Offering Yet More Proof

Mind is whirring. So many things going on, but I think the most important is the impending release of Room 3. Today I thought I’d share the outcome of last week’s proofing session and show you some of the issues that can crop up even if you’re familiar with the process and have done your level best to ensure a good first proof. These things happen; even with precise measurements sometimes things get changed and look different once you have it in hand. Let’s take a look.

First, a picture of the overall package:

Looks good, right? Well…I spotted a few issues right away on the cover, ones that weren’t so apparent on the online preview. Here’s what the online preview showed me:

Aside from my weird author picture (I don’t know what happened there but can’t be bothered to fix it since that’s a placeholder anyway), I can see that the title text is a little too close to the lines, but it didn’t become as readily apparent until I saw the actual printed version:

The title (and author name) bleed too close to the edge. This probably happened when the book doubled in size and is a fairly easy fix. You can see in the next photo and the digital proof above that I have some room to play with; the left edge of the back cover has a bit of slack and the right edge on the front cover has some room. Worst case scenario, I just take the font down a size, but that’s probably not necessary.

The extra space on the right edge.

As you can see, I also need to increase the font size on the spine, again due to the increased size of the book:

Again, these are all fairly easy fixes to make, especially compared to some of the ones that I had to carry out on Corridors of the Dead and The Station. This weekend I’ll break out a ruler, make some guide marks on both the physical book and the Photoshop file itself, and start aligning things to my liking. I think two proofs just might be enough to get this cover sorted out, but we’ll see.

Now, let’s take a peek inside. I have to admit, the first proof is usually wildly inconsistent when it comes to the content itself, as there are still edits to be made and formatting decisions to make. Many of these decisions really only make sense once I see the book in my hand.

Still, a few issues immediately cropped up. One is that I had left the title and page number header and footer on the title page. A no-no. You can see this crossed through here:

I also found that I wasn’t satisfied with the chapter headers. Here is the intended original look:

Pretty consistent with Corridors of the Dead, but it bothered me that this book is a series of journals, and people just don’t do that with their journal entries. Thankfully, a happy accident happened later in the book with some wayward formatting, and I pounced on it. Check this out:

Now is that more professional looking? Hell no. If we’re talking which is more aesthetically pleasing, #1 wins by a landslide. But that’s the thing – this is an attempt to recreate journal entries, to some extent. This version makes a lot more sense, and so this is the new look of the chapter headers. I like it already.

I’m going through and spotting minor errors here and there as well, cleaning them up in anticipation of my editor’s changes. Just a few issues:

It may look hairy, but honestly, this is far ahead of where Corridors’ first proof came out. If I showed you the first proof of Corridors, your hair would turn white. There’s a reason I’m only showing this process after that whole debacle.

And I will continue to update you on this process! This is all important groundwork for my non-fiction book about POD printing. I’ll have more information on that as well as things come together. So far, so good, though. I have a good outline and some good content coming along.

Oh, I also attended my first meeting of the Maryland Writers Conference Montgomery County chapter and got a rare treat, listening to the esteemed Austin S. Camacho speak on his own difficult path to publishing. He answered lots of great questions and was a very gracious guest speaker. I picked up a signed copy of his book How to Market Your Book in the 21st Century (and have already seen a few useful tips) and would recommend it to anyone who’s interested. Thanks for your time, Mr. Camacho!

As for the group itself, still too early to say. I met only one other speculative fiction writer, but didn’t get a lot of time to mingle. We’ll see how it goes. I’m also going to be attending the Maryland Writers conference in October. It’s about time that I start making the rounds on things like that. Maybe you can catch me there!

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing with us. “Bestsellers” on getting through this part of the process.

  2. Very cool to see those pictures, since I’m going through the same process at the moment 🙂 (Though haven’t had my proof delivered yet…)

  3. This makes me wonder if I might not want to get a print version of my next book, not to sell it, but because it must feel so awesome to mark final proofing on a bound copy!

    Thanks for the hints!


    • It’s really amazing, I recommend it to any author. Plus having that physical copy…I don’t know, it’s not everything for me by any means and I understand the importance of ebooks, but it feels a lot more like an accomplishment.

  4. Yikes! It seems like a neverending process. Just when you think the book is done, it needs more work.

    No wonder I don’t sleep well at night.

  5. Jonathan,

    Because you are so willing to share with others your publishing process, I thought this blog post deserved a One Lovely Blog Award:

  6. Looking good buddy! If you need me to make any changes to the cover please let me know and of course it’s gratis. Love your work as always!

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