Just so you don’t think the whole publishing process was all rainbows and unicorns, there was some good drama here at the end, and a bitter, knock-down drag-out with the publisher over the cover design. Guess who won.

I won’t go into the monumental level of frustration we’ve continually encountered in dealing with most of the folks at this publishing house, since they typically like to just shove everything into their boring, uninspired, yawn-inducing box, and we’re decidedly “out-of-the-box” (but not off-the-wall) people. I had to fight tooth-and-nail to get them to design the interior pages the way I wanted with the fonts I spec’d (They balked at Berthold Garamond BQ 12/16! It’s not like I spec’d something like Desdemona or Chop Phooey for godssakes!), but once I got them out of their comfort zone and they actually did it, they loved what I designed and they think the book looks beautiful.

But the incompetence and unprofessionalism over the cover design was truly draining:

• The way they insist on working is by developing a draft and then letting us make changes. So even though we had hired a publicist, they insisted on drafting the initial flap copy. Which sucked. And wasted the time of the lackey who spent time putting it together. It was summarily replaced by the copy we developed with our publicist.

• They designed a white spine with blue writing. I told them to reverse it and make it a blue spine with white writing.

• They picked three different shades of blue for the cover elements. I told them to settle on one and make it consistent. And for good measure, overnight me a printed copy, since my screen inevitably looks different from theirs.

• They introduced a condensed typeface that is used nowhere else in the project. I told them to kill it. Three separate times.

• They set up the layout of the back cover endorsements different from the way we did it inside the book. I told them I wanted it consistent and to fix it. They fixed it partially, and hoped it was okay. It wasn’t.

• The “jacket designer”—who was now reduced to taking my design instructions, put his name on the back flap for a credit. I asked to have it removed. He didn’t remove it. He then made the fatal error of sending an internal email to a colleague that included an insulting remark about “the authors.” The email inadvertently got forwarded to us. Jacket Designer, meet awakened Sleeping Giant. Angry emails and voicemails ensued. His name is no longer on the flap.

I whipped together a design sample in 15 minutes flat with everything exactly the way I wanted it, and I’m happy to say that they finally acquiesced. Last night we made our final tweak and this morning we approved it. Hey, NO ONE puts Baby in the corner! Phew. Merrily rejoicing that everything is now at the printer.

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