My Blurb book is finally finished and was submitted to the Photography.Book.Now contest with 7 minutes, 56 seconds to spare (according to their highly stress-inducing countdown clock). This was obviously not by choice, and in my defense not (completely) because of procrastination (there have been various illnesses and, as you know from my last post, James was out of town). Long story short, I put the finishing touches on everything the night before, but when it came time to upload I had severe problems with the "preview book" function for the front and back covers. The images were horribly washed out--and when I say horribly, I mean horribly. After trying various different approaches nothing changed, and when I looked at other people's books no one else seemed to have the same issue. I emailed customer service and went to bed.
That morning I received a response saying that though they did look washed out it should be fine in the print version. This still made me nervous: "should be fine" doesn't equal "will be fine," and I wasn't willing to risk it not looking right for the contest judges. I decided to redo it from scratch and try again. Now I was getting down to the wire, and when I uploaded the new cover, to my chagrin the images were stretched to a horrible degree, creating wonky effects and white space where there was none. (I have to say that the Blurb templates didn't seem to be completely accurate, regardless of the strange image distortion problems I had.) By now it was too late to get help from customer service via email, and they unfortunately have no way to contact them by phone. Though I suspected that the actual print book would look as it should and that the problem was as they said simply in their web viewing capabilities, again I wasn't willing to risk it. Plus I didn't want the general population to view my book online as it was. Poor James, my IT tech guru, tried for two hours to get it right with no success. I won't repeat here some of the phrases that came out of my mouth...
So after all this I tried one more tack: to change the cover from a dust jacket to an imagewrap, and to create white space around the images--this way if they were washed out it might be less apparent (luckily this time around they were the correct color, etc.). I hate to give a disclaimer, as I still think this current cover conveys the mood of the book, but it's not, according to my OCD standards, 100% what I wanted. I do like that the white space on the front and back echo the importance of the white space inside the book, and the images are the same ones I used from the start, but I still find myself being somewhat stuck on the other version, though this one is growing on me now that I've gotten some distance from the stress of yesterday. I'm just having a hard time letting go of the lack of complete control over the presentation. The content is exactly as it should be, and I think ultimately that's the most important thing, but I'm surprised at my emotional reaction to the entire experience. I feel like I need to crawl into bed for a while.
Perhaps some of my being unhinged is due to the personal nature of a book--it feels different than presenting a portfolio or a website. There was something a bit soul-baring about deciding how to pair the images, creating the interplay and flow of the layout, and over days and even weeks slowly bit by bit moving, changing, and sizing all of these pictures that mean so much to me. Then I had a big crazy push to finish at the end, will all of the manic energy a deadline brings, and it sucked the life out of me. With that said you may be surprised to hear that I loved making the book, the intuitive nature of it, getting lost in it, almost like solving a puzzle. But then to put it out into the world, even if everyone but the judges can only see 15 pages on the Blurb site, still feels raw and has made me a little vulnerable I suppose. I'm sure it doesn't help that Edie has now been with my in-laws for six days and I'm longing for her to be home. I feel adrift.
All in all I think I'm somewhat burned out. I've become one of those manic "human doing" people. So I've made a pact with myself: I'm going to finish up my submissions for July, and any upcoming in August that I can do in advance, and then I'm taking a month off. I'm going to treat the summer like the summer: I'll lounge more, be lazy, and fend off the mosquitoes in the backyard with a drink in hand.