The digital proof for the cover of my new fantasy novel, the Light Heart of Stone, arrived from Hong Kong in the middle of January. It didn’t look so very different from the printouts Michele and I used when we were pouring over design options. That’s the point, though. The proof should look the same as the original design, apart from being printed on slightly higher quality glossy paper.

Cover proof and dyelines

The proof of the cover was wrapped around a parcel of dyelines and they were queer things: stapled sections of the interior of the novel, printed on thick, rough-edged paper. They looked really interesting – like chapbooks.

The dyelines with section numbers and marks on their spines  
I was so excited and nervous about receiving the cover proof and dyelines that I couldn’t remember what I was meant to do. I spent a few hours double checking my text books and googling “dyelines” in case there was some mysterious and arcane process that I didn’t know anything about. There wasn’t. It’s simple: the printer prints the cover and the contents and you check that they have reproduced exactly what you sent to them.
I also spent hours photographing the dyelines because I really liked them

All I had to do was check that everything from my final files had made it onto the proof and dyelines, accurately.

The cover was easy to check. The little chapbooks took much longer. I sat myself at a desk with a long ruler, a print out of the final typeset manuscript, and the chapbooks. I put the proofs and the final manuscript side-by-side worked my way down each page, line-by-line.

Proofing the dyelines

I was sad to have to send the dyelines back to Hong Kong. I would have loved to have kept them.

 Dyelines and cover proof