Todd’s Law.

It’s been a long couple of weeks with many happenings. I’ll try to recount them in some sort of acceptable detail. First off, I hope you checked out the latest Word Machines article, featuring Eddie Wright. Be sure and check out his book, BROKEN BULBS.

I’m currently reading WAITING FOR SPRING by R.J. Keller. This isn’t the sort of book I normally read, but the characters are believable, and the prologue sucked me in. I’m looking forward to finishing it (and I’ll let you know what I think).

Moving along to ALT-related matters . . .

Anyone who’s followed this blog since its inception back in late 2007 (and even before that, during my deviantART days) knows that, whenever I attempt to take a book to print, something inevitably goes wrong. With Lulu, it was contradictory information regarding their cover layout, leading to half a dozen proofs before we finally got it right. With CreateSpace, well, that’s been pretty well documented.

With Lightning Source, I’d hoped we could start with a clean slate. Their templates are incredibly accurate, programmed with Adobe InDesign so that it will tell you when something is where it shouldn’t be. There’s very little margin of error, and pseudo idiot-proof. Naturally, Murphy’s Law was in full effect this past week (I’ve taken to calling it Todd’s Law), so not all went according to plan.

I uploaded the files. No problem with that. The paperback files were accepted and a proof was put into production. More on that in a minute.

The hardback jacket was rejected for a few reasons. One involved a black outline along the jacket flaps (a design decision), but LSI didn’t seem to like that very much. There was some ambiguity with where the covers end and flaps begin. Turns out we guessed incorrectly as to where that line starts.

Hardcover jacket. Click to enlarge.

Finally, the big one involved something that I’ve never encountered before. Neither has Erica. It turns out the file I sent LSI was shifted downward a few pixels, thus moving the spine logo out of the safety area (anything below the line will get cut off during printing). Odd thing is, on Erica’s machine, the file is perfectly fine. Somehow, during the transfer of files from her machine to mine, the flattened PDF image would be shifted.

We spent three hours trying to figure out the How and Why of it. In the end, I uploaded the file from her machine. What a hassle, right? At least the paperback proof was approved and on its way, right?

Paperback cover. Click to enlarge.

Yeah. About that. The proof did arrive as intended. However, it appears the same incident happened with the paperback’s cover image. LSI didn’t flag it because nothing was moved out of any safety areas. What did happen, though, was the entire cover image shifted to the right by a few pixels. The back cover and spine were perfect. The shift only occurred on the front image, which moved the last T in “Transparent” way too close to the edge of the book. This was a huge shame, because the book looks perfect, otherwise. It’s on my shelf right now, and I have to say I’m damn proud to see the Precipice logo there on the spine.

So, Friday night, I uploaded a corrected file and ordered a new proof.

I’d hoped to avoid things like this for one reason: money. A revision upload incurs a fee of $40. A paperback proof is $30. Hardcover proofs are $35. Proofs are necessary evils, so if you do the math, this week’s snafu with the files just cost $110 (I didn’t have to pay again for the hardcover proof, because the first never printed). This isn’t a huge deal–I’d anticipated having to come out of pocket on this, anyway–but it does eat into my meager marketing budget. Alas, so it goes.

Where does this leave us? Well, it’s unlikely LSI will be able to get new proofs out to me before Christmas, so I expect them before New Year’s Eve. Provided nothing else goes wrong, I’ll be able to place orders for Kickstarter backers (31 hardcovers, 81 paperbacks). The book should start showing up in the various distribution outlets sometime after that, so maybe by the end of January? I’m not very sure how long that process takes.

And that’s where we stand, folks. ALT 2.0 is this close to being done.

Expect another post from me before Christmas.

Until then,