Side Project — Progress!

I have the photographic archive, and the process of sorting has begun! There are about three thousand photos, so my estimate of being able to get a quote for publishing costs by mid-January now seems a touch optimistic…

This is technically a joint project between myself and my father, though, so I’ve delegated some of the sorting to him. There are two reasons for this: Firstly, having two people doing the sorting will make it go more quickly. Secondly, my father knew my grandmother somewhat better than I did, and is thus better acquainted with the context of each poem in my grandmother’s life, so he’s in a slightly better position to match poems with suitable photos.

There’s one poem – a short, humorous piece that gently spoofs Tennyson – that is unlikely to have a suitable match in the photographic archive. I will therefore supply the picture for this poem myself; my artistic style leans very much towards the cartoonish rather than the realistic, so this is somewhat appropriate for the humorous nature of the poem in question.

Between the use of my grandmother’s own photographs (copyright: her estate) and my own illustration (copyright: me), one particular potential difficulty in the publishing process (gaining permission to use copyrighted material from a third party) is neatly side-stepped.

I’ve also started to give serious thought to the size of the initial print run. 100 copies is, I gather, fairly standard, but I have a feeling that this may not be enough; my grandmother had a large social circle, and many of the people within it are on the ‘list’ for a free copy. I intend to take any remaining copies with me to the London Book Fair, but to make this poetry collection a worthwhile part of my networking pitch, I’ll need at least 50 copies to hand out along with my business cards. The task of sorting through my grandmother’s address books is therefore of at least the same urgency as is the process of sorting the photographic archive.

The project is moving again, though, so I’m happy about that. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the festive season, and here’s to a good 2015!


Side Project — small update

My father has obtained my grandmother’s photographic archive, and says he’s found a few interestingly publishable items already. This is good. ^^

The week or so after Christmas is probably going to be spent looking through several hundred photographs, trying to narrow the selection down to fifteen to go into the collection. This is going to be interesting work.

If the picture selection process goes well, I should be able to contact YPS Publishing for an initial quote sometime in early-mid January. Things are moving!

Whichever midwinter-type festival you celebrate (or even if you don’t celebrate any at all), have fun and stay safe ^^


“[…] a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”

— Tyrion Lannister (Ch 5, A Game of Thrones (Book 1 of 7 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series))

I, personally, find a lot of truth in this analogy. I would also add that a poor-quality whetstone will not do its job so well as a good one; this is why editors and proofreaders have their jobs, and why these jobs are so important. A book with poor spelling, grammar and punctuation will not help to sharpen anyone’s mind, as they will have to expend more mental energy on trying to work out what the text is trying to say than on engaging with the ideas contained therein. Editors and proofreaders make the text as good as it can be (without interfering with the voice of the author) so that the reader can more easily interpret it and maintain their mind’s keen edge.

At risk of overextending the book/whetstone analogy, I will stop here.

Side Project – testing formats

As the title of this post suggests, I have not been idle while waiting for my grandmother’s photographic archive to become available.

I’ve been twiddling with the page format settings in my word processor in order to get an idea of how the collection might look in different formats; specifically, I have tried A5 and B6, which seemed to me to be the most suitable sizes for a small collection of poetry. In both cases I have followed the fairly standard style of having each new poem start on the next blank recto (right-hand page).

Using B6 format, the collection runs to 37 pages and has room for 14 pictures. Using A5 format, the page count is 34 pages, with room for 15 pictures. In this latter format, I have set the font at 11-point size rather than 12-point, in order to avoid the last line of the introduction becoming a widow. In both cases, the font used is Century Schoolbook L, which is readable and easy on the eyes. If the necessary front matter — a title page and a copyright page — is included, the page counts become 39 pages for the B6 format and 36 pages for the A5 format.

The appendices — the translation of the poem written in French, and the ‘If you liked this collection’ suggested donation page — are currently set to start on the next blank page, as they are adjuncts to the main collection. There is no point in using any type of cover other than basic softcover/cardstock for this collection, so it is quite possible that the ‘If you liked this collection’ page will be printed on the inside of the back cover, if such a course of action proves to be feasible.

I have also been hearing some very positive noises from my grandmother’s close friends who have received proof-of-concept copies of the collection; this is very encouraging! 😀

There’s about a week and a half to go until I can access the photographic archive and select pictures to illustrate the collection; next week’s post is therefore unlikely to have much news about this project.

Side Project – on hold

The side project’s on hold for a bit while I wait for my grandmother’s photographic/artistic archive to become available so I can select the best images to illustrate the collection.

I will not be entirely idle, though — I’ll be twiddling with the page format settings in my word processor to get a dry-run of how the collection will look if printed on different paper sizes (A5, B5, etc.). This seems like a good idea, since it should save time once I approach self-publishing services with the project.

In other news, I now have 126 LinkedIn connections, giving me a network containing over 4 million people. This gives me an interesting sense of perspective on the ‘seven degrees of separation’ idea…