Pressing The Issue

posted in: Day In The Life, Quiltfolk, Work 13


From 1896 lantern slide lecture, “The Illustration of Books” by Edward L. Burchard, Columbian Museum. Image: Wikipedia.



When a person in magazine publishing says she’s “in press” or the magazine she works for is “going to press” it doesn’t mean she’s physically squished between two large ink rollers, nor does it mean she’s about to push a big red button that starts a Gotham-style newspaper printing press spewing out special edition headline news in a Batman movie montage. (You know what I mean, right?)

Being in press means you are under deadline to get all the content, the photos, the captions, graphics — every jot and tittle you see in a piece of printed matter — corralled onto the pages of the given publication before you must sign off on the thing and send it out into the world. (Then you get your big red button moment, sort of.) Making a printed anything that is good at all is an impossible task, so press is pretty scary. The more text, the more photos, the more captions, the more facts you have to check, etc., the scarier it is.

In press, all the things you didn’t know you were missing are revealed. For a 180-page quarterly journal like Quiltfolk, we have about five days of press. That’s five days of anguish as you go through page after page, caption after caption, looking for ways to make it better, make it prettier, make it make sense, and above all make it not wrong. It’s terrifying. Quiltfolk is way more like a book than a magazine (no ads, all those pages, all those photos) so I have a job where we make a big, fat book, four times a year. And by the way: We’ve been workin on the issue since April. It’s just that this is the crunch time. This is press.

Yes, we’re in press right now. And I was going to put up a post that said I couldn’t say hi at all because we’re in press. But I can’t help myself: I’m a publishin’ fool. Press is exhausting and frightening, but it’s also a blast. I love it. I love to make type move and I love to select a photo and I love to communicate this way. I’m not good at so many things and I’m not even that good at this, but I have ink in my veins, I really do.

I’ll tell you more about Issue 07 of Quiltfolk soon. Maybe even tomorrow, if those captions don’t take me out first.

13 Responses

  1. Helen Marie
    | Reply

    I know this is old, so old, but how could there be an Oregon Quiltfolk without a single mention of Sisters? I felt so let down…

  2. Ann Bailey
    | Reply

    I only can imagine the stress for you, Mary. You certainly DO know what you’re doing, but dang, those typos (or whatever) seem to pop up after you’ve gone over the thing 100 times. I write a blog and pages, and I’ll publish them and just marvel at how I didn’t see that one error after reading and reading them. At least they are easy to fix! Also, I started reading for fun again and get mostly free books with my Kindle. I am shocked at the typo’s that are in published books. They pop out at me like a sore thumb and I wonder if some authors have an editor or not. It may even be a great story line, but the typo’s are so distracting.

    • Barbara
      | Reply

      I agree with Ann Bailey. I was beginning to think editors for books, newspapers or magazines must not exist anymore. Misspelled words, an incorrect word (there, their, they’re, for example), lack of agreement between noun and verb, etc., pop out at me everywhere and stop me in my reading tracks. Sometimes, in a novel, there will be a conversation with a character who only one page earlier had left to go to her country home. To your credit, Quiltfolk doesn’t seem to have many of those problems and it’s smooth reading. We readers appreciate all those hours and care you put into your work.

      • Kathy H
        | Reply

        You’re correct — many publishers, including newspapers, have cut their editing staffs or eliminated copy editor entirely. (I was one of them.) They seem to think no one will notice the typos, grammar errors, etc. Pathetic.

        • Kathy H
          | Reply

          Copy editors, that is. Bad typists everywhere, too.

  3. Melinda Seegers
    | Reply

    You are teasing us, Mary!

  4. Karen
    | Reply

    I can just FEEL the excitement!!!! Can’t wait to see it!

  5. Kathie Hood
    | Reply

    Do you post it up to a woefully large flat screen page by page in little quilt squares so you can stand back and see the full spread? 140 X 140? Those veins have ink but the veins are thread!! OK I couldn’t help myself, Mary!! It is Saturday morning and I will be going into withdrawal as I am going out to breakfast and have to wait for replay of the Saturday sewers wonderland…

  6. Jo
    | Reply

    You go girl!

  7. Jeanann Montney
    | Reply

    I get it, but I immediately thought of pressing versus ironing when I scanned your title. 🙂

  8. Helen
    | Reply

    Press on!

  9. Karen
    | Reply

    Happy Press Week, Mary!

  10. rita penner
    | Reply

    Words from an adrenaline junkie 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *