As this year’s edition of Red Weather nears the finish line, I can’t help but look back at everything I have learned while helping publish it. I have taken classes in the past that tell you about the publishing process, but actually doing the work is much harder than hearing about it. Throughout this semester I have learned that reading submissions can be dull work that puts you to sleep in mere minutes, but is can also be exciting when you find that one story or poem that really makes you feel something. I also learned that as frustrating as compromise can be, it is essential. You may read a piece that changes your life, but everyone else hates it, so you compromise. However, it’s once all the submissions are chosen that the fun begins.
When I chose to be on the design team, I had no idea how tedious the work would be. One of the first things we did was learn how to use InDesign. Once we got the hang of it the real work began on designing the cover. The cover was definitely one of the more interesting and important parts because if we’re being honest, everyone judges a book by its cover. We tried lots of different fonts and sizes and placements, and in the end I think it turned out really well. Once the cover was finished we moved to the interior of the magazine and to the real tedious work. We had to choose the order of every piece in the book and it’s a lot more complicated than I ever thought. We didn’t want too many fiction and poetry pieces stacked together so we attempted to break them up with visuals, but we also wanted the visuals to have some link with the story or poem it was next to. It was only after we had figured out the order that we received the exact page count for each piece and had to rearrange again.
As the magazine began to come together our work became more about the small things. We looked though every single page searching for spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, widows, and orphans. Even though it was boring work at times, I learned a lot about formatting and catching the little details. I enjoyed my time with the design team because I felt like my opinion mattered and my ideas were taken into consideration.
If you have helped design a magazine or book what was your favorite part? What did you learn from the experience? If you haven’t designed anything what do you think you would enjoy the most about the process?