I started click! Publishing Services in 2000 with more than 10 years of experience in printing and publishing already under my belt. My first real client—the production manager at Penn State Press—was hesitant to hire “unknown” freelance compositors because she’d just gotten burned by one. With a little trepidation, though, she agreed to give me a try; a college friend of hers with whom I worked at the time was nice enough to put in a good word for me and clinch the deal. PSU Press is still a client.
Since that wobbly start, I’ve laid out hundreds of educational and university-press books. Some of them I’ve gotten to design, and I’ve picked up an award or two along the way. I’ve created some identity packages, composed some newsletters, built a couple websites. I’ve created lots of simple and moderately complex diagrams for many of my projects, and I’ve served as the packager for a growing number of them. I’ve traveled to client sites to provide training, and couple of my clients call me regularly for advice on this or that aspect of the process. I’m happy to share my experience with them or to troubleshoot a problem. I find that kind of interaction particularly satisfying.
My professional life really began in 1988 when I cut my publishing teeth as an English undergraduate at Youngstown State University. I proofread, designed, and typeset articles for a quarterly newsletter (using PageMaker on a PC) and a triennial journal (using LaTeX and a Compugraphic imagesetter) published by the College English Association. After graduating, I moved to Columbus, Ohio and started working for service bureaus outputting high-resolution film and prints for clients and learning about the printing process and about industry software like Freehand and QuarkXPress. I spent many hours sitting on the floor behind the Linotronic L-300 with a parallel printer cable connecting the imagesetter to our sole PC and trying to figure out how to interface the two. Prentice Hall hired me in 1994, and I spent four years with them developing a more refined understanding of what goes into book production. Most of my work at Prentice Hall was vetting designs for technical accuracy and conformance to house standards, but I also got to do some network management, a little budgeting, and a lot of macro development. Finally, I worked for a year managing the production department and the network at now a defunct full-service company before enrolling at The Ohio State University to earn a master’s degree in English.
I spend a lot of my free time in the warmer months helping to maintain the parks and green spaces in my neighborhood and organizing litter pickups, invasive plant species abatements, public-space development, and so on. I managed a public-art competition among Columbus College of Art and Design students, and my neighborhood added four sculptures to its collection as a result. I’ve also been fortunate to orchestrate an even more ambitious program to add a fifth sculpture by an established artist.
I write a travel blog when I’m able to get out of town. My most exciting trip to date—and the impetus for the blog—has been with two friends to see the Angkor ruins in Cambodia and to tour Bhutan. When I win the lottery, travel is going to be my number 1 budget item.