Before I talk about my other news for the day, I’d like to apologize for the slow pace of posts these past couple of days. I’ve been busy on a number of fronts, including the technical backend work on this blog and others operating under the Clarksbury banner.
I’ve downloaded and installed two plugins to help in the ongoing fight against the scourge of comment spam. One is the Spam Firewall plugin. It complements Movable Type’s spam-fighting features by identifying common spam before it even hits the MT system, eliminating it right away and saving system resources. It also helps you encrypt your comment and trackback scripts, making them harder for spammers to find.
Spam Firewall has not eliminated spam, but I have noticed a significant reduction in the number of hits, so I have every confidence that the program is doing what it says it does and is reducing the use of my webhost’s system resources.
The other plugin, created by the same guys, MT Hacks is called Blog Janitor, which works in the background and closes comments and trackbacks on posts older than a time period you specify. It also looks through your most recent comments and deletes duplicate posts.
Before Movable Type hit version 3.0 and unleashed its spam fighting capabilities, one of the more common methods of fighting spam was a set of plugins which closed comments on old posts. When the new MT was unveiled, work on these plugins stopped, as there appears to be a strong preference for keeping comments open, regardless of their age, so as not to stifle the conversation.
Well, tough. On most of my old posts, the conversation is complete, and leaving all of my old posts open means an ever-increasing maintenance job if spam does get through. If people really wanted to talk to me, they could drop me an e-mail, but my protestations fell on deaf ears, until now. Blog Janitor effortlessly and elegantly does the work the increasingly rickety old plugin used to do, and I feel a lot better for it. Kudos to the guys at MT Hacks.
Anyway, to the main announcement of this article. The substantive edits and the copy edits are in, and I’ve just been sent the page proofs for Fathom Five. I enclose a sample of the first page:
Page proofs are the final, last chance, you’d better make sure all the typos are out, version of the story. The author and a number of editors receive a draft of the book, laid out as it would appear in print, and given a short amount of time to read the thing over to make sure that it is in the form they want it to be.
Some publishing houses send out page proofs in dead tree format. Some even bind the page proofs up with blank covers (they sometimes send these out to reviewers, so they can be read in time for the reviews to appear as the book comes out). Dundurn saves paper and probably a fair chunk of change by sending out the page proofs in PDF format.
Short of receiving the book itself, it’s possibly the most exciting moment of the publishing process. It’s like Christmas Eve: the book is almost here.
If I find any typos, I have until next Monday to send them in (I’ll have to do it separately, noting page number and line number). The book will be off to the printer after that, and I think we can expect copies to be in my hands by the end of March.
And, of course, the cover looks gorgeous