Thursday, November 12, 2009

Using Lightning Source

I was very fortunate to have a friend with a master's degree in publishing who helped me get my first book done. The book was pretty design intensive, as you can see from the sample page, and I knew I was making a thousand amateur errors as I tried to set the text myself.

When Audrey Coulthurst took over the project, she instantly changed the font, as my Comic Sans was way too common and unprofessional, and fixed all the margins. She also adhered to many small rules about placement, eyelines, balance, and line length that I could not even fathom.

But most importantly, she shepherded my book through the submission to Lightning Source. Without her, I would certainly have given up.

Audrey made the books with InDesign, which is the standard program for graphic designers. And generated the PDFs for the book using the template Lightning Source had sent. The interior pages went through on the first try.

The cover was a different story. First they insisted we use their template even though we had set the InDesign files to match the specs exactly. They rejected it. Then we forgot to use the precise Adobe setting for PDF they has asked for, so they kicked it back again.

We were very stressed out at this point, as if we didn't have books in time for the Texas Book Festival, I would have bought a spot there without any way to recoup the cost. We also feared the blacks were too rich, and if we got rejected again, as slow as the process had become, we wouldn't make it.

Once we knew we had the template correct we brought the cover into Photoshop and followed their instructions to the letter for setting the density of the blacks. We uploaded it a third time and crossed our fingers on the blacks. We knew it wasn't going to look perfect, as altering the density had created a ghosting effect between the flat black of the background and the black of the photograph. But we had to get it done.

And the cover was accepted.

Things moved very quickly from that point. I had a proof within a few days and felt the ghosting was minimal -- close enough. I instantly ordered 100 books to cover the book signings we had planned. Very quickly, the book was listed in Ingram, and a few days later, the book hit Amazon.

We had done it.


Links from this post:

Lightning Source
Lightning Source File Creation Guide

No comments:

Post a Comment