Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Printer’s Proofs Arrive

The proof of the cover arrived on Thursday (2 Aug)! And posed an intriguing mystery. I measured the cover carefully. The crop marks were exactly the right separation, with the exception of the spine. The printer’s website has a neat spine-width calculator, and the spine worked out to 15.44 mm wide. So I carefully built the cover to this precise dimension. To my extreme surprise, the crop-marks for the spine on my proof were exactly 16mm apart. Yet the original file was narrower. Had they edited the cover, adding an extra 0.56mm to the left-hand side? And would I get billed for that? Whatever would they have done had I put a picture or texture up to the edge of the file? The simple answer turned out to be that the crop-mark at the extreme left-hand side was only about 2.5mm from the edge. They had obviously moved the crop marks over by the difference: 0.56mm

So why provide a tool on their website which gives a misleading figure? They state that I should allow a ±10% tolerance for the spine to allow for ‘swelling’ of the paper. Was this the reason? I have a ‘hard’ edge to the cover. That is to say the front cover is an illustration and the spine is plain yellow. They are going to have to align the cover along that edge. Sure enough, the crop mark for the left-hand edge of the front cover lines up exactly along this edge. So far so good. I suppose everything to the left of this is purely notional, as the precise place where the cover will be folded will depend on the humidity at the time they print it off.

My cover photo is so engaging that I opted to put it on the spine, so that the book screams out at you to pick it up off the shelves of a bookshop. I left a 1mm gap on each side to allow for some variation in the press. But, with the crop marks where they are now, the gap on the left-hand side is bigger by 0.56mm. With the effect that the image on the spine is off centre. Funnily enough, the logo and spine lettering is dead centre with the wider spine. I must have had it slightly out when I created the spine. Well that’s a blessing!

It’s completely academic, anyway. The proof approval form clearly states that any alterations would require submitting replacement files and incur a £100 ‘re-processing’ charge. It looks as though I’m going to hope for the best about the alignment of the cover image on the spine. That £100 fee kaiboshed any thoughts about correcting another niggle. The night before I’d found a typo in the text. A missing ‘a’. I had been busily re-proofing the text to see if there were other errors, and haven’t found one yet, thankfully. Although I have noted a few places where I might want to re-word it ever so slightly. But if getting it ABSOLUTELY right is going to cost me time and money, I think I’m going to have to let it drop. At £100, it would have been the most expensive ‘a’ in the history of publishing! Perhaps I should have a competition to find the typo? Or the one error in the plot sequence?

So why bother about a missing letter ‘a’ and an extra 0.56mm? Funnily enough, if the rest of the book is pixel perfect, even the smallest error seems to stand out more clearly. Still, another milestone in my book’s journey into the bookshops has just been passed.

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