Category Archives: InDesign

The Man Who Designed Books

I REMEMBERED, WHILE compiling a big list of production managers, small press owners, and anybody else I could think of who might need my services, that they always ask for samples, and it always takes hours to figure out just what they want and which things to send. If they specialize in how-to for sports-loving arthropods, I wonder if the self-help for anxious cetaceans I did will be quite the right thing to send, and I notice, while browsing EXO-STRIKE! An Invertebrate’s Guide to Bowling (in order to familiarize myself with the publisher), that it contains a lot of diagrams; there are none in my design for EASY ECHOLOCATION: Mackerel Without Worry.
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Filed under Anthologies, Arts, Books, Design and production, Divorce, ebook production, Employment, Fiction, Freelancing, Humor, InDesign, Kids, My writing, Other people's writing, Poetry, Self-promotion, Senseless Acts, Short stories, Whatever

4 bike thoughts during a break

I STILL CAN’T ADJUST a drivetrain, but it’s no longer because I believe my dad, who told me I’m no good at anything mechanical. Now I understand better. I’m good and fast at typesetting, for example, which is a tricky thing I won’t be good and fast at next year if I don’t do it every day. I’m still learning things about body copy, and I’ve been setting it for years. I’ve barely learned anything about drivetrains after a few dozen sincere but sporadic stabs at adjustment.
PEOPLE APPARENTLY HAVE the capacity for being uplifted and burgeoned by a gorgeous sunset over a mountain pass. I look at the sunset dutifully and sometimes try to get my burgeon on, but I’m disappointed in myself. I don’t have that. I just have knowing it’s where I should be, and putting a check in that box: Where I should be. The check feels like approval. A good review I don’t need you for.
MY ROAD BIKE has a broken spoke so the brake rubs, even with its release lever open, and my folding bike is still in the suitcase that took it to Los Angeles and back, because it needs a new derailleur hanger before I should bother putting it back together, but I wrote today.
LEARNING HOW RANDONNEURS relate to each other has given me perspective on life off the bike. There’s a hierarchy that you can ignore without anyone thinking less of you, but if you try to insert yourself into it and you figure your level wrong, then you live with that. Acting like you’re still something you used to be is poison unless they know about the injury. If they don’t, you’re an awkward problem. That one’s lost. Don’t try to chase it into a win. Shut your mouth, heal up, ride a lot. Let them come back to you, if they’re coming, which they may never do. Oh well. Just put your check marks in your boxes.
I FINISHED HALF of today’s work list, delivered a couple of proofs, and just thought I’d enjoy mentioning those things before the second half of the climb. Have a good ride. Check.



Filed under Bicycling, Design and production, ebook production, Employment, Favorite, InDesign, Randonneuring, Senseless Acts

Two things I designed recently, and the kind of clients I’m looking for

I also posted this at the TYPEFLOW blog.

Books come from authors. Directories come from databases. Both have their quirks. Databases drink less.

I wasn’t sure whether talking about directories here would make me seem less like a book person, but the truth is, I love both. For either, my job comes down to transformation: A novel is transformed from an ugly, unhelpful Word file into something like fine art; a directory is blobs of raw data refined into attractive, functional listings.

Typeflow does both. Here are some examples:

(Click to see a bigger version that you can zoom in on.)

Directory and book interiors
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Filed under Books, Design and production, ebook production, InDesign, Self-promotion

Reformatting a brevet cue sheet—a work in progress

THIS IS A work in progress that I only started because I wanted it, but if you’re a randonneur who wants to use it (or a randonneur who thinks something should be different, or an InDesign person who knows a trick I missed, or an Excel person who could let people do this easily without leaving Excel), please comment! Continue reading


Filed under Bicycling, InDesign, Randonneuring, RegEx and GREP

How to find a terrific InDesign production expert within 15 miles of Inwood, NYC

I USED TO do this thing where I had a roster of freelance clients (and the feast or famine that came with them), and along with that, I’d also take a long-term, part-time graphics job that didn’t get in the way of the feast and filled in the gaps during the famine.

My company, TYPEFLOW (I’m the only one here), has been doing production of trade show directories, books, and other long documents for a long time now, and in 2011, my book and ebook business absolutely took off. I mean, like, through the roof. Like busy.

Things finally took a breather this month, and I found myself drumming my fingers, looking at the economy improving, and thinking about that old system.

I want to get that going again. I liked it. It worked.

IN EXCHANGE FOR being my perfect situation, you’ll get an intelligent and highly skilled InDesign production person a few days a week—for the same price as that guy the agency sent. You know, the one you didn’t ask back.

When I’m not being a totally terrific production expert (yet charmingly humble), I’m a writer and long-distance cyclist, both of which I take seriously. I also take my seven-year-old twins seriously—though not so much when I’m holding them upside-down and tickling them. Still, they’re why I’m not interested in weekends.

So what I’m looking for is:

  • steady, with a predictable schedule,
  • 20ish hours per week,
  • no weekends,
  • within about 15 miles of Northern Manhattan,
  • where they don’t mind me showing up on a bicycle
    and have somewhere I can put it (it’s a folding bike),
  • and they need a skilled, professional production artist.
  • Oh, and aren’t a large bank, pharmaceutical corporation, or tobacco company. Sorry. I’m sure you’re nice people.

I understand you may need me to stay a little extra sometimes; you understand I may need to switch hours around sometimes.

What are you looking for? Drop me a line: noteon at mac dot com.

THE 15-MILE THING lets me get my riding in. Here’s a map showing the approximate area. (Click for a larger version.)

Commuting area to ideal job

That might look like too wide an area for a bike commute, but for perspective: Most days, I strap my laptop to my bike and ride to various Starbucks at the far edges of that oval, where I sit and work on freelance jobs. It’s my already-existing commuting area.

Resume: Lots of years of Adobe Creative Suite; know InDesign better than most people who get paid to use it; former Quark guru, now glad it’s dead. Very experienced in print and ebooks. HTML and CSS experience, but not that interested in web design, though I do enjoy working with web designers to create assets for sites. Lots of production-efficiency tricks; fast and accurate.

Samples: Please email me and tell me what you do there, so I know what samples to send: noteon at mac dot com.

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Filed under Bicycling, Employment, Fatherhood, Favorite, InDesign, Inwood, Whatever

Quickly styling Word files for InDesign import

Dear eleven people who expect bicycles, novels, and six-year-old twins every time you get a “new entry” notification: This one’s for my fellow InDesign geeks from the #eprdctn Twitter group. You’re welcome to sit through it; just try not to let me see you sneak out during the presentation. It hurts my feelings.

The issue of quickly styling Word files to get them into InDesign came up during @bookdesigngirl’s #eprdctn roundtable this week. The word “nightmare” was used, since nobody ever knows what an author is going to do in a Word file. (Or anywhere else, but that’s a different therapy session.)

Since quick manual Word styling is part of the workflow I had to come up with to get around stubbornly uncooperative IT people who won’t export data in a usable form, I went oo! oo! oo! I know! I know! during the roundtable, and a couple of people said they wanted to know too. So I made two videos. The first shows what you do in Word; the second shows what you do in InDesign. They’re quick-and-dirty because I’m on deadline today. So naturally it was the perfect moment to make how-to videos.

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Filed under Design and production, InDesign, Production tricks, Word