Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Books

The quote and cite checking on the latest manuscript is underway. I'm amused by how many volumes are on the cart, so to speak. There was a library required to write what I've been working on, and the book will relieve people who read it from the necessity of buying and reading shelves of material, if they don't want to.

I am a little concerned about the length of the book because length increases pages, and pages increase cost. A book is not particularly reader-friendly if the font drops below 12, so it is not practical to reduce pages by taking the font to 10 because that makes it hard to read. A word index will be required because the content is such that readers are likely to want to be able to navigate through the material with an index. 

The first read-through edit has been done. This identified ambiguities, or things that would benefit from further clarification, or examples. This first edit results in rewrites to clarify. The result is always expanding the volume, because some clarifications add a paragraph to the text and several footnotes. This process is about 80% completed.

The second edit is only to check the citations and quotes for accuracy. Since there are over a thousand citations and quotes, this is somewhat tedious, but can be done simultaneously with the read-through, clarification process. This citation check is about 30% completed.

The final edit is a word/phrasing/punctuation/grammar edit which checks all the technical writing style. It will be done on a text that is accurate as to meaning and citations, and focus only on writing conformity to good technical standards.

When the editing is completed, the book is then typeset, a process which takes a few weeks. This makes the book look like a finished layout. Only after the typeset, is it printed for the first time. The printed product is called a "galley-proof" and will be marked up for printing errors and mistakes. Printed proofs are used to look for mistakes that are then marked in red. This is the "red-line" process. After the red lines are finished, the print layout is corrected to remove all the errors found. The finished, corrected version is then turned into a print-ready copy and submitted to the printer. The printer takes about three weeks to provide a print proof for review and approval. When it is approved, the book becomes available on Amazon.

The new book is drafted, but still has a great deal of technical work to be done before it will be ready. I thought it might be interesting to let people know this process. Mill Creek has suggested releasing it as a two-volume set to reduce cost for any single volume. But I think that is self-defeating, because then the cumulative cost of the two is greater than a single volume. It is possible, however, that the word index will lengthen it to the point a paperback printing of a perfect-bound book is not possible. Then the only choice would be to make it two volumes, or release it as a hardback-only printing. If it becomes hardback-only, the cost will rise dramatically. I'm not interested in making it costly, so that has no appeal to me.

We are looking into getting another printer to do hardback versions of all the books, because there have been requests for those.

On the bright side, they are shipping me a copy of the finished proof of Removing the Condemnation this week. When it arrives, I can approve and release it. So the blog book (titled Removing the Condemnation) will then be available in printed form. It will be over 525 pages in length, and would be increased by many more if a word index were provided. Therefore, there will be no word index for that book, but the blog will remain up and can be searched on-line to find something. Also, there will be no Kindle version of that book because the blog will remain up.