Add comment October 30th, 2010
Having given some thought to the kinds of books I might not want to involve myself with, perhaps the time has come to consider the books I would like to help bring to press. Broadly, of course, aside from the sorts of books I prefer to avoid, any book that is a paying job I want. (Did I once mention that I sometimes refer to myself as a mercenary?) But, really, there must be books that I would be pleased or even excited to find myself working on.)
Strange as it may sound to some, after the initial kick of seeing my first books in print—and, actually, it never occurred to me to request copies of those first books I worked on—I had no favorite material or subject matter until I did my first work with heavy math and equations. The extra care necessary to typeset presentable math, the proper use of white space, and knowing where to break equations made that kind of work a lot more challenging and fun than books of straight text.
After math, though, children’s books are the most enjoyable work. I learned quickly enough when doing the page design and layout of my first illustrated children’s storybook that there was a different set of provisos to keep in mind. For one thing, while the story dictates the basic idea of each illustration, it is the illustrations that lead the story. That is, how much, and what, text goes on each page is pretty well decided by the illustration on the page. So while, on the one hand, I don’t exert quite as much control over the look of pages as with other kinds of books, on the other, there’s a stiffer format that’s really not of my own making to follow.
Right now, the next kind of book I’d like to do is a cookbook. Not the least of my reasons is that I enjoy cooking. But I also think that my work with tabular material and equations provides a natural sort of segue into this genre.
Of course, not every one of my clients consents to my getting a credit line for the work I do on their books. So there are still times when personal satisfaction and a paycheck are all I can expect for my efforts.