The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #6
This week I have got to get it all done, all of it! ALL of it! And that is because my children are off school until 26 April, and while there are various courses and camps they can go to this week, there is nothing happening the week after, so I have to go on an enforced holiday. A holiday where we sleep in our own home. A “staycation,” if you will. Not a holiday where we pack our bags and sleep somewhere that is not our own home, which is simply a “holiday,” not a “staycation,” even if it is in the UK. Advertisers take note.
Monday, 12 April
Today, in classic one-man-band style, having commissioned, read, and proofed a document (partially aided by a professional proofreader, but refined by my own pedantic obsessiveness), I am progressing to typesetting.
Now, I am no stranger to typesetting, having been a technical author for years, but most of the documents I have written in the past have been typeset in a less aesthetic, more functional way. I’ve used various typesetting platforms, but I’ve never really explored the ways to make a document look less like a technical manual and more like a book.
Last week I threw the doc into Reedsy’s free typesetting tool just to you know see what would happen, and the results were … reasonable. Not perfect. And only perfect will do. Please note that I am not disparaging Reedsy here. I think it’s tremendous that they have created something so easy to use, and I’m sure it would be absolutely fine for anyone who is self-publishing, but I will be wasting my time as a press if I produce books that cannot compete on a professional level with books you would buy from a major publisher.
So InDesign it is. Now, it has been a long, long time since I have touched InDesign, which is huge and massively powerful, and I have to admit that this morning it took me
but after those four hours it was perfect. I mean … perfect as far as I can tell. And then the next few chapters just flowed like honey from there.
Are you starting your own publishing company? I am not best placed in this little journalette to tell you how I fixed all the little InDesign quirks I found today, but I can tell you what I did: I googled all of them, found tutorials on how to fix them, and just spent that four hours learning. Yes, I wanted to cry throughout hour 2. Yes, I wanted to take cash out of the bank and disappear myself forever in a cabin somewhere in [REDACTED IN CASE I EVER GO; DO NOT LOOK FOR ME] around hour 3. But by hour 4, I got it.
Tuesday, 13 April
I’m, um, kind of addicted to typesetting now. I typeset. I typeset from early morning to late night. Every little quirky kerning issue? I solve it. Need an ornament? A flourish? I’ve got one, and it’s licensed forever and properly embedded in the PDF. Eat? No, typset. Sleep? Why, when I could be typesetting? Shower? Waste of time. Typeset instead. Worry about orphans? Not when I can be eliminating them–on the page, that is.
Maybe it was a mistake to give my particular personality an InDesign license.
Wednesday, 14 April
What has surprised me the most in this process is exactly how much lead time you need for everything. Right now, 5 months ahead of the expected release date for my first book, I am already behind. I will probably make it by the skin of my teeth; it may be that I have to push the release date back slightly.
Things to bear in mind: proofreading takes time; typesetting takes time; covers take time; printing takes time; generating ebooks to send to reviewers takes no time at all, but reviewers need time; all of those things have to be done in a particular order; if you’re going to try to place an announcement about the book in something like The Bookseller, that takes time. If you want to start some kind of press offensive, that takes tons of time. Jamie McGarry, the founder of Valley Press and the very first person I linked to on Medium, said it’s worth getting your books completely done before announcing anything; I thought I was actually aiming for that, yet I am not. I am behind.
Today I have achieved: a bunch of admin that has got lost in the past few days, speaking to two authors (one established, one up-and-coming) about cover quotes, and coming up with some cover concepts with Libby. That’s a lot, but is it enough?! No!
Thursday, 15 April
I think I have to accept that I cannot manage marketing and publicity on my own just yet. I truly believe it is the one thing that will make the biggest difference to everything, yet I am not well-connected with the right people–or skilled enough in the art of selling–to be the one who takes on this crucial role. So I’ve been back in touch with a freelancer (not the one who quoted me £6500, my god), and she is enthusiastic about the books, and we are going to work together to find an acceptable budget.
Speaking of budget, I am considering a Kickstarter where, if I can get (say) a minimum 100 buyers, I can print and distribute at a lower cost and aim to give the authors higher royalties. After postage it works out to less money for me, but it’s better than nothing, it supports readers, and it supports authors as well. (If anyone is getting into publishing for the money, well, I have bad news for you.)
Friday, 16 April
With typesetting finished for one book, proofreading continuing apace for the other, cover design approved for one in principle and in process for the other, and advance information provided on time to The Bookseller for both (if you’re doing this, bear in mind you need to get in touch 5 months in advance with this information including ISBNs), I’m in good shape to have an enforced holiday next week.
After I send this, I need to draft up an email for a press person I’ve spoken to before with some ideas for interviews and features. And once I’ve done that, I need to read two books: one for paid work, one for someone whom I have long neglected. I hope she can forgive me.
Next week I will be primarily enjoying the company of my children, so although it’s likely that I will also do some work, you’ll next hear from me on Friday 30 April.