Friday, October 10, 2008

Putting that book together

For five days Aidana WillowRaven and I worked frantically to put a book together. She would put the book block together and send it to me in a PDF. I would edit it and let her know what needed to be changed. We did this process over and over and over and over again.

Sometimes those changes that fixed problems would cause other problems. We'd have to fix those: a long, tedious process, but one needed for a good book. Finally the book block, the interior of the book, was finished and as close to perfect as anyone human could make it.

Then the dust jacket for the book had to be prepared. The illustrations didn't have any trim area or bleed; images would be cut off and part of the needed images removed. Aidana spent hours and hours working to find a solution. She would send me a PDF of the dust jacket, and I'd give my opinion and suggestions. She would rework areas and resend. We spent most of one day and a night doing and redoing. She deserves an award for all her work and expertise. As I told her, I wish I could pay her what she's worth.

Authors and artists wonder why 4RV needs their finished work perferably months before a release date. Finishing the book once we have the components can take weeks. Then the printing company takes a week to two weeks to get a proof back to us. After we approve it, the printing company takes up to three weeks to print copies of the book and a week or more to ship them.
Thankfully Aidana stayed with the job until it was ready. Now the waiting begins again. Hopefully the files uploaded at the printers were correct, and the proof won't show any problems.

Most people have no idea all the hard work and long hours -- after the author, and illustrator if one is used, send in their finished manuscripts and/or illustrations -- before a book is released.

Note: Cross posted on Vivian's Site.


Rena said...

Thanks for giving us some insight on the process, Vivian. I don't know much about this, but I really want to learn how a book goes from words on paper to the final product. Thanks!

Vivian Zabel said...

I'm doing the full formatting on Angeline Jellybean, so maybe I can give a blow by blow description.

Holly Jahangiri said...

People have no idea what goes into book production - they think it's written, then magically appears in print. It's production. Sets, props, costumes, lighting, special no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Aidana WillowRaven said...

I tease Viv a lot about her meticulous but I wouldn't have it any other way. If I were a writer, that's the woman I want hovering over the publication of my book!

I have worked with other PHs that think once it's edited, it's ready to c/p into a layout and that's it. That's just sloppy publishing.

Vivian is picky, obsessive, and worrisome... but that is what makes me want to be a part of 4RV so much... I know I am going to be working with books I would buy for my own kids.

And I'm a picky

After working with her on Midnight Hours... I learned to give a week of my un-divided attention to her when it comes to


Rena said...

LOL @ being picky, Aidana. You know, I would be awful to deal with if I worked in that part of the process. I'm so nit-picky about stuff like that. I think it comes from doing all my newsletters and later doing a small desktop publishing business from home. I'm so bad that I will sometimes go back and edit my posts on blogs and message boards, not because of typos, but because I don't like how they look. It's like a disease for some of us.

Vivian Zabel said...

And I drive everyone crazy when I'm doing a book myself. Ask Holly, who gets tons of questions dealing with the technical part and queries about "Would this work?" or "What would you suggest?" or Kelly who gets many "How can I do this..." questions.

At least I'm learning and having to pester others less.

The big projects, though, need more than I can sometimes do, such as when illustrations don't fit the page size or bleed/trim area isn't left. That's when an expert is surely needed *enter stage right - Aidana* She worked a near miracle with this project we just finished.

One thing, though, it isn't always the illustrators' fault that there are problems. Sometimes they don't know what has to be done with those illustrations. I think I'll put together a PDF called What Ever Illustrator Should Know. What do you think?

elysabeth said...

Yes, you should. But wait, when would you have time to get it done? I mean you have your writing and your publishing and taking care of all your authors and illustrators, hum sounds like another project -lol - If you can pull it off, I'd say go for it. We all need a few guidelines, especially in this business. - E :)

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

Thanks for sharing this Vivian. Knowing about the work taking place "behind the scenes" just might help this writer's patience!

Vivian Zabel said...

Charlotte, I've been on both sides of the writer/publisher situation, so I do understand the impatience, but now I know the time involved after the author is finished.