Hands on at Quattro

by Kim Hesas

Production intern: I knew the position I had been hired to fill. I had completed a course in my publishing program about book production, where I learned that every aspect of a book – from the paper stock it’s printed on to the kerning of the lines and typesetting – is crucial to the overall experience of reading. But when the responsibility of creating this reading experience fell on me, the term “book publishing” got real.

I had experience with InDesign. I understood the logistics of creating a file to be sent to the printer. I had proofread some books that were already laid out, so I knew there would be many eyes passing over the file I would be creating. But I was mortified. Thankfully I was carefully coached by my digital manager, who assured me that the process was “fairly intuitive” – the benefits of being an intern!

Flowing the text seemed simple enough and formatting paragraph and character styles became very familiar after several hours doing it. Inserting page breaks after appropriate stanzas was a significantly greater challenge, however the real challenge came when I received my first round of proofreading feedback.

They say that making corrections can introduce new errors. That is the understatement of a lifetime! After completing my first round of proofs, I had proudly sent away my InDesign file and PDF… only to receive another email outlining the spacing and formatting issues I had introduced.

I felt awful for letting in so many errors, and while it would be inaccurate to say retrospectively that I’m glad I did, I really feel that these errors made this task the most rewarding experience I’ve had as an intern.

As an aspiring editor, I like to think that I have an eye for detail. Working with the text in this capacity definitely proved how important that eye is. An extra space between two words, a period added at the end of a line, or a page number on a page with no other writing ultimately affect the way a book is read.

I’m proud to say that the book has been sent to the author to be approved. I will probably frame a copy when the printed book arrives at the office next month. It felt really good to say, “I made a book today, what did you do?” And I am so thankful that Quattro gave me the opportunity to be able to say that.

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