Revised Cover

I think I like this one better.

New cover idea for 5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel

I like it because it shows the African keyhole garden in full swing. I have a photo of it in the book on page 142, right after we finished building it. It was ready to plant. The cover shows it planted and growing nicely.

The Sequel: 1st Proof in Hand!

It just arrived! The first print proof of 5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel.

front cover
back cover
side by side comparison of The Sequel to The Book
back cover comparison
comparison of the spines
interior of The Sequel
One of the three appendices (“Resources”)

Except for the annoying “Not for Resale” banner blazoned around the cover (of which, why in the world would I want to sell a proof copy with flaws in it?!?!?!?), I think it came out quite well. I had trouble with cover color on my first book, but this one looks much better.

Two things need to be done.

  1. Compare the first and second volumes to see if there’s anything I need to do to look more like a series. At first glance, the cover fonts look different, even though I thought they were the same. I’ll have to look into that.
  2. Go through the proof page by page, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, word by word, image by image, and look for errors or anything that needs improving.

After that, I’ll make the corrections in the files, upload the revisions, and order a second proof. Because the first proof looks so promising, I hopefully will only need to do this twice! Or at least I hope so.

Building an Index = Catching Inconsistencies

Something I’ve discovered while working on the index for 5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel, is numerous inconsistencies in the way I’ve used some words and phrases. Hyphenating, for example. Some places, I might have written “long term,” others, it might be “long-term.” Or I might have done the internet thing and made two words into one, such as “lifespan” in some places and “life span” in others. Sometimes I capitalized some words, and sometimes not, for example, Master Plan and master plan. I also discovered that I used variations of the same quote three times!

Technically, an editor should have caught these, but they slipped through just the same. So, when I’m using the find function on my PDF copy to make a list of page numbers for my index words and discover these, I stop and check proper spelling. Then I go back to my desktop publisher and correct them.

Style manuals, editors, and readers may disagree with me on some things, but at least I’ll be consistent!

A Photo Optimized Version for a Smaller File Size

When I wrote 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, I had no intention of making it anything other than a paperback. That meant all the photos were prepared for high-quality print. And that meant a very large file, which was slow to upload (or download). Eventually, I turned it into a print replica for Kindle, but even then, the file size was large.

This wasn’t a problem until I needed to send some PDF copies to folks in various parts of the world. Even though I optimized the PDF as much as I could in Scribus, it was still a large file. Believe it or not, not everyone has high-speed internet.

Lesson learned. For 5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel, I decided to make a photo optimized version from the get-go. Not that I’m planning to release it as an eBook yet (maybe someday), but so that I can get it to reviewers before it’s ready to print.

To do this, I’m making copies of all the book’s photographs in a lower resolution. For print, photos must be 300 DPI (dots per inch) to produce a clear image. Most internet photos, on the other hand, are 72 DPI. This would make a blurry printed image, but it’s fine for digital viewing, and is creating a much smaller PDF file size. Then, because changing the resolution also changes the print size, I have to resize each photo before inserting it in the desktop publisher file.

How much of a difference does it make? For example, chapter one at 300 DPI is 11.5 MB. At 72 DPI, it’s 1.2 MB. That’s a big difference. The photos in the optimized version aren’t as crisp as the originals, but I think they’ll do.

I admit this is another time-consuming step, but I think it will be worth it in the long run. Eventually, I’ll format The Sequel for eBook, but that will take awhile too because I’d like it to be available for ePub as well as Kindle.

Even so, I’m getting closer. After this, I can get started on the index.

Read-Through Time

Before I’m ready to order a printed proof of my book, I need to read through it several times to catch errors and problems. There are a lot of little details to catch, so each time through it, I read with a particular focus.

My first read-throughs are in the desktop publisher (DTP).

Read-through #1 is for text continuity. The DTP is where I build and format each page the way I want it to appear on a printed page. I’m working with text frames, image frames, caption frames, and page numbering, which means there is a lot of tweaking to get a pleasing balance of images, text, and white space. If it doesn’t fit on the page; cutting and pasting are required. Sometimes I have to reword several sentences to make the paragraph fit on the page. On occasion, something gets omitted or doubled. So the first read-through hopefully catches all that!

Read-through #2 focuses on small text details. Everything must be consistent. For example, sometimes I wrote 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, sometimes I wrote 5 Acres and A Dream The Book. Sometimes I miss italicizing a book title. I check to see if all paragraphs are correctly indented or not. A paragraph continuing on the next page is not indented, so I have to check. Are the temperature symbols all formatted the same?

Read-through #3 examines photo captions. These are written as the images are placed on the page, so I go back to check them for accuracy, spelling, and punctuation.

Read-through #4 checks citations. Is each one notated in the text with a superscript numeral? Are the endnotes and bibliography properly formatted?

Read-through #5 isn’t a technical read-through, but it checks page numbers so it’s a necessary go-through. A mistake means all the following page numbers must be corrected! I also make sure the page numbers in the table of contents are correct; also any pages I reference anywhere else in the text. This is the last read-through in the DTP.

The next read-through is after I export the manuscript as a PDF.

Read-through #6 is to look for key words for the index. It also serves as a double check for all of the above, but my mental focus is on keywords. I make a list of these in a text editor. When I’m done with the list, I go to the tools menu and select “sort” to put the list in alphabetical order.

Read-through #7 isn’t technically a read-through. It’s to go through each of the words on my keyword list, and using “find” on the PDF, make a list of all the page numbers for the index.

After the index is built and I know my exact page count for the book, I can request a cover template. Once the cover is done, it’s time to order my first printed proof copy.

Read-through #8 is with the printed proof. It’s amazing what you miss on a computer screen but catch on a printed page! This is also when I make notes of images that aren’t printing well. Corrections of both text and images are made in the DTP, and another proof is ordered.

Read-through #9 checks everything again!

Hopefully, everything is perfect by that point! But if it isn’t, I continue working the process until it is. Only then will I approve the book for publication.