Oh, I wish I was a graphic designer!

Okay, so I’m sure that’s not something you expect to hear from a self-publishing author every day but I’ve had the MOST frustrating afternoon.

As you may recall from one of my previous blogs, as well as writing The Bremmand Chronicles I’m also writing bespoke children’s books for charity. These are commissioned for a minimum donation to help me raise £8808 for Breast Cancer Now. Over the last ten weeks I’ve been working on the first of these, Jan the Dragon – a story about a German dragon blown off course to London. It’s been a really exciting experience, especially working with a talented young illustrator who responded to a tweet I made asking for help. Her work is amazing and I’ve learned a lot from her (I know the difference between RGB and CMYK now!). Having written the book and had it illustrated, the only thing left to do was to publish it.

In order to produce a quality hardback, I’ve been using Vistaprint photobooks. Using MS publisher I can export the pages as jpgs and upload them. All good so far – but this is where it all went a bit pear-shaped. The first copy arrived yesterday and I discovered that what I had thought was a 6″x4″ book is in fact a 13cmx10cm book. Similar but different. So, the text had vanished into the margins, the images look odd and the front cover? Well don’t get me started.

I can’t blame Vistaprint. I was so eager to get the book out that I decided that the red warning border would be okay and it was worth the risk that it would all turn out okay. It didn’t. (On reflection maybe more haste less speed is the moral of the story here!)

So today, I went back to MS Publisher and did the layouts all over again and this time I really LOOKED at the online guides – at which point I laid it out all over again. It’s taken HOURS!

Even now, however, when it all looks good on the screen, I can’t be 100% sure it will come out okay. That’s where the talents of a graphic designer would be handy – I don’t know how to be sure that what I see on the screen is going to look right on the printed page. I’ve ordered the new proof copy and I can only wait to see if it turns out all right but it is all very stressful and hard on the temper.

I think I’m going to do some relaxing yoga now, to help me calm down!

Cate Caruth is the author of the Bremmand Chronicles. To buy her books or learn more about them, go to

To learn more about her bespoke charity books for children, suitable for reading aloud at bedtime click on this link

You can follow Cate on Twitter at

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