A Work in Progress

pagination3 (1)-1The Indiegogo campaign is complete. I am grateful for the patience, encouragement, and support that you all offered during the process. We closed the campaign two weeks ago and are now thick in the production process. The September 21 deadline is probably ambitious, but we are going to make it.

Here’s a crash course in the editing process:

Each of these interviews was roughly an hour long, recorded and later transcribed.

An interview of this length generally transcribes to a word count of 4-5,000 words.

I edit on paper with a yellow highlighter and blue pen, so with several passes and multiple trips to Kinkos for bound print outs, eventually 719 pages became 498 pages became 240.

At that point, I had some editing help from long-time friend and colleague, Teresa Scalzo, who reminds me to keep sight of the larger vision while examining each individual word for meaning and clarity.

Once we brought each story down to 400-600 words, I went on to select other brief pull quotes to add another design element to the pages and share bits of wisdom that would have otherwise been lost.

This book’s design and layout are the result of another long-time friend and designer Barbara Koster who takes my vague notions and makes them a reality on the page. Her attention to detail is unmatched, and we all benefit from the results.

The image in this post is the rough pagination for the book. The map, if you will. I defer to Barbara on details of typeface, and whether we use the word “and” or the symbol “&” in listings. She sends me notes like this:

“I’ve asked a friend to produce the map (National Geographic is one of her clients). I feel good about this decision because she is a map geek and I know that this way everything will be perfect and accurate. I’ve asked her to do a conic projection rather than the Mercator projection I did so it will be more natural looking. I thought we could have a sort of subtle underlay of texture and detail. How far do we want to go? Do we want mountains? Main rivers? Main lakes?”

Fortunately I was a cartography minor, so I knew the difference between a conic projection and a Mercator, and I agree.

Other people lend their perspective and expertise. They raise issues I hadn’t considered, and every step along the way, the book becomes stronger and more beautiful. The message becomes more clear and compelling.

We chose to print locally with Sexton printing. We liked the idea of hands on press checks and personal relationships. We intentionally paid a higher price to stay on shore rather than go to Mexico or China where the price would be lower, but the environmental cost potentially higher. We chose the paper manufacturer, the finish, the weight of the paper. We settled on page count and dimensions, and whether or not to include French Flaps on the cover. (we chose yes).

Each day brings new questions and details, yet the end is in sight. We should have rough layouts in our hands next week. We will proof, reproof, and proof again, removing as many of the pesky typos and awkward line breaks that we can find in the text…and in about 6 more weeks, we should hold finished books in our hands.

Stay tuned. I am excited. I hope you are, too.

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