A lightbulb idea for Susan

Susan Manzke

I’m a home body. Sometimes I think I would never leave home, not even to get groceries, if I could.

Of course, that isn’t possible or healthy. I have to get away from home to remain sane and to get ideas for my writing.

In my effort to see more people, I volunteer. During the summer, I helped out at the Seymour Community Museum. There I get to see visitors from Seymour and beyond.

I also volunteer for Outagamie County Extension Association for Home and Community Education. We do projects for veterans, seniors and people with special needs. With this group, I do a lot of paper cutting and making things to give away to others. As we work, we chat and laugh, and then we eat our pot luck lunch. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Another day I’m at our local library. I’ve haunted the Muehl Public Library for years before deciding to help shelve books. This is neat work. Many good books come my way just by looking through the ones I’m putting away.

Susan at the Muehl Public Library

As I worked one morning, a group of ladies came into the library. They were from a nursing home. These avid readers went directly to the large print book section.

I talked a bit to one of the ladies. She said she’d like to read my books, but the print was too small. “I’ll make a manuscript in large type for you,” I said.

When I was finished shelving that day, I went home to make sure I had enough paper to print the book for her. That’s when I had an idea (see light bulb above my head). I wouldn’t just print off one book. I’d publish all my books in large print, too. After all, the rights were mine. I just had to transform the WORD files into a large print format.

I write all the time on my computer using Microsoft Word. It should be easy to convert the original self-published paperbacks into the new size. Mostly, it was. I took one of my original files and copied it under a different name so I wouldn’t mess up the first one. From this point, I just enlarged the font to 16 to see how many pages would be created. It was almost three hundred! That seemed too fat a book, so I changed the book size to 8 by 10. That made things more manageable.

Since the pages were modified, I had to go over the book to make sure it didn’t change the setup. Once I had the even pages on the right-hand side and couldn’t figure out how to adjust that. Adding a page in the beginning altered the whole book.

Somehow I fixed that first problem — don’t ask me how — and then came upon another. The page numbers were completely off. In fact, for some reason, halfway through the book, the numbering started from one again.

I was pulling out my hair trying to correct my pagination problems. Bob offered to help, but he couldn’t. My husband knows little about Word. I went for a walk and came back to the computer later.

It took three walks and three days to get what I wanted to show up in my book.

I used to publish my books. My friends at the home were happy to be the first to get their copies. The library was the second place to get my big books. They are all set to check out now. Happy reading!

If I had just made one manuscript, only a small group of people could read my stories. Now anyone can. They can even be purchased from me, at Sissy’s in Seymour or on Maybe this will solve the problem of what to get your grandma for Christmas.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;