Tales From Deep Time, coming soon

After a number of false starts, I have finally started work on a "best of Laelaps" anthology. I am going to call it Tales From Deep Time, and it is going to be a sort of "b-sides" compilation that will complement my other, professional book-in-progress about paleontology and evolution. This blog has thrived on material I wanted to include in the other book but had to leave on the cutting room floor, and I look forward to presenting these miscellaneous tidbits in a more professional manner.

I am doing more than just cutting and pasting blog entries, though. Right now I am in the process of editing (and in some cases re-writing) about 50 posts I have selected for inclusion in the anthology. The book will also contain new illustrations and several new original essays. As such Tales From Deep Time is not going to simply be a repackaging of old material. It is an attempt to realize the potential of some of the pieces I have posted here during the last two years.

As it presently stands, the plan is to release this collection via Lulu.com. Doing so should make it widely available and will eventually allow it to become available at Amazon.com and other outlets. I am hoping to have it available before Christmas.

If you are already a fan of this blog I think you will really love what I am putting together.

More like this

Today is my 27th birthday. To celebrate Tracey and I were planning on visiting Philadelphia's Mutter Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences, but given the deep accumulation of snow we thought better of going into the city. I can still celebrate by sharing something with you, though. Presented…
The day before yesterday, my copy of The Open Laboratory 2007, the second annual science blogging anthology, arrived in the mail. So yesterday, Reed and I met at a coffee shop and looked it over. It looks great! Reed knows what he's doing and is a perfectionist, so of course the book looks…
Back in November I mentioned that I might possibly follow in Ed's footsteps and put together a "Best of Laelaps" collection. The only problem was that it was difficult to pick out posts I was proud of; I didn't want to put out an embarrassing collection of slapdash essays. By the beginning of…
I know you've all been waiting for this. Well, after two all-nighters, the deed is done. Under the fold is the final list of 50 posts that will be included in the anthology. There may be some small changes if some of the authors refuse (or never get back to me in the first place), but I have a…

First of all, hooray! :-)

I found that it takes a while for books printed through Lulu to appear on Amazon: they get entered into the Amazon database, then show up as "out of print" for a while. . . I gotta say, being the author of an "out of print" book made me feel old! One option to try is to publish simultaneously through Lulu and through Amazon's CreateSpace.com. The print quality of the two services is, in my experience, comparable, and the production cost per book is somewhat lower on CreateSpace; however, books on CreateSpace can only be sold through Amazon's venues. I was able to use the same formatting configuration (margins, etc.) for both Lulu and CreateSpace.

Don't forget to allow yourself time for a couple rounds of proofreading. The first time I ordered a test copy from Lulu, it turned out that the gutter spacing was too narrow, making the text start inconveniently close to the binding. It was easy to fix, but stuff like that can't really be spotted until you have a physical book in hand.

Being a physics nerd, I typeset my book with LaTeX. Learning the LaTeX language and converting your manuscript into it might be overkill, although it sure produces pretty output, and the system is geared for scholarly writing, so cross-referencing and indexing and footnoting are all straightforward to do. (I think I somehow missed giving you a copy at ScienceOnline '09; if you'd like, I'd be happy to drop one in the mail so that you can judge the printing quality, which is probably more worth discussing than the content.)

I also tried making a Kindle version (because, well, why not). It's a bit of a pain: the automatic converter programs which Amazon provides on their do-it-yourself Kindle Store website mangle formatting something awful. I think the best bet is to convert to HTML first, which is still a hassle.

Thanks, Blake! Perhaps things have changed since you made your book? It seems that now Lulu provides templates for Word which I can then convert into PDF form and upload. It does make things a lot simpler. Thank you for the tips about CreateSpace, &c., too. I will definitely look into that!

Glad to be of service!

I think Lulu had those Word/OpenOffice templates on hand last winter, when I was futzing around; LaTeX is a different game, though, and I had to experiment a little to get things arranged just right. Going for a wraparound cover image instead of separate front and back images was also a little tricky. "Hmmm, is it good like this, or do I need to shift fifteen pixels to the left?" etc.

Can't wait! A dead-tree issue would be great, too.

By doug livesey (not verified) on 05 Aug 2009 #permalink

Doug; Yes, as long as everything goes a planned it will be available in electronic form, in hardcover, and in paperback. Right now I am running through about one essay a day, so at this rate everything should be ready before the end of the year.

I am looking forward to this!

By Stevo Darkly (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink