Professional book packagers would be aghast at the way I put together a book. Assemble material (photos and text) for over a year, store in file folders, then at certain point pull best material out and begin laying out a spread — 2 pp. at a time. Random, no order. No plan or outline, no idea how things will fit together; just here the requirement that shelters be under 500 sq. ft.
It’s a wild mix so far — about 40 pages roughed out — and the book has now got its first trace of a mojo workin.
Book starting to run through my mind all the time. I’ve read how novelists get into a thing where they (authors) are just transmitting what their characters are telling them. Or maybe it’s muses at work. It feels a bit like that now, a natural process, a seed growing. Exciting! This is the best part of my job, watching all this unfold.
Not only my disorganizedness, but method of layout would never fly with a grownup publisher. I do layout physically, adjusting size of photos on a Brother (DCP-9040CN) color copy machine, writing text as I go, printing out, taping photos/text down (using, can you believe it, #11 X-actos, a proportional wheel(!), and lift-uppable Scotch Tape — I see you InDesign-meisters shaking your heads). Other tools: coffee, sometimes ganja, blues, rocking country, reggae, or bluegrass on Sirius radio. Often I start out wondering how I’ll ever make sense of all these pix and lo and behold, things will fall together. Right now I’m in email touch with a bunch of contributors. Everyone loves the project.
Then David Wills, Shelter’s Senior Artist will come in and improve the design of each spread. Eventually they go to productionmeister Rick, who builds the book in InDesign/Photoshop. A lot of back-and-forth and refining goes on, it’s a long (and costly) process. But like organic strawberries, the result’s worth it.
I’ll show some of the layouts at my talk on the ½-acre homestead at SolFest on Sept. 25 if there’s time.