Some answers and suggestions. • 2 February 2008 • The SnowBlog
Some answers and suggestions.
I am in a perceptive mood today, and have some answers to some burning questions - and a couple of suggestions. First question: why do imprints exist?
Possible Answer: so that companies can sell them off when times get tough. If your business is divided into imprints, you can flog 'em as a discrete entity. If all the titles were lumped in together, it's harder to siphon them off. Am I right?
Second question: why do publishers have to employ so many people, and how does Snowbooks get away with employing so few?
Answer: because many publishing employees are undertrained.
Explanation: I generate a fair percentage of Snowbooks' current revenue from publishing services - doing cover design, typesetting and so forth for other publishers - so I get to see how these other companies operate. Now, dear clients, don't take this the wrong way but you could easily dispense with the great expense that is me by just buying a couple of thick books for 30, or even paying to go on a 300 course, and then practising a bit, to learn how to use InDesign and Photoshop.
Example: Today I've been finishing off some typesetting for a client. It's the sixth iteration that we've been through:
1) was the initial design - a sample chapter or two for them to review and sign off the font, layout etc
2) was the editor's remarks
3) was the author amendments
4) was a further set of editor remarks (possibly after an internal meeting)
5) was the first set of proofreader's remarks
6) was a further set of proofreader's remarks
Now, there are a couple of dispensable people and processes here. Me, for one - I've been receiving hard copy marked up proofs through the post (it's a few hundred pages long book) and just implementing the markup in InDesign. The editor or proofreader could easily have made those changes as they identified them. In the last iteration, the editor marked up a hard copy *and* sent the proofreader's marked up PDF via email - the marked up PDF would have been fine. Even better, the proofreader could have made the changes direct to InDesign - cutting out the editor, the postman and me.
My cover design clients also rely on me for things that take me about 30 seconds, but if I'm out of the office when they need it, they have to wait half a day - things like turning a photoshop document into a jpeg and resizing it. I know I would find that very frustrating, and would want to learn how to do it myself to wrestle back some control. Because as we all know, if you're in control of something it's a lot less stressful than relying on someone else. Or is it just ol' control-freak me who thinks that?
So, because I'm weird, I'm going to really try hard in 2008 to make myself for the most part redundant, by sending through detailed instructions to my clients of how to do the easy bits each time they ask. In fact, I've done this often in the past, but I can't have explained it very well because I still get the questions, and then feel rotten if they're waiting for me to get it done, and for charging money for something that is so simple.
Here are some notes I've made in the past:
To resize an image
To cut out images in Photoshop
Any more you'd like to see?