The Bookshelf

The journey from rough draft to published book

Bearded man smiling and holding paperback book of chess problems

When leading chess problemist Allan Bell came to me for a bespoke book, he had already done most of the hard work.

His draft version, created in Microsoft Word, was a lot more complete than most of the materials I am normally given to make into a book, but it still needed to be made ready for printing. The finished version I made stays true to the original style, but with added design touches.

Together, we decided on a new size for the book – Allan wanted the pages and diagrams to be clear and readable, but the overall size to be small enough to carry easily and read on a bus or train journey.

I chose a high quality paper and cover card, re-worked the front and back cover design, and used new typefaces for contrast and visual interest.

The silk-finish paper enhanced the look of Allan’s international tournament photos, especially after I used Photoshop to optimise them for printing and arranged them throughout the book in simple but punchy page layouts.

Now “Outside the Box” has been distributed, and the reviews are coming in. Here is a flavour of how it is being received:

“Very nicely done! …sent me back to my chessboard today.”

“…my first dip into it has been a pure pleasure. I am ever so impressed by the production standards (the photos, which vividly convey the character of the various subjects, are a delight), and by the beautifully-styled aesthetic musings in the introduction.”

“…a ray of sunshine has come through my letter box … beautifully produced”