WoB Talk

January 22, 2010

Comic: Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 3:11 am

For some utterly incomprehensible and completely infuriated reason, the Massey alumni site is down again.  Below please find Friday’s comic and the announcement that was supposed to appear beneath it.


Remember how I’ve never quite managed to get my act together and create a WoB collection?  Well, that collection is finally underway.  My plan is to collect the first two years of the strip and publish a print copy at some point in the spring, then to collect the next two years and publish a print copy at some point in the fall.  Yeah, I should have done the first volume ages ago, but procrastination is a powerful force, my friends.  I’m currently loading all the relevant image files into the main document; it’s going to take a while, since there are nearly four hundred such files to deal with, and the colour ones need to be switched to black and white.  (If all goes well, there will also be a special collection containing the colour comics only…in colour, of course.)  I’ve got ninety-eight done now, and it’s taken me two days.  After that, I’m going to have to deal with the actual publication process, and that will take even longer.  Since I’m poor, I’ll be using the print-on-demand service Lulu.  It isn’t a perfect choice, especially seeing as it’s based in the US and is not always kind about international shipping charges, but I can’t exactly afford the overhead for anything else.

I do sort of want to get a Canadian ISBN instead of going with one of Lulu’s so that I don’t have to pay American taxes (like…30% of each sale.  If I’m going to be gouged, I would like to be gouged by Canadians.  Gosh…that sounds dirty).  However, I have so far been unable to figure out how to get a damn Canadian ISBN.  All the information online is five years out of date and applies to a body that doesn’t seem to exist any more.  Any help would be appreciated.

Anyone with advice and/or snarky comments should feel free to post here.

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18 Comments »

  1. I googled “wob talk” just so that i could come to the comments and ask if the site was down. turns out Kari is way ahead of me. 😉 thanks! Its the first search result by the way.

    Can;t help you on Canadian publishing though, I’m not Canadian, and don’t even know anything about American publishing to be honest.

    Comment by Rin — January 22, 2010 @ 3:22 am

  2. I would love to get a printed copy of WoB (preferably signed as well) even if some of the profit goes to the American, although I would much prefer if all the profits goes to the Canadian, one Canadian in particular.

    Comment by SunshineRain — January 22, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  3. Awesome! Will signed copies be available?

    The (Dutch) ISBN for my thesis was provided by the university’s library. Perhaps a good starting point for your search?

    Comment by Stefan — January 22, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

  4. Signed copies will be available to people in Toronto who want to come find me and get me to sign the books they’ve bought online. I’m afraid that if I go with Lulu, the books will be shipped directly from the States; I’ll never see the copies you buy and therefore won’t be able to sign them. As I said, the solution is not a perfect one.

    Update on the site: the computer guys claim U of T keeps blocking the site because it is a “source of malware.” I do not know why. The site has been up for nearly four years, and no one has ever said this to me before. I have been told to find a solution (in the company of one of the computer guys and a helpful Masseyite), but since I don’t know what the problem is, I don’t know when this is going to happen. Also, I haven’t heard back from the second computer guy or the helpful Masseyite. There’s nothing I can do without them.

    I hate computers.

    Comment by Kari — January 22, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

  5. I would volunteer to pre-order a copy and send you money first if it would help you go with a better company (and also if it would increase my chances of getting a personally signed copy)!

    Hope the evil site exploiters can be smited swiftly (if that is indeed what has happened).

    Comment by megan — January 22, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

  6. I will come seek you out in Toronto then! I mean, I did succeed before, so why wouldn’t it work a second time?

    Now get the book finished already 😉

    Comment by Stefan — January 23, 2010 @ 3:12 am

  7. Kari, I would also be glad to hear if anyone can tell you how to get a CDN ISBN. Since that relates to library science as well as publishing, I’d be inclined to ask PJ MacDougall. I’ve always found PJ to be enthusiastically helpful, and was hugely cheered when she was recently promoted to Head Librarian. Cheers- J.

    Comment by John — January 23, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

  8. Thanks, John…that’s a good suggestion. I have one potential source I’m going to talk to this week, but if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll go see PJ.

    The funny thing is that there’s actually plenty of information about Canadian ISBNs on the Internet, and though it would be extremely helpful if it were still 2005, things do seem to have changed.

    Comment by Kari — January 23, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  9. I don’t want to sound preachy and all, but putting together a book like that sounds like the perfect job for LaTeX… as long as the comics are labeled in a sane manner, it should be a snap to put them in. And once you have the layout, you could probably prepare the second book in an hour or so…

    And I want a copy! I would be willing to prepay for one.

