Book finished – to be released 16th November

I don't know if these times are as anxiety provoking for you as they have been for me, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who found coming out of lockdown hard this time. I had intended to put a lot more effort into drumming up publicity for this book but that was just heaping stress on top of stress. So I guess this book is going out with no more fanfare than I can rustle up in the next month and a bit.

It's not all bad news though – the book is finally finished. I have been going through an advance copy looking for any remaining errors, inconsistencies and unclear explanations. It's amazing how much leaps out from the printed page that I just wasn't seeing on my computer screen. Then I needed to rewrite the preface as a lot has happened since I drafted one back in April. Finally I had to fix the back cover – the line spacing in the blurb just looked horrible and it was time to remove the ARC label.

I was quite pleased with the look and feel of the advance copy. The matte finish on the cover looks almost like my hand drawings. The pages seem glued in securely – I gave the spine a good tug and bent it back and it doesn't seem like pages are going to be falling out like they did on some of my old University textbooks and computer manuals. The typography looks good to me too – the way the text is laid out on the pages.

There were issues here and there with a couple of lines sticking out into the margins and a few things being split onto separate pages that I wanted to keep together. But only a handful of manual interventions were necessary – ConTeXt has done a pretty good job in spite of me switching off hyphenation. With the microtype features of TeX Gyre fonts it was able to automatically tweak not only the space between words but also the letter spacing and even the shape of letters. None of that should be too obvious as you read the book, but it has made it possible to never split a word across two lines – something I've always found quite ugly. I have much less control with the ebook, which will appear very differently depending on the reading device and software, and on the readers settings. Many ebook readers will ignore my CSS entirely.

There is now a press kit containing a quick summary of the books metadata, followed by several lengths of book description and author bio, a sample Q&A and the contents list from the book. The sample has been updated too.

PS – I realise the contact form for the mailing list I promised still hasn't materialised. To be honest I just haven't looked at the web site for a while. Once I'm sure the book is properly set up for pre orders I will take another look at it, apologies if that is too late for this book. There's always the atom feed.