Eusebius update

Earlier this week I posted an advert at Student Gems.  It read:

I’m publishing a rather dull academic textbook. It’s going to need a nice dust jacket to sell it. I need someone to design me one.

Something like a picture of the Greek islands and some text.

I’ve had about 10 responses.  Four of them seem like people who know what they are doing and would be usable, and I have messaged them some more details:

The book is an edition and translation of Eusebius of Caesarea’s “Gospel problems and solutions” (=Quaestiones ad Stephanum et Marinum) Greek text + translation ditto Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic fragments.

I’m being influenced by the dustjacket for the following book: (left)

where the cover made *me* buy it, and I never do buy books.

My thinking is for a photograph as cover, with the author name and title on it. Something like the following photo:

(I want to avoid pictures of ruins, I think).

I’m open to other ideas, of course.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this.

Meanwhile I have been looking for a licensable cover image.  No luck so far, tho. seem to have the right sort of stuff.  I haven’t quite seen one I like.


Eusebius update

Bob the typesetter has now emailed me the book in .rtf form.   When the translation goes online, this is what will be used to make the htm files. The rtf’s of the native languages will also get used, I suspect, probably by later editors.  So this stage of the book is done.

I’ve put out an advert for a cover designer, and got a dozen replies.  These I need to reply to, and sift through.  At least one of these has done work with Lightning Source before.

The cover image I had in mind is proving more difficult.  My email to the website where it appeared has not elicted a reply.  So I may need to locate a licensable image. 

I’ve never done anything like that, so will have to investigate.


From my diary

I’ve ordered vols. 2 and 3 of the Loeb edition of Aulus Gellius Attic Nights.   I intended to order them from, but I found that they marked them as unavailable.  Could there be a new edition in the offing, I wonder?  So I ordered them from Book Depository instead.

No news on the Eusebius book except that I am waiting for some paper and cover samples to appear from Lightning Source.  For the hardback, I think I will have a plain cloth cover with lettering on the spine.  I also need to get a publisher’s website up and running — I need to find someone who can do a professional job without charging the earth.

An email arrived in my inbox discussing the technical terminology of Porphyry Ad Gaurum.  This I shall reply to once I get some time.  I’ve already discovered that Porphyry — the commentator on Aristotle — uses the distinction of Aristotle between something being a human being in acte, actually, completely, now, and something being a human being  in potentia, potentially, possibly, having the power to become such.  Since I had never heard of this, before reading the work, I need to do some more on this.


Eusebius update

I have just finished checking over the final PDF of the book (Eusebius of Caesarea, Gospel Problems and Solutions or Quaestiones ad Stephanum et Marinum).  It’s pretty nearly perfect.  There are two small changes to be done, both because I didn’t understand a note from the translator.  But they’re trivial.  Bob the typesetter has understood a pretty chaotic set of changes, and done them all perfectly.

I’ve written to him to ask for the last two tweaks.  I’ve also asked for .RTF files of the whole thing.  One day, remember, this will all go online.  The whole idea of this project is to make the work accessible to as many people as possible.  The RTF’s will allow me to do so.

First, tho, I have to sell some copies to libraries in order to pay for the costs so far.  These are not really huge, in the great scheme of things — perhaps $5,000? — but more than I can just treat as petty cash.  But when the sales come to an end, then we’ll get the thing online.  The book will still be available for purchase, tho — after all, it’s the sort of book which is probably best consulted in paper form.

To do, then:

  1. Decide on a cover, and get one made if need be.
  2. Get the cover to Lightning Source.
  3. Get a professional website for my company (Chieftain Publishing) up with an eCommerce solution, so people can actually buy it.
  4. Get the PDF to Lightning Source for the hardback.
  5. Get hold of the test print and check it is OK.
  6. Send the translators each a free copy.
  7. Send out the handful of other free copies that I have promised or been contractually required to supply.
  8. Send out review copies to three journals.
  9. Do whatever is necessary to make work.
  10. Make sure has the book.
  11. Email everyone on the list of “I am interested in this book”
  12. Get some kind of e-Flyer made (how?)
  13. Tell interested people that the book is available.

