From finished manuscript to press in 9 days.
"We had to roll the final stages of copyediting and quality control into the writing schedule," says Davidson. Normally, these steps would add several weeks to the tail end of the project. "By conducting copy editing and quality assurance simultaneously with the layout process, we could get the book to market much faster."
HOW IT WAS DONE
It certainly didn't hurt the effort that Davidson was a bit of a high-tech guru—he's a software developer and consultant who specializes in Mac OS X, Java, XML and open source technologies. He set up a concurrent versioning system (CVS) on his Macintosh server to track file versions, make backup copies, allow everyone involved to check files in and out, and to track progress.
He then began creating Adobe InDesign templates to mirror O'Reilly's format and style, and authored the book in both InDesign and Adobe InCopy software, which work together. No one on the team required formal training on InCopy. "InCopy and InDesign are both highly intuitive," says Chuck Toporek, senior editor for O'Reilly. "Duncan showed us how to use InCopy with a quick five-minute demonstration. It's that simple."
As chapters came together, Davidson posted them to a secure Internet site for everyone's access. The combination of InDesign and InCopy allowed Davidson and the O'Reilly staff to work in parallel.
As Davidson wrote chapters, flowed text into the template and adjusted the layout, the copy editor checked out files to make corrections and insert comments for the author and editor. Editors were able to visualize each page, fitting copy precisely into the layout and taking advantage of features in InCopy, such as change tracking to make edits while retaining the original text in InCopy, separate from the layout in InDesign.
"Especially with features such as the ability to toggle back and forth to view copy in the context of an InDesign layout, the combination of InCopy and InDesign saves hours when copyediting each chapter," says Davidson.