Book Design Is Work

I'm banging my head on the table asking myself why I ever undertook to produce a printed version of this blog. The truth is, I forgot what hard work book design is and how much time it takes. Not something one should undertake just for the sake of an experiment. The reason I forgot is that I haven't designed a book in two years and must have killed all the unhappy brain cells with Scotch in the interim.

For starters, I wanted to get the word count down to a manageable number so that the final book, complete with TOC and Index would come out under 300 pages. To that end, I already cut 26 of 164 blog posts, and I'm still at 94,000 words. I don't want to go to a bigger page size or a smaller font, but I'm not crazy about continuing to cut at random. What I just did was to print a numbered list of all the remaining posts, and I'm going to double check that those with similar titles aren't too repetitive. If that doesn't get the word count down under 80,000, I'll have to consider less reader-friendly design.

While I was fooling around in Word layout just trying to estimate the page count by formatting the standard page with the same margins and fonts I used in my last book, I got that horrible "forgot about that" feeling in my fingers. Just changing from ragged right to full justification forces the book designer to go through every page making sure that bulleted points and lists aren't stretched across the page. Then there's the whole learning curve for Office 2007, which doesn't look a bit like my old favorite, Office 97. After the basic text is wrestled into the final style and format, I'll have to decide whether to put the blog titles in the header. Under the old system, that would require well over 100 section breaks, which I'm not going to do, so maybe I'll go with the "Title - Subtitle" on facing pages.

I can't get over how bad my memory is! For some reason, I was thinking that it might be fun to knock out a book and get it printed for readers who want to save an inkjet cartridge. Now I'm too far into the process to quit, but I'll have to add it to the list of considerations of whether or not to publish a blog as a book. Publishing a blog as a book because the text is already written is about as dumb as going into the publishing business because you've written a book you can't get published. It's just too much work.

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