Now, back to my self-publishing journey. As I relay this next part of the story, I’ll need to take a deep breath.
My first proof proved to be very rewarding. I was foremost relieved that the colors were printing accurately, since the color scheme of the book was so important to its overall look. I felt like perfection was within reach, and so, I spent the next couple of days poring over every square inch of every page, looking for any flaw or any last tiny thing I would want to change or fix. Now, this is worth noting, because I had just been through months of figuring out how to deal not only with gutter-matching, but getting rid of “compressed object streams,” transparency complications, and PDF color shifts and compression problems. The fact that I came back to re-inspect these by now intimately-known 32 pages once again with a fine tooth comb demonstrates how confident I was in being able to achieve a flawless product.
I proceeded to upload, digitally proof, approve, and order my second proof.
And this is where the dream came crashing down.
The first thing I noticed with proof 2 was that the binding seemed a bit strange and puffy. Then I opened the actual book, and the pages began to fall out.
Many of the pages themselves were improperly trimmed. The color of the background should bleed all the way to the edges of the page, yet in this proof, several of the pages had been cut sloppily, as if the page had slipped on the cutting surface, resulting in a white edge that was the bare-part of the page (see C).
And then on some pages the page number was partially cut off!
My heart sank. I heavily picked up the phone to call customer service. Next post, the call.