The "right" reading side for the water mark is the "good side". Try printing on that side if you want a smoother surface after the print dries.
Originally Posted by Michael Slade
Not all papers have water marks, which means you need to look at the paper grain to determine the good side. For example Cranes Cover natural white 90 has a good side but isn't immediately obvious. Inspect the paper with a loupe and mark the paper with a small check mark or 'x' in two corners diagonal to each other with a soft lead pencil (never use and ink pen to mark the paper or make notes with). Then wet the paper throughly and let it dry. You should be able to determine the smooth side easily after it dries. You can then check to see which side you marked and determine if you picked the good side correctly.
When I cut parent sized sheets into smaller pieces I always mark the "felt" side as I've described above. That way when you are ready to work with the paper you don't have to worry about determining the good or smooth side of the paper.
Mucking around with paper can be a time consuming chore but you will save time in the long run. I store all of my cut paper in clear bags of one kind or another with labels on the bags indicating what kind the paper is, what batch it came from and where and when I bought it. I also note if a paper has been pre-shrunk or had an acid pre-treatment or if it has had an additional gelatin sizing. These are then all stored safely in flat file cabinets.
As I said all of this paper organization takes work but it pays off in the end.