you know?

And now, with layouts, I can’t just look at something and think oh, now that’s pretty. I have to dissect why I think it’s pretty and if I can replicate it and if there’s something that I could do better.

It’s hard to turn off that analytical eye.

While I’m excited that I do look at things more critically and want to learn more about it, perhaps, sometimes, it’s also a bad thing.


Warm regards,



Okay, now that we got that out of the way, I’d like to talk about publishing.

But, really, I’d like to talk about marketing. (Which is a part of publishing.)


Because something great happened with Ooligan Press’s last novel Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before. Tegan and Sarah picked up the book and promoted it on their Instagram. Now, apparently, Tegan and Sarah are a popular singing duo, but I’ve admittedly never heard of them before this happened.

But because of them, the book did very well. The simple Instagram post skyrocketed our book into the eyes of all their followers. Their statement of re-reading the book on a beach made others look at the book, take interest of the book, and actually buy the book, too.


Because they created a buzz around the product. And they have a reach that far surpasses our own humble one. They have 4.9k followers on their Instagram alone, not to mention all the other non-Instagram folks. Plus, they are a supporter of the LGBTQIA movement, too, which helps push the book into that section of the world, the section that Forgive Me rightfully wants to inhabit, since the book is of a LGBTQIA nature.

Granted there were other marketing aspects that Ooilgan Press employed for Forgive Me, but that one marketing push for Tegan and Sarah helped Ooligan Press immensely. The book has done very well. It’s a good story, too, so I’m happy it’s getting popular.

I bring this up because 1) it’s exciting and 2) it shows the power of marketing, the power of creating a buzz and getting people talking about something (in this case a book).

I also bring this up because 3) it shocked me. Not that the book did well, it’s a good read. Or that the marketing plans worked, because we’ve done successful marketing at Ooligan Press before. What shocked me is how effective that one simple Instagram post was, how much it did for the book.

And why?

Because this duo is famous. They have a following, a loyal fan-base who trusts their judgment.

It’s what we call the Oprah affect.

I read about it in my book and we talked about it briefly in our Intro class, but I didn’t expect to see it in-person so soon into the publishing program.

It showed me powerful marketing can be, how important marketing is for a book. Or for any product!

Lets hope we can recreate this kind of buzz for our next book, too.

Now, I’m off to have a glass of wine to celebrate the end of my first term as a grad student.
Warm regards,