Hum.  There’s more things there than I had thought!  I have some free time coming up in a week, tho, so it should be possible to do a lot of these then.


Book cover design with Lightning Source

One of the tasks that I have shirked for the Eusebius book is designing the cover.  That’s mainly because I’ve been too busy with getting the book actually complete, but also because of a misunderstanding.

When you go to, you get an online interactive designer tool.  The results when I have used it have been so-so, but at least you don’t worry about that.  Lightning Source, who will be printing the book, tell you in their blurb about their cover generator.  Naturally I presumed these were the same. 

But it is not so.  What Lightning Source make you do is enter the dimensions of the book and decide on paper and whether it’s hardback etc.  These options are few, but can still confuse.  I long ago decided on 6×9 inches as the trim size, and mentally chose a hardback.  But I did not realise that this choice committed me to creme paper!  Indeed when I started using the form, I naturally chose white paper and couldn’t find any hardback options!   But after trudging through some docs, I realised that, if I want white paper, in that size, it can only be a paper back.  Still, I am committed to 6×9, and to hardback, so I must lump it.  The creme seems to be thicker, and hopefully is better quality.

But the “generator” just emails the info to Lightning Source, who send you back a template file, onto which your design must be placed by you.  This is not an operation for the squeamish, it seems.

My next thought was to hire someone to do it.  After all, surely anyone dealing with Lightning Source will have the same needs?  But a Google search did not bring up much.  So far I have two options:

A few hundred dollars to sidestep this task does not seem unreasonable. 

I’m not quite sure what sort of cover the “hardback” is, either.   I shall explore as I go a long!

There seems to be a choice of “case laminate (hardcover)” and “cloth – blue or grey” and “jacketed”.  The “cloth” option doesn’t list a cover template size.  But cloth is what I vaguely had in mind.  And then I find this:

Cloth-style casebound titles require text copy for spine production. Up to 42 characters (including spaces) may be used to stamp the title, author, and/or other text the publisher designates onto the spine. Characters available include the 26 upper and lowercase letters, numerals 1-10, space, period, comma, hyphen, quote, apostrophe, colon, semi colon, hash/pound sign, question mark, exclamation mark, dollar sign, ampersand, quotation marks, asterisk, and the two parentheses. Text is positioned on the spine of the book as the publisher designates during the title setup process.

The same digital file or hardcopy book may be submitted for paperback and casebound editions provided the trim size is the same, however, a new copyright page containing the ISBN for that format may be needed. A unique ISBN is required by the book industry for each format.

A google search says “casebound” = “hard cover”!  OK: that’s fair enough.

The choices in another PDF manual for hardbacks are “blue cloth”, “blue cloth (with jacket)”, “case laminate”.  Hum.  OK, that’s the same three choices.  But I search for “cloth” and find later on a charge for “Stamped cover (hardcover cloth only), 100% cotton fabric cover w/gold foil author/title on spine)”.    But then I discover that is the US manual.

The UK manual is different again, and clearer in some ways: “Cloth covered books are available in blue or grey. Foil stamping on the front of the book is not available…. and then the same “Stamped cover” bit.  The UK manual insists on using metric, which is annoying.

So it seems if you want cloth, it comes as plain, and with gold stamping on the spine.  Hum.  Well, that’s clear enough… in the end.  In the process of writing this, I’ve found out more than I knew at the start, it seems. 

But in that case, I can see why people go for dust-jackets, tho!  I had some idea of just having a title and logo stamped on the front of the book, as the old Loeb’s did.   But maybe I do need to get a paper cover designed!


From my diary

Lots of emails yesterday and today.

Firstly and most importantly, the PDF containing Eusebius has come back.  This should be the last, final version.  I will check it over at the weekend — otherwise the translator will lynch me — but that means the book is done.  The next stage will be creating a cover, sending it off to Lightning Source, and stuff like that.  I expect to get some free time in 2 weeks, so it may work out quite nicely.  Many thanks indeed to Bob the typesetter!

