Book Design Success and Feelings of Competence

Three weeks ago I looked at Howard across the kitchen counter and told him that we either had to have Massively Parallel done by August 30 or we needed to push it off past Christmas. We decided to make a run for completing the book even though it looked nearly impossible. Howard had GenCon. I had the kids starting school. The bonus story was not complete, none of the marginalia was done, and the cover was only drafted. On my end was all the copy editing, layout editing, and frequent book iterations. We shouldn’t have been able to do it, yet this morning I uploaded the files on the completed book.

It seems like by book eleven we would have figured out how not to have a last minute rush, yet we always do. I think some of it is just the nature of nearing the finish line. Suddenly we can see it and everything moves faster. The rest is just that we always have so many projects running that it takes an impending deadline to bring one into focus.

Some things have gotten easier. As I worked, I kept noting the places where I used to panic or fear that I was failing at my job. This time I knew it would be fine. I used to bite my nails any time I tried to use ftp. I don’t anymore. I no longer have a gnawing fear that I’ve made some horrible mistake that will render the whole project useless. I’m still very aware of the limits of my expertise, but for the familiar format of the Schlock books, I know how to do this.

To add to the challenged of this particular book printing, we’re reprinting the first slipcase and printing a second one to house books 6-11. Designing a slipcase is not something I’ve ever done before. Howard made the first one. Yet I sat down Saturday morning with the template for the first slipcase, a ruler, a calculator and my design tools. Within a few hours I had a draft of the slipcase. We refined it over the weekend and that too is ready to go once the printer confirms that my calculations are correct.

While I had my design tools out, I also made a flyer for Salt Lake Comic Con, and a pamphlet that contains Howard’s story “No I’m Fine” along with my essay “Married to Depression.” We’ll be giving these out at SLCC. I dropped these things off at the warehouse, where I walked around and tried to picture how we would fit the shipment of Massively Parallel along with both slipcases. Fortunately the slipcases are light and can be stacked high. We’ll have to because we don’t have enough floor space for the probable 15-20 pallets that will arrive. Much of that will go right back out the door again, but we need to be able to fit it all inside and shut the doors against the weather. There are times when I’ve laid in bed at 2am being panicked about not having enough warehouse space. Today I looked around and knew we could make it work. We’re going to have to do some shifting around. I may have to purchase some industrial shelving, but there is space enough.

It feels good to have the book under weigh. The rest of this week will be devoted to SLCC. Then it will be time to dive in on the 2015 Schlock calendar and the necessary preparations for book pre-orders. After SLCC my life should slow down for a while. I’d like that.