Horrors! A Roundup of Lessons Learned the Hard Way

October 2006
by Linda Carlson

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Feel like a scary story for
the Halloween season? PMA members have so many to share that you won’t need
Edgar Allan Poe or an old Vincent Price movie. The bad news is that our
publishers’ nightmares aren’t fiction; the good news is that all of
us—regardless of the size of our companies—can learn from them.


Publishing horror stories
generally fall into four categories:


The publisher took shortcuts.

A vendor dropped the ball.

All hell broke loose..

The publisher got snookered.


Let’s start with those shortcuts.
Some have easy fixes, and some cause long-term frustration. Years ago, one very
savvy Seattle publishing executive told me that it’s a miracle when a book
comes through production trouble-free, and her assertion is certainly supported
by PMA members.


Just ask Tony Burton of Georgia’s
Wolfmont Publishing about his first book. He checked, double-checked, and had
others read the page proofs. He converted the Word document to PDF, and “flipped”
through the resulting proof: “Yep, it looked just fine. I was so pleased.”


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