Progress Report 2: Lost Girls Publishing

Team meeting: September 13, 2013

Project Status
Text has been copied into InDesign (74 pages at 8.5×11”) without any design elements. Issues: we noticed hard returns/line breaks had to be manually deleted so this process took 3 days (thanks to novice design skills). We were flowing text page by page (thanks to average design skills) until John pointed out we could flow all text at once and create a style sheet for increased efficiency (we developed a style sheet to automate chapter title headers and page breaks etc.)

Using John’s recommendation we also changed the file format: instead of one InDesign document we broke it into individual InDesign documents by chapter, to avoid errors on a large scale and be able to work on different sections of the book simultaneously. Once finished we’ll merge the files together as a book. John advised that when we export to HTML we may get an “okay style sheet” but will have to create a new one using TexWrangler to develop the epub.

Accomplishments to date:
Corrected formatting issues, established book size, font size, spacing, margins, typeface,  and a draft concept for promotional page (copy only)

Issues, (attempted) resolutions and questions that have come up so far:

Cover
Hard cover. We’ll offset PPB costs of the hard cover by soliciting local/community artwork (rather than paying for stock subscriptions or licensed works). We’ll be creating an actual hard cover for the presentation (ideas include resurfacing an existing hard cover from a second hand bookstore or crafting/hand-sewing it from scratch – Amanda, you’re alone on this one).

This book will be part of a new addition of classic literature as a box set. We still need to decide whether it will have a vintage or modern look. Considerations: Will they be collection pieces? Something to pass down to generations?

Size
We’re deliberating the dimensions of the novel. We Googled standard hard cover sizes and found 6”x9” to be the smallest standard. We considered that going larger may make our book too large to be shelved in certain stores/libraries.

 Font
A serif font, Minion Pro (subject to change), 12 point for accessibility, full justification for better layout of long-form text.

Chapter Breaks
Chapters will begin at half page for a clearer page break/better readability.

Paragraph Style
We were torn between incorporating one line returns between paragraphs or going without and indicating paragraph starts with indentation instead. We decided on the latter since the visual impact (breaking up the text) would be less intrusive to the reader/allow for better flow.

In an attempt to find an efficient way to batch indent (which the text file nor InDesign didn’t allow) we decided to imported the text into Word (sorry John) and changed indentation with the ruler. We then repasted the text into InDesign. Because of this it needs a thorough proofread in layout. We later learned that in fact there is a more efficient way using TextWrangler – John showed us a command to remove line breaks. InDesign does it’s own line spacing so we also had to delete the line between paragraphs.

Pagination
We’ve decided to insert page numbers on the centre of the margins.

Image Selection
Can images be taken off Google for this academic purpose? Yes (says John) however in keeping with our theme of using text from the “public domain” we’ll be sourcing images with a creative license.

Linguistic tags (square brackets) – about a dozen of them appear in the original manuscript to explain outdated language. We find them intrusive and are trying to figure out whether to include footnotes or endnotes. We need to decide what’s more important: design or readability? By sending the reader to the back of the book we might distract them/or make them forfeit the task entirely with this extra step. We’ve decided to use a footnote (left justified, divided from main text with a bar), and evaluate it’s presence once we see the formatted layout. In the epub edition we’ll link the words to an online definition that we’ll build on a personal webpage.

Logo deliberations
We’re worried that we’ve pigeon holed ourselves with our name, thinking consumers will assume our publishing company only features works of female authors? Lost Girls is an imprint for a larger publishing company; Lost Girls only focuses on the classic series we’re producing…we’ll be better able to define our brand when we lay out the series.

Mission/mandate & marketing
Our publication is a return to the classics. Our goal is to introduce young readers to classic works of literature.

We’re partnering with local colleges and universities to solicit artwork from design students. Goal is to acquire free artwork from students (one illustration per chapter) and in return students receive an academic credit plus a portfolio piece (we’ll give them a free digital copy) and exposure. Goal is two-fold: cost-efficiency and community development. We aim to develop a vested interest in the dying classics among generation Z (born after millennium generation) by having them contribute to the production of the books.

We’re also hoping this will generate community-driven sales by promising to donate a percentage of profits towards art school funding. If we stick to public domain works and obtain artwork from students we may be eligible for non-profit status and a government education grant, which would subsidize print and marketing costs.

[We’re considering incorporating the fact that Barrie donated royalties to a children’s hospital.]

Promotional webpage mock-up to follow.

 

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