Approve The Proof

Deadline: February 20th 2015

I hope you got some rest in. You've been working your tail off and with your proofs to the printer, you can relax for a week or so before your proofs come back. You'll need the rest, too, because you're probably going to freak out.

Receive Your Proofs

In part 10, we talked about whether to order physical or digital proofs. While digital proofs are somewhat useful, there's no substitute to seeing your book printed on the same machines that will be used to print the final copy.

I'll give you an example. When my proofs first came back something was clearly wrong. The page numbers were crisp and high-resolution but the comic images were terribly low resolution. I contacted the printer and discovered they have more than one type of printer. The machine my proofs were printed on is extremely good for traditional text-only books but does not handle graphics well. My contact told me not to worry, sending a second proof printed from a machine that handles graphics much more effectively. This is exactly the kind of scenario we're looking to resolve at this stage.

Make Last Minute Changes

Seeing your project physically can be quite a shock. The difference between how it looks on screen and on paper is striking. It's easy to feel like you need to change everything.

  • Text On The Edge - This mistake is very common for folks new to printing with bleeds. On screen, it looks like you have plenty of space but printed, your text is falling off the edge!
  • Color Differences - Your physical cover is going to look very different from how it looked on screen. It may actually be just fine but the difference will catch you off guard. Hopefully you ran a color check before now.
  • Printer Type - Certain machines are made for printing text quickly and cheaply and don't render image-heavy books like comics as well. Talk to your printer if your images look like they've lost quality.
  • Page Margins - Looking at your digital files can be misleading when it comes to how your images and text are placed on the page. Margins could look bigger or smaller in the finished piece.

Efficiency is key at this phase. Every time you re-send your document, it will cost you time and money. The printer will need to download, process, print and ship you another proof, which will take a few days, plus that's labor for them that they'll add to your final bill. Take your time, review your proof carefully.

Avoid making big changes. The time for that was earlier. An big change will come back with more surprises and cost you more rounds of proofs! Most of the things you see wrong at this phase are not a big deal. Panic is playing a big roll. You've already been through polish and proofreading. Your book is nearly perfect!

Focus on making small changes. Adjust gently. Fine tune.

Your baby bird is about to leave the nest, let it fly.

Export your delicately adjusted PDFs and send them back to the printer.

Send To Press

You have a choice to make, whether you want another round of proofs or not. Talk to your contact at the printer, there's actually a lot of options to save time and money. For instance, if most of the book is perfect but there's just one page that needs adjustments, your printer will likely be able to send you a new proof of just that page.

All of this is leading up to the big moment. Everything is in place. It's time to approve the proof and send your book to press. Your printer will need an official signature to say you approve the book as it is. Sign it and send it!

Receive Your Books

Printing takes quite a bit of time. Your printer should be able to give you an estimate. Watch for word that your books have been shipped. You probably want to be home on delivery day, it's a pretty big box for the UPS guy to leave on your doorstep.

You did it. You really did it.

Next Step: Initiate Celebration home

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