Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Can Take the Girl Out of Iowa...

After reviewing 30 proposals, I have selected the designer of the book about my dad's war service. I chose Camp Pope Publishing because they have worked on a vast number of nonfiction, historical books. Quite a few of their books contain numerous photographs. Since my book has 160 photos and other images, it was important to me to hire someone that can arrange the photos to their best advantage. The fact that Camp Pope happens to be located in Iowa is just a happy coincidence, as is the fact that my designer also graduated from Iowa State!

I had a lengthy phone conversation with Clark yesterday, specifically about my images. As it turns out, many of them are not at the correct DPI for reproduction in print. Ugggghhhh!!!! I now have to rework them in Photoshop, and perhaps even re-scan original documents. There may be nothing I can do to improve the photos I downloaded, with permission, from the Internet however. We'll see how this all turns out. More delays...

Since I have some time I may send an email to the CBI Hump Pilots Association I found online and ask if they have a veteran who would be willing to read my book (draft copy) and make a comment for the back cover. Clark made that suggestion, and I think it is a good one. I also may see if my friend "Swede" from the Andy E. Anderson Association would give me a quote for the cover while I am at it. It is not like I am trying to make a deadline for distribution, so I might as well make the back cover the best that it can be.

Friday, September 24, 2010

By the Book

Knowing that I need a professional to design the interior of my book, I turned to the website This is an interesting site where you post the work you need done, and people then submit proposals to do the work for you. So far I have received 30 responses to the job posting, with bids ranging from $50 to $810. Wow! It was easy to wean out some of them: throwing out the high and the low came first, and because I prefer to deal with someone in the United States I eliminated all the foreign proposals. I also don't want to be someones first elance job, so if they had no jobs posted they came off the list. If the proposal did not contain a portfolio and have good reviews from previous clients, then I threw those out as well.

The next thing I did was look at all the portfolios of those who remained on the list. If the designer had not done projects similar to mine, them they were removed from consideration as well. This might not be the best way to narrow things down, but my book has 160 images (photos and documents) in it. I need to know that the designer can treat those with care and some style.

I now have the list down to 3 possibilities. Of those, one guy is using Creative Suite 4 (CS4) and the others are still working with CS3. The only time this would be an issue is if I (meaning Katie) would want to make any modifications. We have CS5 on our Macs, and the software only allows you to go back one generation in terms of being able to open older documents. I'm not sure that this is a huge deal, but I have emailed Katie for her input. Of course the guy using CS4 is quite a bit more expensive than the other two, so that just adds to my sense of wanting to make the right choice here. I'm willing to pay for his expertise in this matter if it will make a difference down the road.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heavy Medal

Yesterday I received a surprise in the mail. Here's a hint: it was from the U.S. Air Force. Believe it or not, it contained three of the medals my dad received in the war. Considering that the National Personnel Records Center here in St. Louis had only forwarded my request (made to them in January) on August 27th, this was a fast turnaround time indeed. The other medals and citations my dad received are out of stock. The paperwork enclosed advised me to write back in 180 days and request the other medals again. Seriously??? 180 days???

While I am exceedingly grateful that we can request the records and medals of our war ancestors, the whole system is way more painful than it needs to be in this information age. I know this is the government we are talking about, but they make the process harder than it has to be on everyone.

I simply cannot afford to hold my dad's book up any longer waiting for things that may or may not come from the government bureaucracies. Next step? I'm going to get some quotes off of e-lance for designing the book's interior.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Burn Baby, Burn

So yesterday I received the long-awaited correspondence from the National Personnel Records Center. Judging by the size of the envelope, I knew it was not going to be good. Basically they regret to inform me that military records up through the letter "L" in the alphabet (our last name begins with "K" - lucky us) burned in a fire in St. Louis in 1973. Guess there is no sense trying to light a fire under someone at that office - sounds like someone beat me to it!

Wouldn't you think that when I sent in the request back in January that a staff member could have immediately looked at the dates of service and then at the last name and fired off an email to me stating that the records no longer exist? Why drag it out so long? That serves no purpose for anyone. While the letter advised that fortunately some records can be reconstructed using other sources, it gives no indication of what those sources might be. Gee, thanks for the help!

But they were pleased to inform me that my request for duplicates of dad's medals and citations had been approved, and they sent the appropriate form off to the Air Force. Again, this was all part of my request to them back in January. Why couldn't they have at least submitted that to the Air Force right away? God only knows how long it will take to hear from the Air Force now. The inefficiencies in our government system never cease to amaze me. Somebody needs to hold their feet to the fire.