Sunday, August 19, 2007


Friday, August 17, 2007 - 9:55am

I opened the door before he had a chance to knock. I had been waiting for him. And I heard his truck grind to a stop in front of my house.

He was slightly startled when I appeared on the porch. I smiled at him, "I guess you didn't know I was waiting for you." That remark flustered him speechless. He quickly handed off a package to me and thrust his hand-held for me to sign.

I scurried back into my room and placed the package on my bed. Even though I was anxious to open it, I didn't. This was a monumentous occasion. And I had decided the day before that I would not look at it at home. So I quickly pulled myself together - just enough for public toleration - and with package and one set of wet proofs in hand, headed off to one of my frequently frequented Starbucks®.

These days it's fun to look at all things book in a public venue because I get to feel the curious eyes ogling my wares and hear the wheels turning in their brains as they try to figure out what the heck I'm doing. So far I've had my full size double=spread sheets out, either showing someone I'm meeting or looking through them when I was making corrections. On one such occasion, I was at one table showing the wet proofs to a friend of mine and Scott was several tables over with another set of wet proofs checking for more typos.

But on Friday it was just me. I had a set of wet proofs with me but what I focused on this time was what was in the package. The final ozalid from the printers.

The Front Cover

The final ozalid is the complete book printed out just as it will be in the final book, the pages printed on both sides and each form stapled together the same way they will be sewn together and bound into the hardcover. And, as you can see, the ozalid is blue. The ozalid is the last thing I look at and approve before the printer runs the real sheets and binds the books. The oxalid is also the first time I get to turn each page and see the book in order.

There they were. Page after page after page. All my sweet musicians coming to life after seven and a half months of solid labor. I wasn't expecting what happened next but at the same time I wasn't surprised.

I cried.

Even though the ozalid is blue and funky looking, it was still my baby[ies]. And it/they were beautiful. I looked through it three or four times. I made sure all the pages were where they belonged. I checked all the page numbers. I made sure the pictures hadn't moved and none of the captions had disappeared. What I didn't do was read the text. I knew if I read it I would find something I wanted to change. Every writer would. It's just the nature of the beast. And making a change at this point would take the book out of its printing rotation and delay my delivery by at least a week. That would be the kiss of death. Besides, I know nothing is perfect and I will be proud of every imperfection that rears it's ugly head...I will embrace every typo that got away and I will relish each and every grammatical mistake...then I'll fix them all before the second printing. (God I hope there's a second printing).

This is the inside cover that is laminated to the hard casing.

This shows all the parts of the jacket that will have a UV spot gloss.
The black background on the jacket will have a matte finish.

The forms. There are 16 pages per form and 13 forms in all.

The first two pages of Michael Bloomfield's section.

After the fourth check to make sure my baby had all its fingers and toes, I called the printers and said, "PRINT!!!! PRINT!!!! PRINT!!!!" As you read this, the pages are most likely running through the press. That's 2,080,000 pages. 4,160,000 pictures.

The next package that arrives on my doorstep will be a box of advance copies... the first time I will see the finished book. I hope they include a box of Kleenex.


Brett said...

But WHY?


Congrats otherwise.


Chesher Cat said...

'Cause the machine they run them on makes them blue. They are like blueprints, and used to be called bluelines.

It's a cheap way to show how the book paginates before it's printed, in case they screw up.

That being said, it was a trick question, wasn't it, Brett?