It is now a month since I fired the starting-pistol for publishing George Calderon: Edwardian Genius myself on 4 June 2018. Every writer I know assured me we could bring the book out in six months…but what they didn’t tell me was that it would be as unrelenting hard work as researching and writing the book!
(Having the flu at the time must also have affected my arithmetic: 4 June 2018, of course, is five months after the starting-pistol.)
The basic questions of format, margins, font, design etc took longer to decide than expected, because we had to calculate at each point how many pages in toto they would produce. The latter is important because (a) it affects printing costs, (b) I never wanted to publish a book longer than 500 pages, (c) I do want a page, font and font size that are easy on the eye. These issues were decided (format: Royal, margins: generous, font: Dante, design: unflorid), but it means that so far only a quarter of the book has been typeset. However, that should now speed up.
In addition, I now have an ISBN number (9781999967604), an experienced professional cover-designer (Ian Strathcarron please note!), and the first draft of the index terms (which have taken a week to compile). More about acquiring an ISBN number and doing your own index in future posts. The priority now is to weed and improve the index whilst keeping it a manageable length, and to finish typesetting the paginated text by 7 March so that I can then put the page numbers in the index and hand it to the typesetter.
An unexpected but very interesting question has arisen over the 25 illustrations. I had blithely assumed they would comprise two glossy tranches in the book as every proper biography has had from time immemorial. But this isn’t exactly that kind of biography… It was suggested to me that it would break up the wall-of-words effect and assist the reading of the book as a narrative if the illustrations were printed in the text as near as possible to their mention. I think this is worth considering (and it’ll be much cheaper). The printers are therefore going to produce a sixteen-page sample with a range of my photographs inset in text, to assess whether the quality on such paper would be good enough.
I expect protests from some readers.