So, Dan and Amy and Angel and I–them's the publishers, editors, artist, and writer, respectively, for the upcoming Matador ebookery from Fat Sam–got to the final Confed soldier guarding the gate and lined up to take him out ...
Whereupon we had a jam in our spetsdöd ...
This involves a hitherto-unnoticed glitch in the e-files in regard to italics. No fault of the publishers, editors, nor artist, so you can figure out who was responsible here ...
For those of you who don't pay much attention to such things, there are times when a writer wants readers to pay attention to portions of the text. These passages can be thoughts, dreams, exclamations, sound effects, or other bit of business that need to be underscored to stand out. We want you to hear the emphasis, and since you have to do it with your mind and not your ears, we cheat by using typeface tricks.
In the old typewriter days, underscoring words or phrases or paragraphs was literally how it was done on the writer's end. This told the printer who'd be laying the book out to set the underlined text as italics.
When IBM came out with its Selectric Typewriter, you had the option of changing the little typeface balls, so in theory, you could write along in Courier or somesuch, and when you came to a passage that needed italics, you could switch out the ball, do the italics, and then change it back. That would be painstaking work, but it was possible.
Publishers didn't want you to do this, however, since a typesetter might miss that in your manuscript, whereas they knew to look for the underline.
And for quite a while after computer word processor appeared, they still didn't want you to do this, even though it required nothing more than a toggle on and off to do italics onscreen. This was because there were all kinds of WP software and they didn't always talk cleanly to each other. Still don't for that; however, most places like MS Word, and most WP software can export to that these days, so if you italicize or boldface or otherwise offer type changes, the publisher will usually have no trouble seeing it and passing it to the printer.
Printers no longer hand-set type, nor use linotype machines, they use computers just like everybody else, and have access to the same software, so now it is okay to use italics in your manuscript, which is most likely going to be submitted as an electronic file and not hard copy. Even those places who still want a hard copy ms will ask for a e-file to go with it, and most agents and editors are now using e-readers for manuscripts and not lugging around a couple thousand pages in their backpacks.
Um. Anyway, what this means is that we have to go back into the e-manuscripts and add the missing italics. It shouldn't take too long, but it will take some time, and so what was about to happen soon, will happen a bit later.
Stand by. We will keep you in the loop ...