Blogging My Book: Climbing Design Mountain

It took six weeks and a day, but I got it done! Hooray!

And what is this “it” that I’m talking about? It’s the design of my book about nature in the city, and I finished it up to the point where the index will be added.

Tools of the Book Design Trade

For this project, I’m using two of three of the applications in Serif’s Affinity software suite. Affinity Publisher, you’ve been my learning curve challenge for the book design. Affinity Photo, you’ve been my go-to for editing my camera RAW files and enabling me to export them as the CMYK JPEG files that my book printer requires.

Affinity Designer, I know you’re feeling left out, but you work best for single-page projects. This book’s page count is rapidly approaching the triple digits, so I won’t be needing you quite yet. But, Affinity Designer, when it’s time to design a promotional poster for this book, I’ve got you on speed dial.

Lessons Learned

I’m old enough to remember when QuarkXPress ruled the publication design world. Quark annoyed many of us by insisting on the need to draw boxes for everything. Didn’t matter if it was text, an illustration, a graph, or a photo. If you wanted to place it in your layout, you had to draw a box first.

Well, guess what became the design standard for publication design programs? The “draw a box” standard, that’s what!

After spending six weeks and a day living with Affinity Publisher, I have grown rather fond of drawing boxes before placing photos or text. Those boxes have enabled me to rapidly build my largest-ever publication project.

Another hat tip goes to Affinity Publisher Master Pages. They’re layout templates that can be used and re-used in a publication design project, and let me tell you, that is a huge time saver.

The Limitations of Software

Now, let’s get back to that book index. You might be wondering why I wouldn’t just use Affinty Publisher to generate an index. Here’s my reason why: Human beings can catalog a book’s information in much greater detail than software.

Even better, a human indexer won’t be anywhere near as immersed in my book project as I am. At this point, a new perspective is precisely what I need. That’s why I just sent the designed version of the book to an experienced professional indexer.

After the indexer is finished, I will complete the book design and then send it back to my editor for a quality control check.

Yes, this is quite a process, but if you’ve read this far, know that my book has taken some big strides toward publication.

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