Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steps to Publication #5: Proofing Galleys and Cover Art

Three things occupy my thoughts this morning. I’ll take them in order.

Tricks, Techniques, and Tactics from Authors Jan Peck and David Davis

Yesterday at the North Texas SCBWI chapter meeting, Jan Peck and David Davis gave a concise, knowledgeable, and highly useful overview of the state of publishing today. Besides describing their own steps to publication, starting in such periodicals as Comic Buyers Guide and the Dallas Morning News, and onward through their current status as star authors at Dial Books (Penguin/Putnam), Simon & Schuster, and Sterling Publishing, Jan and David presented an in-depth look at the industry-changing explosion in indie publishing and e-books. Their handout (worth its weight in gold, which is really saying something, considering that gold now sells for $1,800 an ounce) is posted at The Jan Peck/David Davis Publishing Link Sheet.

A lively discussion ensued, and when I saw my chance to join it, I threw in a few words about avoiding the temptation to throw rough drafts up on the Internet. The speed of publishing, online and electronically, can be intoxicating, especially to those of us who have lots of experience with the sad old routine of “send in your manuscript, then wait a year or six months” for a reply. It can be oh, so tempting, to e-publish and be damned.

But running a rough draft through the Smashwords meat-grinder is a very bad idea. E-publishing one’s unpolished prose can do considerable damage to a writer’s reputation. It is ALWAYS worth the time, to take the time to polish up a manuscript, to make it the best it can be.

I’ve posted several practical how-tos:
Thank you again, Jan and David, for a great program. I was already excited about my indie publishing adventure, and now I can hardly wait to get WATERSPELL out there.

Book 1: First Galley Proofs

Eager though I am to release WATERSPELL Books 1 and 2, I mustn’t lose my focus on quality. Gene has finished proofreading Book 1: The Warlock and declares it error-free. Today I’m going to skim quickly through the first galley proofs, making sure the poems and other bits that require special treatment (indentation, italics) have been properly handled.

Then, on the Contents page, I’ll assign page numbers alongside the chapter titles. Using the “Galley Edits—Corrections Sheet,” I’ll specify the placement of the copyright page, dedication, Contents, epigraph, and author bio. By Monday evening, this first run of galley proofs should be ready to return to Dwight, the production manager at Accurance.

Book 3: First Cover Proof

I’m also mulling over changes to the first draft of the Book 3 cover, shown here. I believe the dolphin is too large, and I’d like to see more contrast between it and the background.

Here’s what I’ll request:
  • Move the dolphin to the right so that its dorsal fin is almost centered against the background, and make the dolphin smaller, as necessary, so that its snout/face overlaps the silver frame only about as much as the red-and-gold book overlaps its frame on #8916.
  • The splashes of water are great—perfect! Can you add another splash or two under the dolphin’s snout, to provide more contrast against the dark-blue background?
  • Within the silver frame, change the sky-and-sea background to a golden sunset. There’s an excellent example at (minus the human silhouette, of course).

ISBN 978-0-9728768-2-7 (E-book)

Cover art copyright © 2011 David R. Davis
All rights reserved
I said I had three things on my mind this morning, but actually I have four. I’m also trying to master the ridiculously long “Smashwords Style Guide” so I can successfully e-publish an anthology written by the Four Star Writers of my critique group. More on this venture, later.

Right now, I gotta get to work!


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