Wednesday, August 07, 2013

For publishing geeks…a long story about perfection, and more haste less speed

The last five days have been devoured by book production issues. (The paperback edition of Plotting for Grown-ups.)

A piece of advice for self-publishers – never, ever send a book cover design to the printer unless you have seen a hard copy and approved it. Things look so different on the screen to how they look on paper, and I’m not just talking about the colour.

Layout 1

If you are foolish enough to do this you may end up agreeing that it is fine when it’s really not, because your head is muzzy and your eyes are sore, because you’ve spent the last three days proof-reading, discovering tiny glitches in formatting in the text that you never noticed before, and you’ve been worrying about how much it will cost to get the printer to make alterations in the text at this late stage. Does it really matter that for some reason Neighbours is not italicised(Neighbours) as it should be? and does it matter that several of your co-author’s apostrophes are lurking in the text –(her apostrophes being straight and yours being curly)? or that a page which is a list of bullet points has weirdly appeared in Lucida Sans and not Palatino Linotype?  – will Jo Public notice?????

Wondering how the hell it happened is a luxury you don’t have time for.

For the record, I went for the perfection option. (Despite the motto Dave gave me – Perfection is our aim. We must learn to tolerate excellence.) It costs £8 per page alteration on a print-ready proof, but £21 if you supply the printer with a brand new PDF. I did the latter.

Then I spent a sleepless night fretting over the cover because I’d realised that someone in a bookshop with no reading glasses would have difficulty reading the back cover text. By  3 a.m. I’d decided on the perfection option again. It’s bloody expensive being a perfectionist. It’s also expensive NOT thinking clearly and taking things slowly and dealing with each issue properly the first time round.

The nice friendly buffer between me and the guys in the print room told me that the printer had already made the plate for the cover but had not pushed the button yet, so it was not too late. But it would cost me


for them to make a brand new plate. I went for that option, and fortunately the lovely, patient and skilful Juliet Arthur, graphic designer to the stars (well, me and some others) was available and willing to make the changes. Her cheque will be in the post today.

So last night I slept.

I’ll worry about my mounting costs another day.



S said...

I always knew you were a perfectionist, Sue. So well done for persevering and sticking to your motto in being perfect.

Lots of good luck, good wishes and success with this wonderful novel.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, dear S, whoever you are. It's lonely being a self-publisher and it's nice to have friend;y people cheering you on from the side-lines.

lyn said...

Good luck with it all. I don't think I could have left those mistakes & errant apostrophes once I'd seen them so I agree with your decision to pay to have them corrected even though it was expensive. You want to make the book as perfect as it could possibly be & there's nothing wrong with that.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks, Lyn. Thanks for all your support.