On the Way with Designer Julia

Hey Denise

Joel Friedlander’s tips on self-publishing on his blog, TheBookDesigner, are spurring me on. In his free booklet, “10 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing,” he clarified for me the next steps on the road to seeing my memoir of my family’s WWII experience, Bowing to the Emperor: We Were Prisoners of the Japanese, morph into a book.

Joel reminded me that if I want my book to look like professionals produced it, I need to hire professionals—unless, of course, I have those skills myself. He is referring to editorial, design, typography, and cover creation skills.

He goes on to say that four people are necessary in the whole process to make the book all it can be: the editor, the cover designer, the book layout artist, and the marketing consultant.

I hope that my thirty plus years as an editor qualifies me to check off the requirement for the #1 professional, the editor. But knowing that we are often blind to our own mistakes (it’s a little like the doctor who treats himself having a fool for a patient), I have two others proofing the manuscript. No word from them yet. Are they finding scads of typos and grammatical blunders? I’m biting my nails.

After a couple of false starts looking for professional #2, the cover designer and #3 the book layout artist, I had a eureka moment. I remembered Julia Gecha, (Julia.Gecha@gmail.com) a book designer with whom I worked seventeen years ago. Lucky for me (though not for her), she had recently been laid off and is now a free-lancer.

We met at Barnes & Noble, examined each other’s wrinkles, declared the footprints of time on our faces not to be so pronounced as to make us unrecognizable to each other, and sat down to discuss the project.

Julia is a doer and has even taken the initiative to contact CeateSpace (www.createspace.com) for clarification on some design and production points. Within a couple of weeks, Julia had samples of a stellar interior design and will soon start work on the cover.

Although she hasn’t done the production work on a self-publishing project before (and didn’t at first understand that I wanted her to take it on for “Bowing”), she has waded right in. She will thus be taking on the formatting and layout as well the design work. And I’m sloshing along behind her, learning by doing.

Now I’d better scurry and finalize the art package—the photos and scanned documents—and apply the last tweaks to the manuscript when the proofreaders return it.

Books by the fall? Could be. Might make a good Christmas gift.

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