Friday, May 1, 2015

Publishing Again - Yes Means No and No Means Yes

One special experience for me during the creation of the 40th Anniversary Book was when I met Dreena Rogers (center).  She is the longest standing member of AWA. Dreena was the driving force behind the Community Service Committee in the very beginning of AWA. This is an amazing woman.  You can read all about her in the book.  The books go on sale May 11 for 10BD at the AWA General Meeting.  Buy yours ASAP!  

I have always said that communication is the root of all evil.

The first thing I learned at the printing company was that the graphic artist I was working with, EA was going to be a communication challenge.

I will admit, foreign languages are not easy for me – never have been, ask my parents (High School French). And, understanding a different body language is even harder when it does not match my own body language.

This was my downfall.

I arrived with at the printer with my computer and an external 3 TB hard drive loaded down with AWA files.  What I did not realize was that the printing company did not make accommodations or have adaptors for US power cords.  Back I went to my flat to get the power cord adaptor.

Packing up to go to the printer. Why didn't I think to take my plug converter?
After returning and transferring the files to the EA’s computer, I asked, “Is there anything else you need from me right now?”

He answered with a negative head nod (US negative), “We have all your files.” He assured me he had all he needed. At least, I thought he was assuring me.

There were a couple of pages we were not turning over to EA that day (the front cover and inside title pages). They still needed to be approved by the committee.  I told him I would be back the next morning.

The next day I arrived a bit stressed after spending almost 2 hours in traffic.  Traffic like that can be found in DC but in Bahrain?  Who would have thought?  I would have to find a different route to the printer.

I smiled when I arrived and asked, “How are you doing?  When do you think we can see proofs?”

He asked, “Did you bring the packages?”

I answered,  “What packages?”

He said, “The files should be in packages.”

I answered, “I don’t know what that is.”

Her proceeded to show me on his computer how the newer versions of InDesign have a feature that pulls all the links and fonts into one file called a “package” so you can easily transfer from one computer to another.

None of our files were in packages.  In fact, I had instructed CS to take all her links and pull them into folders so we could create a folder for each set of pages. Back at Washington FAMILY Magazine we created folders for all our magazines.

I got on the phone with CS and went through how to create packages for each page.

Again I asked, “Do you think this will work? (positive head nod) Is there anything else you think we need to check? (negative head nod) Is there anything else you are going to need?” (negative head nod)

Since getting the files to him would be faster if I did not have to drive back and forth, we decided we would upload our “packages” to DropBox and let EA download them from there. This would also give me the time I needed create packages for all my files.

The 210 pages were divided up into sections.  CS had some and I had the majority. Each section was a set of pages that added up to 210.

I drove back to my flat and started making packages.  CS started working on her files as well.

Very late that night we had a long list on DropBox of packages.

Next morning – after trying a different route, it still look me an hour to get to the printer. There was a wreck in Saar right on the route of the short cut.

I asked EA how it was going.  He responded by asking me to look at a file he was trying to open. He selected one of CS’s files.  “Not compatible.”

Her software version of InDesign was ahead of the version at the printer. She would have to convert all her files to HDML files.

And, DropBox was full.

That night CS converted all her files and the next morning she drove her files over to the printer on a flash drive. I spoke with EA and he said he would print pages for me to proof right away.

At 11, I stopped by to pick up printed copies of the pages to proof but they were not ready.  I asked, “Will it take longer than 5 minutes for them to finish printing.” (negative head nod)

Forty-five minutes later I left and returned 3 hours later to pick up the printed page proofs.

The printed pages looked promising.  I was very excited to get them home and review them. I made one review before bed, got up at 3 and made another run through of all the pages.

Unfortunately, when EA imported our links the photos did not come through seamlessly and we had many corrections to be made. The next morning (Thursday - the DROP DEAD DEADLINE day) CS and I spent another 3+ hours going over the pages making sure we found everything that needed to be corrected.

Armed with my marked up pages, off I went again to see EA.  I arrived at 1PM and he was headed out to lunch.  I begged him to let me work on his computer and make changes while he was gone to lunch so I would not need to sit and wait on him. He finally agreed. (negative head nod)

The marked up proof copy and an extra candy bar they gave me.  Chocolate for breakfast and dinner, yum!

EA walked out the door with his lunch box, I turned and sat down at his computer.  Piece of cake, right?

He had an Arabic keyboard.

I wish now I had taken a picture of it. I was so shocked, I almost fell out of my chair. Finally I shook it off and decided MAC made things easy and I bet the keyboard is the same, just type blind. It worked.

He went to lunch and I started working.
While he was gone, I tried to work as fast as I could (typing blind) and I was able to make it through about 1/3 of the corrections.  When EA returned, we started working together and finished the changes at 5PM.

EA and I working on the corrections.
I asked if there was a water fountain anywhere and the other graphic artist in the production room offered to order some coffee for me. I was so grateful. I had nothing to eat or drink all day. It was becoming a long day. Much to my surprise along with my paper cup of coffee they brought three chocolate bars. It was great.

Once again, EA started printing the pages. As one section would come off the printer, I would start reviewing/proofing again as he made PDFs and started printing the next series of pages.  It took about an hour to complete this final printing and review process.

Finally we were done.  I signed off on the new set of printed proof pages and headed home at 6:18PM just as the sun was setting over the camel farm.

Sunset over the camel farm as I left the building.
EA told me that we would have the opportunity to look at the printed pages when they start coming off the press.

I did this several times with my magazine. There probably won’t be much warning as to the time, and it might be in the middle of the night.  However, it is a great experience especially if you have never seen the process and had the thrill of seeing your work printed.

I have invited the Tribute Book Committee to join me and several of them have agreed to come along to watch the presses. I plan on having someone there to take pictures for us so we can document the creation of the 40th Anniversary Book.

Maybe 40 years from now the AWA won’t have to struggle to find a picture of us like we struggled to find a good picture of the founding members …. LOL

My job until then is to burn DVDS of all the artwork and files so AWA will have an archive of all the history that was compiled for the 40th Anniversary Tribute Book.

There will be 11 DVDS at 4.7GB each!  WOW!!!!  That is a lot of history.

I just started burning my 4 copies of all 11 DVDS.

LW, the President of AWA during the 40th Anniversary Year was truly the driving force behind the Tribute Book. She is the one who made it happen. Without her soft prodding in the beginning and strong leadership at the end, I am not sure it would have come to be.

This beautiful book will be cherished and shared for many, many years to come.

I gained so much respect for AWA during this project.  I sincerely hope I did a good job for them. I fear that something is left out … or the wrong caption is on the wrong photo….or something is misspelled….ughhhh!  The same fears I had for 25 years.

Congratulations to the committee on a job well done.  It is going to be beautiful and I can’t wait to proudly display it on my living room coffee table and show to all my guests, friends and family.

I am very proud to be a member of such a great group of women with such a wonderful history in Bahrain.

Now we wait to hear when we can come and watch the presses.



This food delivery was being made to someone in our building when I arrived home.  I was inspired! Dinner was delivery for sure.

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