Thursday, March 5, 2009

Birthing Babies

Building Hiram - 03/05/09

Hello Fellow Travelers!

Well, my book is in proofing and almost ready for printing. This means that I get to travel to the book printers once again (30 miles one way) to check out how they rendered my book this time. I’m filled with much excitement, some anxiety and many questions. Did it come out the way that I imagined it? Did something show up on the final proof that didn’t show up on my CRT screen? Was the right file printed this time? So many questions and only this trip to the printer will answer them.

In the past, books that I’ve published usually required several proofs. There was always some error or imperfection that crept into the process – that’s the reason for a hard-copy proof. For instance, did you know that graphics using JPG compression will create annoying alias patterns in PDF file proofs rendered out of MS Word? Yup! If you said, "no, I didn’t know this," neither did I!

Wouldn’t you know that I used all JPG images in my most recent book! I tried to get a decent proof but this problem kept on coming up.

The solution was simple though. It required going back through all 70+ images and rendering them as BMP images and then reinserting them into the book's manuscript. It sounds like a simple swap job, until you realize that they all have to be reformatted. That involves resizing, grayscale selection and resetting the wrap feature that best fits the page. Add to this the need for critical word placement on some of the pages and it means another Friday night through Sunday evening rework of the book.

Yup, you guessed it. That’s how I spent this last weekend. The last proof of the book showed up with all the same alias issues. So, it was “mouse-click and keyboard-tapping" time on the computer. But! The end in mind is totally worth it and I refuse to allow the demands of time to corrupt the integrity of my vision. The book must conform to the Builder’s plans!

Looking back, I wish I learned this lesson the last time I published but the BMP/JPG issue was not so clear cut that go ’round. Either that or the printing process last time was more forgiving hence the next lesson presented itself this time. Not to let a good lesson go unlearned though, I’ve written some notes to remind me to avoid using JPG files at all cost while Building my next book. If the lesson was learned, I’ll have only one proof to review next time.

So is it perfect yet? I don’t know. The proof tomorrow will show if my labor is complete.

Stay tuned!


Coach N

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