Saturday, August 8, 2015

Deadlines and Design Issues

For the last month and a half, I've been buried in a work-in-progress: Next year's version of The Social Calendar (renamed from My Social Calendar), with more authors' quotes, more months of coverage, and more quotes per day. In the midst of the organizing, collating and proof-reading, I got some valuable feedback from readers of last year's edition about what didn't work for them.

So naturally, I decided to stop and rethink the design.

For one thing, poems that are quoted were difficult to read, due to the constraint of a single-line format for quotes. The solution turned out to be opening out the space for the end-or-line "/" marker:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,/Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit/Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,/Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.   Omar Khayyám
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, / Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit / Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, / Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.  Omar Khayyám

Seems simple, right? It actually took quite a bit of code to make the words appear that way in the eBook! And with a mid-August deadline breathing down my neck, it began to seem as if I would never get the design changes done and get back to the actual assembly.

Another issue was the single meme at the beginning of the month. Turns out, several users wanted the meme associated with the calendar day the quote was in. So the design change was to do both. Each meme appears as a beginning-of-the-month illustration, and then will appear again on the page before the calendar day where the quote resides. This change allowed me to add additional memes as I wanted, so there could be more than the one=per-month of the previous edition.

Smaller changes took less time, but what truly ate into the writing time-budget was developing tools so I can put the edition for next year together faster. (I am committed to at least one more Social Calendar for 2016-2017.)  I added a new, offline method for building meme graphics, and wrote the amended "How-To" section to include those step-by=step instructions.

You can take a look at the WIP page for a description that will probably be mostly the same when the book is published on August 15th or thereabout. 

Thanks sincerely to all who reviewed, commented on, or critiqued the first edition—you can expect to see your names listed in the Acknowledgementsand also to anyone who buys and reviews the new edition after it is published!