The flattened transparency dilemma

So, last week I started a post about the process of putting together a book for publication, but only got about halfway through when I had to quit because everyone knows the Internet’s attention span doesn’t last very long and I was already way over that limit.

Unravelled_kápa_netI had hoped that by this stage my book would have been released from its cocoon and already be making the rounds among my small circle of readers, but alas – I had not factored in the endless little problems that can arise in the building of a book. Little piddly technical stuff, like margins, and indents, and paragraph styles, and cover sizes, and how these and myriad other things behave when converted to the different platforms that now, with the advent of all things digital, make up the publishing universe.

So this is where we are at: the two eBook formats, for Kindle and other eReaders, respectively, are all coded, set up and ready to go. Technically I could release those right now, but I’d rather wait until the printed book is ready and release them all at the same time because, well, it’s more fun. I think.

The printed book, on the other hand, is proving to be a bit more of a headache. Because I am dealing with a book producer, for lack of a better term, that exists in a different country and has a million other customers, getting answers and feedback is proving to be a bit of a challenge. Right now, the final little snag relates to the cover of the book [see above – the front, anyway], which we have created ourselves [well, ok, EPI created it, but I provided the entertainment and supplied snacks, not to mention hung over his shoulder and had an opinion on everything] and uploaded to the CreateSpace site. We now keep getting a message back that the cover “contains transparency” [whatever that means – all you brilliant designer people and InDesign whizzes will no doubt know, and EPI knows – but I don’t] that will be flattened in the printing process and therefore result in a “slight change in appearance”.

Naturally, being the perfectionist that I am, that’s just not acceptable. I mean, we went to a lot of trouble to get that appearance. I’ll be damned if I’ll have it flattened. No. I want to know what exactly is causing the problem. Where exactly is this transparency? What exactly will end up flat?

The trouble is, EPI has no idea what transparency they’re referring to. He made sure there wasn’t any transparency. Then he went back and double-checked. “No transparency,” he says. Meanwhile, the lovely polite service reps who work at CreateSpace and have names like Cebisa, Jerson and, um, Lauren, obviously have no idea where this transparency is, either, nor what it will look like flattened. Consequently they “need to do some more research” and will be “connecting with our Technical Services team in order to get the best answer”, and will be getting back to me within two business days, and are extremely grateful for my patience while they work on resolving this issue.

So that’s where it’s at.

BUT as soon as they have the best answer and instruct us as to what partiular transparency is causing the problem, we will either a) fix the file, upload it again, wait for it to be reviewed [that takes 24 hours or so], and cross our fingers that it’s perfect, or b) decide the flattened transparency is not that much of a deal and just press PUBLISH.

Once that’s done, the printed book will be available in the CreateSpace store, and also across all Amazon channels. That means Amazon.com, obviously, but also .co.uk, .de, .fr, .it, and .es.

The eBook, meanwhile, will be available on the Kindle platform [via Amazon], and also for eReaders that are not Kindle or iPad/iPhone [via eJunkie, like my other books].

And don’t worry: I will post links. Here, and on all my social media channels, and basically everywhere and anywhere I can.

One more thing. Someone asked me if the book would be available for pre-order on Amazon. It won’t. I could have done that, but decided against it, since apparently Amazon takes a very sizeable chunk of royalties for pre-orders – more than they usually do. As far as I can ascertain, pre-orders are a good idea for authors who expect to sell quite a lot of copies of their book. The numbers begin to stack up during the pre-order phase, and then when the book is released, they all flood onto the market, so to speak, which will – in the best of all possible worlds – drive the book up the bestseller lists. I, however, wouldn’t dare presume that my humble little book will sell enough copies to make that worthwhile for me, so I’m just going to release it the regular old way. [Which is actually neither regular, or old, because very few things about publishing these days are “regular” or “old”.]

But one way or another, a book will be born, and it will be soon!

NB. To those of you who have been coming here for the metaphysics and emotional recovery stuff … please bear with me, we shall return to our regular programming soon!

PS – in the last post I said I’d write about distribution, ISBN, pricing and suchlike. However, that post received very little attention, so maybe nobody really cares. If you ARE interested in this, let me know and I’ll write something. Otherwise, I’ll just skip it.

Posted in Publishing, Writing.

5 Comments

  1. Alda–go to the Adobe website and look at the FAQs and information about the different elements of PhotoShop. Transparency has to do with the layering of images and how much of the lower images come through to the top, where you see the collective product. It’s pretty informative. I’ve been working my way through the manual PhotoShop stuff over the last few weeks, and it’s pretty cool what you can do. Tilhamingju með bókina!

  2. Hi Alda

    Maybe there is no transparency issue and EPI is correct.
    They could have this wrong. Anyway, couldn’t they let you see
    what the ‘flattened’ cover would look like? Then you could
    better decide what to do.

    On the PS, I for one am interested, though you’d want a bigger
    audience than one person, so I hope others show interest in this too.

  3. on the PS: I am also interested. That is two people now. 😉 Over the years it has been very interesting to hear about your efforts on how to make a living as a writer in the world today. From blogs to books and everything in between. It is easy as a reader to forget how the book arrives on the shelf – both physical and virtual – or that blog writers aren’t paid to sit around and write. Thanks for your keen insight, honesty and humor as you take us along on your journey. Of course, when you mention Iceland that is quite nice too.

  4. Alda, I’m also interested. I meant to comment on your last post but must have been distracted. I’m going through this same process with our ‘Tales of Iceland’ book. You’re several steps ahead of us with the formatting, etc, so it’s been helpful. So make that at least 3 people 🙂

    I’d be curious about your experience w/ CreateSpace formatting (not cover, but inside book formatting), and any advice or feedback on the quality of the books they print.

  5. Well you know what they say: three’s a crowd. 🙂 I’ll put something together, then.

    @Mark – I leave all the photoshop stuff to EPI since, well, I really have to prioritize in terms of time and I can’t learn everything. He assures me he’s left no loose ends in the cover and really can’t figure out what they’re talking about.

    @Kenn – that’s a lovely comment – thank you! I’m glad to have people like you along on this journey.

    @Matthew – so far my experience with CreateSpace has been great, save for this transparency cover issue. They make the interior really easy to format by providing templates in most standard size books. You download that, paste in your text, and voila! Super, super easy. The only thing I forgot was to justify the text before uploading, but happily I caught it in time. You can upload stuff as often as you want before you press publish, and they provide excellent preview features. As I mentioned somewhere (Facebook maybe?) I had a proof of the book sent to a friend in the US (it takes too long to get to Iceland) and he enthused at some length about the quality. I had heard the same thing from other people. So I feel pretty confident printing with them.

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