When Bicycle Comics gears up to make a new book, the first thing the team does is exchange panicked E-mails until we remember where we’ve stored our templates and workflow documentation.
Dropbox? Plain old Box?
Google Drive or Google Docs?
I bookmarked that with…Firefox?
See, at the end of each book project, my team holds a “post-mortem” meeting to discuss what lessons we need to bring to our next title. We write them down and store them safely. Then, count on it, we misplace them. Okay, I misplace them. Bicycle only publishes 2-3 titles per year, so months can go by when we’re not using our hard-won bookmaking know-how. Techniques that seemed important and stark as we finished our last book can seem minor or hazy as we plan our next one. So we write this stuff down, and we update those policies as we get smarter.
This blog is a demonstration of those policies. There’s more than one way to make an E-book. I couldn’t cover them all; I don’t even know them all. But I can cover the process my team uses to make E-books at Bicycle Comics. This workflow is the result of endless Web searches, dubious how-to books, and plaintive blog comments. We’ve used, iterated, and improved it for three poetry E-books so far. I wish we’d started the Alight E-book with this workflow. It would have saved us time, worry, and money.
I’m hoping it can save you time and money, too. I’m hoping that you’ll use our techniques with your own projects and put more well-formatted poetry books into the world. I’m hoping that, with practice, you’ll figure out even better workflows and techniques, which you might share in turn.
And even if none of that innovation and sharing happens, at least this way I’ll remember where the heck we stored our workflow notes, you know?