weekend is not ‘off work’

Well, I suppose it counts as a weekend, on account of the three days I didn’t go to the travel agency to stare at a computer screen for ten hours. Of course, from about 8AM Friday to about 7AM Saturday I sat at a computer (and my television, running DVDs) and worked pretty continuously on my books. Not writing, but layout and cover designs for books I’ve already written. I’m watching the season finale of House on my iBook, but maybe I’ll get some web-ready previews together before I finish typing this. Depends on how much I feel like typing, I suppose.

Thursday, as scheduled, Heath and I went to IKEA. First we made a quick (three hour) stop at the MVD, where Heath finally took the driving test and got his driver’s license. I guess we’re going to be switching the car insurance details around and he’s getting title to the green car, finally, this week as well. Anyway, after that, IKEA. Office furniture at IKEA, while significantly cheaper than traditional office furniture, is still way out of my price range right now. After gathering as much information as was necessary for Heath to be able to plan out his office furniture purchases, we looked at bookcases. IKEA has re-tooled BILLY (the bookcases I’ve been buying – actually, the most popular bookcases in the world, from what I’ve read) and the options I used to buy are no longer produced, and some of the options I was hoping to purchase are no longer produced. It should still match with the ones I have if I buy more. So I worked out how much it would cost to get a little more bookcase, a bit more bookcase, a sufficient amount more bookcase… too much, too much, and way too much, respectively. Heath and I discussed it a bit, discussed what I already knew, and I ended up buying only chopsticks.

I actually worked on some of the electronic ‘paperwork’ for my books Thursday night, among other things. Actually went to bed a bit early, for a change. Got up at a reasonable hour and went to work, getting two more books ready for the new process. Lost and Not Found and Dragons’ Truth. See, for about the cost of the bookcases I couldn’t afford, and for somewhat less than the cost of the filing cabinet I need, I can get another two books set up and online and available to the public and to book stores. Obviously, there’s some work to be done on my end – I’ve done most of it in the last two days, although there are a few things I’m still having trouble with. Getting things registered with the Library of Congress, updating the national ISBN registrar with the publication details of the books, getting the bookblocks updated with a consistent style (the same style for both books and -hopefully- any future individual novels), developing and implementing a consistent design for books of the same category (ie: individual novels by Modern Evil Press)… Just updating the text styles throughout each book to be self-consistent and without obvious error was an hours-long challenge. There was one point where I was making fractional-point changes to the type size of Lost and Not Found and seeing tens of pages of change in the length of the book; this is significant because, while I want to be able to price the book reasonably and to make money from them and I am charged by the page, I also want my books to be reasonably readable from a text-is-large-enough-to-read point of view.

Before Heath got home from his graveyard shift I’d done what I could with the bookblocks and basically finished with the first cover design, and before I went to bed I had a draft of the second new cover design (I’ve been working on them on my iBook, they should be ‘below the fold’ as it were) and … well… I’m not certain I like them. I mean, I like them, they look good, but … There’s not really anything about them that makes you want to purchase them. I think the reaction might be something like “well, there’s a very nice looking book… not that I see any reason to pick it up… but that’s a very sharp design.” I’m afraid I haven’t got a grasp of what makes a book cover attractive to people. I personally tend to buy books based on their author and/or the reputation of the book (ie: what I’ve heard about it). For a time, for certain subjects, I would learn about new books by browsing titles for keywords and then reading the jacket notes. For the purposes of the new covers, I kept the old jacket notes, from the old covers, and just lay them out in the new designs. I just don’t know. I like them and at the same time dislike them. It’s somewhat frustrating. Tell me what you think, if it’s worth enough effort to email me.

Then today … well, I recall spending a long time trying to get these bookblocks to create “compliant” PDFs, mostly. Apparently, when Pages (Apple’s word processing and layout application, which I use for all my books-related word processing and layout) has a graphic inserted into a document, even if the graphic itself was created in CMYK colorspace, even if the graphic is a compliant PDF with CMYK colorspace defined within it… Pages takes that image and, when outputting to the Adobe Acrobat Professional Distiller print driver, hands it over in RGB colorspace, which -by the way- is not compliant. The graphic, by the way, is the Modern Evil logo on the title page. After spending all day on it, unless I have an epiphany during the week, I’ll probably create a new typeface with the ME logo in it (perhaps a 1-character typeface?) and just have it embed the new typeface – it seems to have NO trouble with text, and actually I was told I needed to start using Distiller and making ‘compliant’ PDFs by my new printer on account of I use dingbats and they don’t translate properly otherwise. Fine. I’ll make a ME dingbat.

Alright, enough of this. Sleep. I work in a few hours. Ugh.

Proposed cover for Lost and Not Found:

Proposed Lost and Not Found cover

Proposed cover for Dragons’ Truth:

Proposed Dragons' Truth cover

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.