Today I received a very nice package from the AMS — a complete color printout of a draft of the book! This means it’s time to proofread, and think of all the things I should have done along the way.
So here is a retrospective look at what I should have done.
- Created a stylesheet as I was writing. For example, when abbreviating circa (as in Euclid lived c.300 BCE), is there a space as in “c. 300” or not as in “c.300”. I’ll look it up… but my life would have been easier if I had kept a running list of style details for consistency throughout the manuscript. Credit goes to Ellen Muehlberger for this advice — when I told my wife about this problem, she said that her advisor (E.M.) told her to maintain such a stylesheet throughout her dissertation. Great advice!
- Used a version control system throughout. I just took the Udacity course on Git and GitHub yesterday (better late than never). It’s an excellent quick class, and I’ll be using GitHub for producing a webpage for the book, sharing teaching materials, etc.. Unfortunately my current book files are organized like my camping gear… randomly stashed in large not-quite-clean tubs.
- Considered CMYK color issues from the outset. I had read and heard about color issues before, but didn’t do anything about it. So now I have a large book, and of course the colors look great on a monitor (in RGB) and varying stages of terrible in print (in CMYK). Fortunately, I have been using xcolor throughout, which gives me precise control over colors in the CMYK (or any other) colorspace. I was a bit surprised at how different things ended up in print. For example, a standard red corresponds to 0% Cyan, 100% Magenta, 100% Yellow, 0% Black in CMYK space. I wanted to desaturate the red when filling large areas; the xcolor setting red!50 yields the result 0% Cyan, 50% Magenta, 50% Yellow, 0% Black, which makes sense. But on paper, this looks distinctly orange, in a sort of carrot-left-in-the-freezer-too-long way. Similarly blue turns pale purple as blue!50. The solution is fun, if a bit time-consuming. I printed a CMYK color chart which I found via stackexchange, asking the local print shop to use their nicest inkjet and book-quality paper. I’m using this printed color chart to choose my colors now. So, instead of using a command like blue!50, I’ll define my own color (blueB perhaps) as 60% Cyan, 10% Magenta, 0% Yellow, 7% Black, and use this wherever I used blue!50 before. I’ll probably give the local print shop some business with color experiments over the next month. There’s really no way for me to match what the eventual offset printer will do, but I’m hoping to get as close as possible.