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Everything had been sent to Brad at Clear Visions, when I got a phone call.

“I have your proof ready for you to pick up,” Brad said.

I all but sprinted to the car and headed to Clear Visions press manufacturing site. It was December 15, 2020. Covid was still with us, and I got as far as the front door at Clear Visions to be handed a legal-size manila envelope.Inside the envelope was a make-shift book (paper cover, 8 or so stapled decks of folded pages of my book along with colorful strips of paper cut to replicate the binding. They were all secured together with rubber bands. As excited as I was to see my book proof, my heart waffled into panic mode. Surely, this was not my ‘proof’? I drove home and showed the make-shift book to Robin. He held the first stapled deck of pages up to the light and began inspecting each page. Printing from the thin page’s reverse side bled through and upon further inspection, it was clear that the printing on the pages was not even centered or straight.

“Is this even the correct paper?” I asked Robin.

“It is so thin!” I said.

I called Brad and he ensured me that this handmade book had been printed straight, just cut crooked and that the paper would be the 60# paper he had sold me.

Robin and I read every page in every stapled deck. We found mistakes on pages 150,157,199, 83 and 166 along with color corrections needed for the front cover and back cover and overall concerns with line matching throughout the book and page numbers not being centered vertically and horizontally.

So, we created a PDF showing all the original artwork RGB colors converted to pantone (PMS) for the book cover and sent a corrected PDF manuscript.

In short, we told Clear Visions we required a press check at final printing.

A few days later, I was asked to come and do a press check. I drove to Clear Visions, checked in at the front desk and was met by project manager Roxane Porter. She led me around what looked like oversized Xerox machines and back to a large light box table where sheets of uncut pages of my book and various color renditions of my cover were laid.

I looked at the covers and explained that they did not match the colors I had on my original artwork file. One of the technicians attempted to placate me with a lesson in monitor colors versus printer color and how paper types change colors.

“Look,” I said. “I understand color correction and monitors,” (All said in a sarcastic I-am-a-professional-and-I-know-what-I-am-talking-about tone.) “All I ask is that you match the RGB colors that I already converted for you to your Pantone PMS color system on my original cover.”

Then, came the paper conversation. The technician (not meaning to add fuel to the fire) informed me that the paper used for my printed pages was not even the 60# paper I had been sold and promised. At that point, darkness fell over the jungle and my colorful language matched every shade of Pantone.

I was then quickly taken into the conference room by Roxane the project manager and I called Robin. Paper conversations ensued. In the end, all I really wanted to see was an example of what my book would look like. (Printed cover, colored end sheets, pages printed on the exact paper and with the correct ink — all printed and cut correctly.)

In the end, I ordered an actual PROOF sample copy of my book. One SMYTHE sewn copy, 100# laminated House Gloss cover, with turquoise UBB end sheets printed on 80# paper. It would delay things a bit and cost me an extra $250, plus an extra art charge, but it would make me happy.