I got the digital proof of the cover and the blue line for the content of the novel on Friday morning!
Things are looking good so far on the cover, though the author name is a little dark so I've tweaked it so it stands out a little better. :)
The blue line (if you don't know what this is, it's the ammonia-ink rough that basically sequences your desired print in the order the printers plan to bind it; you need to make sure everything is properly sequenced and ordered when you go through a blue line) made me learn a couple of things. (Remember, this is my first novel, so this is all a learning process for me!)
First of all, an even bleed looks not-so-great after all. It's a personal preference issue, too, but I realise I personally prefer a margin that's slightly wider at the top than the sides and bottom.
Second, the chapter titles look weird if they are too close to the same font size as the rest of the book.
Third, repeated single words that get stranded (not on pages, so they're not really widows or orphans) do look really bad after all. Or rather, they are more distracting, aesthetically speaking, than I thought possible. I didn't bother with the first formatting of the novel because it's 600 pages, but after viewing the blue line, I realised the time was worth it in the long run.
And finally, size 11 font is nice and easy to read, but makes the gaps at the end of lines look needlessly humongous.
So after some serious deliberating - I was so tempted to just ignore the issues and go ahead with the print - I realised there was no getting around the fact that I was just not really that happy with how the book was looking in the blue line.
And so, for several hours, I sat down and reformatted the entire book again. I reduced the font pt slightly, increased the top margin a small amount, hunted down all the single words that broke off from a paragraph in a distracting manner and increased the size of the chapter title.
The result: I've gone from 612 pages to 578, which is 580 pages for a perfect bound book (so I have 2 blank pages at the end). And I'm much happier with how this one will look, I think.
The printers have been flexible and have said they will do me another blue line with the new specifications, so that's good news. I do apologise however as this will delay the printers a week or so. But I am pretty certain that this will make the book a lot better-looking in print!
At the latest I think the printers will get the books done second week of June, if not the first. We'll see how things go!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!