Wednesday, June 19, 2019

manuscript: compiled!

I don't have a title for my movie-review book yet, but as of last night, I finished compiling the various files. The final count is well under my anticipated 350. In fact, it's under my previously estimated pre-final count of 300: it's only 282, but that's still a truckload of files. Among the reviews were some book reviews, my silly post about meeting Joe McPherson, and a few other non-movie-related files. Having thought the matter through today, I'll be ditching all of those from the manuscript to focus exclusively on movie reviews.

Each MS Word file contains a single review. Each review is from one to several pages long when printed out. All told, we're looking at around a thousand pages of printed material. That's a lot of verbiage to put together into a single book, and caution is in order. I learned my lesson, after putting together Water from a Skull during the 2005-2006 period, about making gigantic MS Word files: it doesn't work. You can't just combine everything into a single file. Word gets wonky when a document bloats up to larger than the size of an undergrad research paper. Scrolling back and forth along the document becomes a chore as the scrolling animation gets slow and jittery. Lines of text at the bottom of the page will simply disappear, and the text will stay disappeared when you try converting the Word doc to PDF. That's highly frustrating. The workaround, as I discovered, is to manipulate your Word document in smallish batches, never more than about 20-30 pages. Convert those small batches to PDF, being mindful of your page dimensions and page numbering, then use your PDF suite to stitch the batches into one gigantic document. This strategy is going to work fine, I think, for my current book—at least for the dead-tree version. The e-book is a different story, as it has to be converted to the Kindle format by—you guessed it—creating a giant MS Word file. I'm not looking forward to that, and I anticipate some major problems.

But perhaps those problems won't be a problem now: I was using 2005-era computer technology back when I wrote Water from a Skull, and my faithful laptop dates to about 2011—six years and several operating systems later. With increased processing power and better(?) software, I might have less of a problem with glitches this time around. We'll see.

Anyway, here's what's left to do:

1. delete the files I've deemed irrelevant (mentioned above)
2. take a close look at the older files (especially before 2010) and decide either to chuck the ones with poor-quality prose or to spruce them up with some strategic proofing and editing
3. italicize all movie titles and delete all quotation marks (I use the quote style on my blog but switch to the more formal and proper italics for publishing purposes)
4. comb through all 200-some files and ruthlessly proof/edit the shit out of them
5. remove all hyperlinks and replace with text references (URLs in footnotes and such)
6. remove any quirky references to other reviews and/or inside jokes that make sense to the blog audience but not to the general public
7. finalize what page format I'll be using
8. create hand-drawn illustrations for each review (for copyright reasons, I can't use pics)
9. generate front matter and maybe several tables of contents that organize the articles via "alpha by title," date of release, etc.
10. create PDFs that conform to my selected page size
11. create cover designs for the front, back, and spine
12. print out some experimental copies at a local printer in Seoul as proof of concept
13. upload everything to Amazon CreateSpace, with ISBN either provided by Amazon or purchased from Bowker
14. figure out how the hell I'm going to take the same ms and make an e-book out of it.

Yeesh. All this by the end of 2019 (and there are steps missing from the above process).

Wish me luck.


John Mac said...

Damn, and a full-time job on top of all that. I admire your dedication and energy level. Just reading about what you have left to do made me tired. Luckily I'm retired and don't have to go to work today!

Good luck!

Kevin Kim said...

You're like a car: tired and re-tired.

Luckily, step 1 won't be difficult. I'll likely do that one tonight.