What do I need to do, as an author?
Authors are important - you write the book, suggest (or create) artworks and graphics, and provide the expertise on which a book is built. And it's also important that you know that the book that's eventually published is as good as you know it could be! One of the most crucial stages of production (especially because it's the last stage) is called 'proofing'. This is the stage when your words, artworks, photos and everything else are brought together with the visual design, turning a bunch of files into a Book.
During this phase, the 'proofs' are checked several times (from as few as 2-3 to as many as 7 or even more!) by different people - usually, you as the author, but also your editor and a professional proofreader - to make sure that:
- all the content is actually present;
- there are no factual errors;
- the design has been consistently followed;
- the photos are all high-resolution and correctly sized;
- all cross-references are correct;
- the table of contents and index match the actual content;
- the pages are readable and logical in layout;
- the book as a whole will attract the readers you want;
- and lots more!
Futureproofs helps you and the rest of the team achieve this. We make it simple for all members of the team to check the page proofs, to enter corrections easily and quickly, to ask and answer queries, to collate the team's input into a single authoritative master proof that the designer can work from to make the changes in InDesign (or whatever layout tool they're using), and then to check the new version against the master proof and make sure that all those changes have been made as desired, and there have been no unintended side-effects (like text reflowing after deletion/insertion of text).
Futureproofs is a web-based application, which means that it runs in your web browser. We support all modern web browsers, and the chances are you already have the software you need.
When you log in, you'll be shown your Futureproofs dashboard. This lists all the projects you are a member of. Initially, there will be an introductory project called "How to use Futureproofs". This steps you through the basics of marking up a proof in Futureproofs - there are more details in the next section here. (You may also see one or more projects that your publisher has made you a member of.)
Marking up a proof
To mark up a proof, you hover your mouse over it on the dashboard and click the 'Check proofs' button that appears. When the proof loads, you'll see a toolbar at the top of the window that provides all the tools you'll need.
The key concept in Futureproofs, though, is that you just draw on the screen with your mouse or trackpad. Futureproofs will then suggest actions to you in a menu, and you choose the one you want. The correct markup (set by the project's owner - BSI or Chicago) is then shown on the screen, and you can make your next correction. When you need to type a correction, you can format your text or even enter Maths.
There are several ways to move around the proofs - you can change page one at a time, jump to a specific page number, browse the book pages visually, use bookmarks or even search for specific words or phrases. (When you've been jumping around, it may be useful to know that you can jump straight back to the page you were viewing immediately before the jump.)
When you're finished, you should mark your proof as complete. This lets your editor or project manager know that you've finished - and also means you won't get any nagging emails about deadlines!
Dealing with queries
On your dashboard, you may notice a notice on the left-hand side about queries. This lets you know when someone else on your team has asked a question about the proof - perhaps they want to check a source or need something rewritten to fit the space available. There are, of course, a huge number of reasons for questions!
To deal with these queries, you hover over your project again and click the 'Queries' button. You will see all the queries for your project, in order. In each case, the full conversation is stored so that it's always clear what decisions have been made. There's a simple button to see each query in context and respond to it.
If you don't respond to your queries, you'll get a reminder email each day, summarising all your queries and giving a link straight to the relevant page of the proof.