BS & Donkey Dust #4

BS & Donkey Dust #4

A Day in the Life of Publishing


Met with my friend Don this morning.  Don is the designer, formatter and architect of how the book looks, feels and reads; he’s an important element here at Rhyolite Press . . . maybe the most important cog in our entire process.  Without him, publishing would grind to a halt.

The reason we met was to iron out the details for our next two books, The Drift, an environmental thriller, by Bert Entwistle, and The Whim-Wham Man, a coming of age story and murder mystery, by John Dwaine McKenna.  We’re trying to have both of them ready and on sale by mid to late July, in time for late summer reading, so we’re in full court press, finalizing stuff like cover colors, print style and size, placement of title and author’s name, spine colors and design, and finally what, and where, to put what on the back cover. With all those things completed and agreed upon . . . there is of course . . .the heart of the book, what you read, left to design and format.

Piece of cake, you say.  Well, not so fast, grasshopper.  There’s a lot we still need to do.

Such as? You say.

Well, for openers, the page color.  There are literally, dozens of shades of white, off-white, cream, eggshell and others.  Then, there’s thousands of type styles.  Pick one . . . is it easy to read?  In all light and shade variations?  What percentage of black or gray ink should we use?  Too much and the text won’t be comfortable to read.  Too little and it can’t be read in normal lighting conditions.  How much space should we leave between the letters, words, sentences and lines?  Oh, and how much gutter should we add before binding so that the side of the page nearest the spine is readable?  And don’t forget the page top and bottom margins, author’s name, title, page and chapter numbers, as well as indents, acknowledgements, dedication, glyphs, widgets, what-have-yous and whyfors.

Last of all, we notch in places for the author’s biography and photo, title pages, forward, some promotional material, blurbs, one or two reviews and BAM!  Just like that, we’re done.  Don goes back to his offices to make it all go together and come out nice, and Bert comes in with a manuscript under his arm and a bag of lunch for us.

Over the next two and a half hours, a couple of Cokes, some curly fries and Arby’s roast beef sandwiches, we go over his novel making corrections, edits and some word changes.  We talk over some plot points in his next novel and Bert gets ready to go home and work . . . just as Dick comes in.

Dick is the new guy we’re encouraging to complete his manuscript and publish it.  He’s a retired detective sergeant with thirty years of service and a kick-ass story about the perfect crime.  In truth, it’s not quite ready to go to press, but he’s got an awesome protagonist and a great story to tell.  We’re all hoping to see and hear more from him in the coming months.  We’ll keep you posted.

By now, it’s 5:30 and June’s home from work.  She and Dick exchange a few Hi, how are yous and do you knows.  It’s book club night for her, so we eat a quick dinner, an apple, a sandwich and mug of tea and she takes off for her meeting.

Wow!  I’ve got about two hours left to work on this blog, due in three days, and Mysterious Book Report.  That’s right, I think to myself, the one that’s due a couple of days later.

Whoa, buddy . . . talk about having fun . . .

I’ll see you next week in the same old blogspot.  And, hey don’t worry, you’ll know me right away. 

I’ll be the dude without a nose . . . from keeping it so close to the grindstone.  Happy trails.



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