I am currently exporting all the pages from Emperor Pius Dei (EPD) out of InDesign and into a PDF. This process will take 20 minutes during which I can not be working on editing. I’m snatching the break like a drowning swimmer grabs a life preserver. I know that in a very short while I will be out of the water, but I’m still holding tight.
This morning my desk had a printed copy of EPD which was sporting a forest of paper tabs. Each marked something for me to fix. It was the fourth time I’d faced a forest of tabs. Set 1 was from our copy editor. Sets 2 & 3 I generated for myself by paging through carefully until my eyes could no longer focus. Set 4 was provided when good friends, family really, came over for a proofing party. They gleefully marked anything they could see which might have been the slightest bit wrong. Which is exactly what I told them to do. They were my spotters-of-wrong-things. I paid them in pizza.
I stared at the multitude of tabs this morning and nearly cried. My brain and eyes are so tired of this book. I went to work anyway and soon discovered that the majority of the tabs indicated things which only took me seconds to fix. They were all the kind of thing that the average reader is unlikely to ever notice, but which I would feel bad if I left. In under an hour I mowed the forest flat. It was much easier than the previous sets of fixes.
Next I export to PDF (waiting on it now.) Then I page through the PDF on a last error check. Then I export and upload to our printer’s FTP site. At that point I am done until the first proofs come back for approval. If you had asked me 10 days ago, I would not have believed we would be shipping files this week. I expected mid-May and it had me panicked about getting books before the Summer conventions. If you had asked me last Thursday I would have said “maybe by April 30th.” Howard worked amazingly fast. 40 margin art pieces in five days. The test printing, two rounds of it, took a single day instead of three. (Yay Alphagraphics). My work all went faster than my previous estimates told me to expect. I half expect the FTP process to be miserable to make up for all the good fortune.