Saturday, March 10, 2007

Now I get to talk about what just happened!

It has been really quiet here because I was working on the Journal and some smaller things - but it has all added up to a ridiculously large pile of stuff to do. Now's a good time to explain what is up.

The cover articles for BrickJournal 7 have been on the radar since October, and the date  for publication was set for mid March. This sounded fine then, and even in December, as Issue 6 was slated to be done.

Well, the production to Issue 6 went behind schedule considerably, mainly because I was trying to make things more efficient. Really. I started using a collaborative website to have the proofers read articles before  layout -- which sounds great on paper, but failed. What happened was that one of the two proofers never got notification of incoming files, which hasn't been figured out.

When that happened I got the articles proofed the old-fashioned way - and got more stories. The End of Year Issue needed event reports, and they came in. A LOT came in. This is good, but it started to strain the resources of the magazine.

By a funny coincidence, this about the time that the European Bureau was started. Thanks to Jan Beyer's request,  in December and January, the staff  of writers doubled. I also got a person in Europe that can keep track of what's going there and can contact Jan quickly on things (hi Mel!) - that has proven to be a Very Good Move. This was around December, and Issue 6 was still being set up.

And I was busy on trips(!) doing reporting it was getting stressful.

January, things got really tripped up. Issue 6 was progressing, but I got a call from Jan to move up BrickJournal 7 to the beginning of March! I was planning mid March, so two weeks was a definite problem.

Now the reasons for this are obvious now - the two products were launching. Back then, though, it was not as clear, as delivery dates weren't clear...and the Café Corner was going to be in catalogs not delivered!!

During this time, though, there were some positive things that happened. Issue 6 was finally released in February, and in January, the plan for Issue 7 was worked on and taken care of by me and Mel on teh European side - she was able to get articles for Issue 7 inside of two weeks! And I sent things to proof almost immediately so things would be ready  for layout as soon as possible. With two new layout artists, my load would drop, which was reallyhelpful.

So I had to make some command decisions - I had to force Issue 6 out (yes, force is the right word - it was so big that it sorta sat there and I wasn't going as fast as I am used to), and after some prodding, it went February. So now I had about a month to get things done....not the best situation to be in.

Things got more complicated, though, when the Hobby Train was placed on an information embargo - nothing could be released on it until, it appeared, after the release of Issue 7 - I was looking at the possibility of not having it in the issue, and that would be a major loss.

So some discussions were done, and with a little effort, the dates got coordinated. So it was off to the races!

Layouts were done with assistance of Bill Jacob and Didier Enjary, who gave a different look to heir pages - which is a good thing! My design skills are set toward speed, but not necessarily a really nice design. Having more layout designers will help me out and the mag out as we start learning from each other. And we have another layout person coming onboard - actually two! So the look of BrickJournal will hopefully get sharper in the next couple of issues.

And somehow, the mag was finished one day early. Really. Thanks to the help of the  writers, photographers, and senior staff, this issue was done in record time. I'm impressed. And pretty proud.

The really great thing is that BrickJournal will be doing more articles with the LEGO Group of this type. It's really a testament to all of those who have worked on BrickJournal to see TLG work with us on such a high level of confidence. It's something to be proud of and staff should be!

Next issue is in I can rest:-)

And post more here!

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