For this blog post, I will be detailing the process behind finishing the book and sending it off to print.
With the amount of information in this book, it was always going to require a rather amazing level of effort to make sure any mistakes were picked up on along the way. To this, I went to greater efforts than I had done with any other project, asking more people to read it and spending longer myself looking through it.
A few days ago I asked my tutors to read through different sections of the book, and changes were suggested and then made. However, since then, more changes had been made, and I knew I would not feel comfortable if I had not proof-read every single word of the book. So this I did.
But, importantly, I knew that if I read it, especially after spending the last month putting it together, my brain might skip errors subconsciously due to familiarity with the content. So I asked someone to read through it with me and pick up on anything they did not understand or thought was wrong. This made the world of difference, as did their idea of reading sections out aloud to check the flow of the text was correct.
What issues were picked up?
- Contents page: Ophiuchus and Orion were placed the wrong way around, a mistake in the alphabetical order. This was fixed.
- Incorrect names: A couple of stars in the constellations needed altering, it’s easy to forget when there are so many to list.
- Dates: Some were in the American format, some British format. I chose the British format and wanted it consistent throughout.
- Text: Very minor kerning adjustments made. Hyphens added where necessary as well as adding hair spaces where required.
- Re-wording: Some sections of text were optimised to read better.
- Typos: Only a couple were found, so these needed fixing.
I was disappointed that so many issues were found in this stage of the project, but relieved they were found.
Something I had also noticed during the proof-reading was how the illustration for Ophiuchus had a mistake in the blending process, with a couple of bright patches that stood out. This was very annoying, and took quite a bit of time to fix, but it needed doing. The fixed version can be seen below.
I then progressed onto the star chart pages, ensuring that all the constellation names were positioned correctly. I made a few changes to make sure space was best utilised and added a couple of missing names. Now I could say that the book’s pages were complete.
Due to the fact that I did not like the aesthetic of the contents page with the black translucent box positioned behind the text to ensure it remained readable, I decided to edit the image, making it dark enough not to need the box.
I am very pleased with the end result, and it is a good improvement.
I also made some adjustments to the cover of the book to ensure everything was correctly aligned. The areas that needed the most work was the spine, as well as the images on the back cover.
Sending off to print
With everything in place, I decided to upload the book to Blurb. The first step was to check the book’s settings were correct.
After that, I clicked the Upload Book button and let Blurb’s preflight process take over. I was confident that everything would be alright, and no serious problems were found, but it did flag up an advisory message about the quality of an image being too low at 96dpi, meaning it would not print well.
The problematic image was a grainy one of Neptune’s rings as taken by Voyager 2. Because it was an image of poor quality anyway, I had failed noticed the low dpi. It was a simple case of searching around to see if I could find a better image of Neptune’s rings. Thankfully, there was another image, and this was used as a replacement.
It was important that I changed the credit as well on the final page as that was slightly different, and I wanted the right people to be credited, as it was NASA/Voyager 2 Team instead of NASA/JPL.
After that, I ran the preflight process which came back stating there were no serious errors or advisories, so I checked the PDF files that had been created by Blurb during this process, and once I was pleased that all was well, I went on to complete the ordering process. I didn’t take any screenshots as it contained a myriad number of personal details etc. but it went very well.
Conclusion & Reflection
I am very relieved that this book has finally been proof-read and sent off to print, after all the late changes and refinements that have been made, I was starting to wonder if it ever would be finished, a bit like the La Sagrada Família cathedral in Spain!