    Comment by emily — January 24, 2010 @ 1:53 am

  10. Emily: Well, Lulu provides handy templates in Word (okay, I hate Word, but the templates do seem to be working out okay). I don’t know or have LaTex. The problem isn’t really putting the comics in; that’s fairly easy (they are indeed labeled in a sane manner). The problem is that since I do want them all to be roughly the same size, I have to go back to the early ones and trim the copious white margins I left around them (they’re gone from the later ones). AND when I import them into Word, the comics are just barely too big to fit three to a page, so I have to edit the image properties on every single comic (if there’s a way of doing them all at once, I haven’t found it yet). AND all the colour comics need to be transformed to black and white. AND because I didn’t know what I was doing back at the beginning, at least fifty of the early comics have off-white backgrounds that I have to fix. AND I have to make Frankie’s skin slightly lighter so that you can actually see her nose on paper copies. AND there are nearly four hundred comics involved. So yeah, this is going to take a while. However, I’m making progress.

    The second book will be easier, but I can’t do it yet because all the comics involved haven’t been drawn. That book will end with comics produced in August or very early September of 2010.

    However, your advice is appreciated, and you don’t sound preachy. I know a lot of people who swear by LaTex. There just isn’t much call for it in English studies.

    Comment by Kari — January 24, 2010 @ 2:04 am

  11. Getting LaTeX is the easy part – and it’s free. Learning to use it is a bit more complicated – it’s basically a markup language like HTML, so you need to know what the commands are to make it do what you want.

    LaTeX could help with this ‘image properties’ problem, as you can tell it how to rescale the file you are importing. You could do it ‘all at once’, and easily modify it later.

    I don’t think I can help with trimming the margins…

    Gimp (another free program) might make changing the off-white backgrounds to white easier – I think it has a filter for substituting colors. Perhaps this would also work for lightening Frankie? Though probably whatever you are using has this functionality already. There is also an ‘automatic’ conversion to B&W, but you might not like the results.

    Comment by emily — January 24, 2010 @ 2:29 am

  12. Well, I use Photoshop Elements, so I know HOW to lighten the backgrounds; it’s just that it does take time (maybe thirty seconds tops per comics, but it adds up). I’m finished that now. The Frankie comics generally only take a few seconds to deal with, but again, those seconds add up. I’ve been using the auto-b&w function, which allows you to fiddle with levels and contrast; it’s been working out as well as can be expected. When it’s inadequate, as it occasionally is, I’m able to modify the comic manually. I can DO all this stuff; the only real problem is that it takes time. It would probably take me even more time to learn LaTex, so I’ll just continue with what I’ve been doing.

    Eventually, however, it will all be done, and there will be much rejoicing (mostly mine).

    Comment by Kari — January 24, 2010 @ 2:46 am

  13. Sorry, I forgot to add that Gimp will allow you to process the images as a batch job, so you could for example substitute one color for another in all the images in one shot. It would take time to figure out how to do it, so maybe it’s faster by hand.

    I think I will shut up now.

    Comment by emily — January 24, 2010 @ 2:58 am

  14. Nah…continue if you like. You do give good advice.

    However, since I have to trim every single comic anyway, I may as well just do the Frankie thing while I’m at it.

    Comment by Kari — January 24, 2010 @ 3:01 am

  15. I’m guessing the trimming has to be done manually since you need to trim every comic a little differently.

    Comment by emily — January 24, 2010 @ 3:58 am

  16. Yep. Plus some of them are crooked and need to be straightened. Some, alas, are INHERENTLY crooked and CAN’T be straightened, but I do what I can.

    Comment by Kari — January 24, 2010 @ 4:00 am

  17. hmmm… I might be stating the obvious here, but this government webpage:
    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/041002-130-e.html
    seems to give instructions on how to obtain ISBNs in Canada – it mostly looks geared towards commercial publishers, but it does talk about self-publishers, so maybe it’s applicable to you?

    Comment by emily — January 24, 2010 @ 6:43 am

  18. Yep…thanks, Emily. Someone else found that webpage just a few hours ago. It’s actually what I was looking for; for some reason, I could find it, though I made it to the site. I don’t know whether self-publishers are applicable; we’ll see. And now I think I really need to go to bed.

    Comment by Kari — January 24, 2010 @ 6:57 am


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