1. Confuse your designer with wrong file names, duplicate names, and missing files.
• Betty sent me her book files. She said her manuscript was copy edited and ready for layout. However, after downloading all the attachments, I immediately noticed that she had two files named Chapter 8—and six more chapters that also had duplicate names. Which files were right?
• Betty did not send all of the files; an entire block was missing. Where were chapters 21-32?
• After the layout was completed, Betty sent revised chapter files, each with an incorrect file name, with these instructions: “Replace Chapter 30, named Ch. 31; and replace Ch. 33 named Ch. 34.” What?!
2. Confuse your designer by setting up a Dropbox folder and forgetting to send an invite.
• Don said his manuscript was copy edited and ready for layout. His manuscript had twenty-six chapters. I expected changes after the layout was completed.
• Changes indeed—a total re-do of his book (a second layout revised to fifteen chapters)! I asked Don to move the old files out of the Dropbox so I would not be confused. Instead, he sent me a link to a new Dropbox folder.
• More changes followed after the second layout. This time, Don forgot to send me an invite to another new folder with the corrections. I never got the invite. This was a case of unclear communication and not knowing how to work in Dropbox.
3. Confuse your designer by not using Acrobat’s mark-up tools.
Please don’t give me a Word doc with your changes — it can be hard to find and understand where the edits should be in my InDesign file. Example: “Ch. 3, p. 26, paragraph 4, sentence 4— Delete second his.” Huh?
• This is what I call hunting and pecking; plus, it takes twice as long to figure it out.
• A marked-up pdf visually shows me where the changes are (shown in the Comments List) and I can add a checkmark after fixing each edit.
• View an online tutorial, such as “How to mark up text quickly and easily,” and learn Acrobat’s tools. As an author, you need to understand and be able to use the tools of your trade. You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to be understandable.
Confusion can lead to frustration on the part of the designer and additional fees for the author. That’s why I’m venting. Bottom line: Be organized, be clear, and don’t confuse your designer. Thanks for listening.
Note: Both of these authors said their manuscripts were copy edited and ready for layout. Really?! I don’t think so, based on the number of edits and alterations. It’s costly for authors who keep making changes. (I charge per hour after the first layout has been submitted for review.)
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