An email reached me from the translator of Michael the Syrian, asking what a “sar” or “saros” might be.  These terms occur in the Babylonian history of Berossus, as a measure of time.  Berossus is lost, but the Chronicle of Eusebius quotes it, and so these curious terms drift down the centuries.  I offered my best suggestion, and a selection of materials that I gathered on the subject.  Eusebius reckons that a “sar” is 3,600 years, but I suspect it was 18 years.

Another email arrived from a translator, and we may do the Ad Gaurum of Porphyry, on the creation of the soul.  I need to look again at the text and work out a price, and reply (probably tomorrow).


Problems with Eusebius

Three weeks ago I sent a dozen corrections — the last! — to the Latin and the Coptic to Bob, who is typsetting the book.  I’ve heard nothing since, although I’ve sent a reminder.  I greatly fear that they went into the spam folder.

Bob, if you’re reading this, could you confirm you received the two emails?


Eusebius project update

We’re getting very close.  This morning I sat down with the Latin section in the new proof and checked that the typesetter had applied all of the enormous number of revisions made to this section during the main proof-reading.  Only seven glitches, all tiny, compared to the army of changes, additions and deletions of footnotes (all done correctly).

I’ve decided not to fiddle with the font size of the Syriac.  It seems a little small to me, but then my eyes get very tired and I am not a good guide.  What we will do, when we release the printed book for sale, is make the Syriac text available freely online for download.  Then anyone who finds it small can just print it in whatever size they like.  But the last time I looked, it seemed quite readable to me as is.

There were a couple of tweaks to the Coptic as well.

But we’re getting very close.  The only bit I haven’t seen since proof is the Greek fragments.  The Latin was the bit that took a beating, and it was partly my fault and partly the translator’s fault. 

Originally I only intended to print the translation.  But I was seduced into printing a text.  Since that wasn’t part of the deal with the translator, preparing a text fell on me.   The translator of the Greek and Latin rightly considered that revising the text was no part of what he was paid to do, and since he was busy with another project, I couldn’t pay him to do it either.

So I set out to produce a text, but without realising that I do not have enough time these days to do such a thing properly.  We’re all older than we were!

Now I was fortunate with the Greek, in that I was able to negotiate the use of the Sources Chretiennes text (mainly because they were kind to me, rather than through any skills of my own), and also to obtain an electronic version of the fragments.  I paid the translator of the Syriac to prepare a text as well, at something of a premium, and twisted his arm until he vocalised it as well.  He also did the Arabic text.  The Coptic text I had entered by a contact, but we ended up with a load of grave accents not found in the original, which had to be corrected by myself and the typesetter. 

But the Latin text I created myself.  I used my scanner as a basis, and then proofed it.  It was a great strain to do.  It took forever because I have no spare time, I find, and I was stealing an hour here or there in the evenings.  Of course a man tired from work does not proof very well!  So the result was bad, frankly, and that was my fault.  The translator then rescued me, at the proof stage, by correcting all my errors and licking it into shape.  We also switched Latin texts in this process, from Mai’s Latin over to Schenkl’s CSEL text, which didn’t help.

But we’re there.  The Latin is now done, definitely; the Syriac and Arabic likewise, and the Coptic also.  I suspect the Greek is also in shape.  Can a release be far away?!


Eusebius update

Regular readers will know that I commissioned a translation of all the fragments of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Gospel problems and solutions.  This meant translating from Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic and Christian Arabic.  The plan is to sell a book version of the result (with facing text and translation), and, once that has sold whatever it sells, to put the translation online. 

Bob the typesetter has worked his magic, and has sent me back the Latin and Coptic for reproofing, which I will do as soon as I get a few hours.  I was thinking that the Syriac needed to be bumped up a point size or two, but I couldn’t see why on reexamining the printed proof last night.  Maybe it was just winter evenings and inadequate lighting, perhaps?

I’ve also read through the astrological texts I mentioned a couple of posts ago.  These are fine, but entirely technical in nature.  Mind you, one gives the horoscope for the emperor Hadrian!