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Well. It's been a day. Mostly a pleasant day, not a perfect day.

I got up early (woke at 6 a.m., couldn't go back to sleep, stayed up), and answered some fiction submissions. I took Heather to the BART station, then went to Mama's Royal Café for breakfast. After that I came home, and spent four hours reading The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl. It's actually a good book! I was terrified that, upon re-reading, I would objectively hate it, but I like it a lot. I found a couple of artifacts from a previous draft that I wish I'd caught earlier -- sentences that referred to a prior scene which was deleted completely! -- but, apart from that and a few typos and consistency issues, I didn't find any major problems. Yay!

I heard from my editor today. She's done marking up the manuscript, and is sending that to me soon. She's working on the editorial letter, and should have that ready in a few days. So before long, I expect to be elbows-deep in revisions!

There's also a tentative publication date, now -- December 2005. Could still change, but that's the current best guess. Just in time for the holidays!

Then, just a little while ago, I went to pick up Flytrap #3 from the copy shop. It's a good news/bad news situation, I'm afraid. Bad news: They didn't give us a card stock cover. The guy who took the order apparently didn't write that part down (though I know he knew about it, because when he was counting the pages, he began by saying "Card stock cover," and then counting the inside pages). I should've double-checked the paper work. Mea culpa. No card stock cover means we have to put it in envelopes to mail it, and it doesn't look as classy, but it's not horrendously debilitating. The cover at least looks pretty good, unlike the glossy-cardstock cover we tried for issue #1, which got smudged badly in transit, and which had a low-res cover image, due to printer's error. More bad news: It's just not as crisp as it should be. I know what I'm getting when I go to a copy shop. They print a nice, crisp original, and then photocopy it. I can accept that. But they needed to change the toner or something, because there's a little dot-gain in the images (though they're nice and hi-res, at least) and the text isn't as crisp as I'd like. It's readable, so it's not a situation where I felt I could throw the 'zines at them and tell them to do it over again, but it's not ideal.

But, the good news. The guy at the copy shop who actually did the job is a former 'zinester himself, and he really liked the issue, so he gave us a crazy good discount, shaving off prices on everything, and it was about $100 cheaper than I'd expected. It's hard to be mad at a guy who gives you a deal like that.

So, the upshot. Issue #3 doesn't look as good as issue #2 did -- that one was pretty much perfect, from a production standpoint. It's like issue #1, in that there's shit wrong with it, but it's stuff that bothers me more than it's likely to bother any readers. It bothers me a lot, but I utterly lack objectivity.

Heather and I have made a pledge, though. For issue #4, we're going to finish production way early, so we actually have time to get proofs done! The past two issues, we've been up against our deadlines (we needed issue #2 in time for Wiscon, and issue #3 in time for the World Fantasy Convention), so we didn't have time to get proofs form the printer. (Of course, we did get proofs for issue #1, and they still screwed up, which is why we don't use that printer anymore!) This whole 'zine-making thing, it's an ongoing learning process.

Anyway, I'll put up images and ordering information and whatnot pretty soon, and subscriber copies will mail next week sometime, probably. It's a very good issue, with some amazing fiction and poems, great nonfiction, fabulous art. It's just the production I'm not thrilled with. Ah, well. Maybe it's for the best. Perfection offends the gods.

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