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Book Buddies

Yesterday morning was my last day with my students for the year, and therefore the last day I would be writing new Public Educations before I compile them into a book.  This first one will collect about a year and a halfs worth of material, and hopefully subsequent volumes will have a full two year lead time.

I wanted to share my last strip of the year as well as my to do list for making this stack of comic strips into a book.

I've ended up with 195 usable strips and my plan for the book has always been to use 180 (the same as the number of school days in American education.  This gives me 15 strips to weed out of the 180 so that the best make it through.  There's one I know that's a little racier than I want P.E. to be, some of the earlier strips weren't draw or copied as well as I'd have liked, and a few strips I just feel don't work.  My storytelling wasn't clear enough.  My first job is to find those strips that I don't want in the book and clear them out of the way.  I'm still going to hold onto them, in case one day I want to collect the "lost strips" or something like that.

Another thing I do with P.E. is some strips are 3 panels and others are 4.  After I know exactly which strips are going into the book, I want to pace it out so that my 4 panel strips are spaced evenly throughout the book.  I still haven't decided exactly how many strips should go on each page, but my thought right now is that 3 panel strips will go two to a page, where the 4 panel strips will get a page to themselves.  This should be a relatively quick step once I know which ones I'm using.  It'll just be a  little math, divide and conquer so to speak.  The longer part will be indexing all the strips and trying to have a nice flow from strip to strip.  There's no continuity to speak of, so I need to order them in a way that makes the reader want to continue.

When I get all that done I'm going to write two prose pieces for the book.  I want the forward to address the teachers of the world, I think that's going to be my biggest audience and I want them to feel like the book is made for them right from the beginning.  The afterward will be directed to comic fans, and I plan to ruminate on the differences between comic strips and books, and why the general population and comic fans in general tend to think of these two things as very seperate entities.

Finally I get to the really dull part, compiling the book on Lulu.  Printing test copies.  Getting everything how I want it, and finally placing a big ole order to try and sell them as we come back to school after the summer break.

It's not too much stuff to do, but I wanted a plan.  I've got other big plans in the works for this summer's comic output as well, so I've got to be ready to bust out the grunt work.  That way I've got more time for the more creative jobs.

-Jon O

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