At about 5:00am this morning Dick finished up the final touches and the book is now back with the publisher. This final round of proofing went very quickly. We found a few typos but there were no substantial changes. Three figures have to be reformatted because their size was changed in this round so they got either all stretched out of squashed short. The thing that took so long was the index.
Indexes are pretty much a thing of the past given electronic books, but this book is going out first in hard cover and so it needed a proper index. The publisher prepared a simple one but we weren’t satisfied. We ended up buying an indexing program for PDFs called PDF Index Generator. It worked quite well so I can recommend it. We were able to set the program to find every unique word, combine plurals and skip pages that were reference pages. We still ended up with a very long list of words of unique words. (42 pages in a word document) We then spent two days each combing put this list. We had to remove the words like “if”, “and”, “but”, “for”. We also found some words like “blastoceole/blastocele” with two, both correct, spelling versions to deal with. We had to pick one and stick to it consistently. The indexing program is also unable to do phrases like “Robertsonian translocation”. So we had to go through our key phrase list and add those manually. For some words, like “gene” there were so many entries we simply removed the word and created a half a dozen key phrases which included the word gene.
There was a surprising bonus to taking the time to do this indexing step, frustrating as it was. We ended up confronted with about a dozen more typos to fix. For example, one of the words that turned up in the list was “microfilamet”. That should have been “microfilament”, of course, but somehow in all our readings and even with many spell checks, we missed that one. It is now fixed. This last four days of effort getting the index right was worth it, even if just for finding typos.
It has been a long long journey getting to this point with the book. The next step should be a hardcover book in our hands in a few months. The kindle version will follow. The reality of finally being done with this book is hitting me in waves and I suppose will continue to do so for the next few days.
Of course we have a few other projects going. We can now turn to some of the other work we have going, like “origin of life” and “diatom morphogenesis”. I have a published short story in science fiction I have halfway expanded into a full novel. Now I can finally start working on that.