Tips ’n Tricks
How to Reduce the Cost of Author’s Alterations
AAs are a fact of layout life. Hyphenation preferences, unnoticed errors in the supplied files, too much text to fit the available pages or space — all of these changes mean the layout artist will have to do additional work on subsequent versions of your layout, resulting in AA charges. The goal is to minimize these and a little advance planning can go a long way helping you reduce these costs.
AAs are inevitable. Planning for them in advance when you are putting together your budget avoids surprises at invoice.
1. Build AAs into your original budget
AAs are inevitable. Planning for them in advance when you are putting together your budget avoids surprises at invoice. A good benchmark is to add an additional 15% to the layout cost. From our extensive experience, this is a typical figure. If your project ends up with lower AAs, you’re a rock star and you can stop reading now! If they end up higher, read on for cost-saving tips.
2. Get a fresh pair of eyes
You’ve proofed, read and re-read the text until you can’t bear to look at it again. Asking someone who’s never seen it to read through it one more time is highly recommended. Ask them to be especially vigilant checking web addresses, financial information, and telephone numbers.
3. Wait until the text is truly “final”
Even if your deadline is yesterday, resist the urge to send your text to layout until every person with signoff authority has approved it. Sending unapproved text to layout will easily cost as much time in AAs as you thought you’d gain by sending it out early.
4. Verify AAs from other sources
If your text has been circulated for input, be sure to review everyone’s changes to ensure they are accurate, and consistent. Don’t leave comments or questions unanswered. In other words, if someone writes, “Shouldn’t this amount match the total on page 8?”, resolve the query and indicate the approved change and ensure all comments are gathered in one document to avoid confusion.
5. Compile your AAs into larger batches
Without a doubt, this is the best way to reduce your AA costs. For every set of AAs you submit, the process is the same. Your Marcomm Advisor has to receive the changes. Our production manager has to schedule them. The layout artist has to access your job and review the AAs. After all of the changes are made, the file must be printed out and proofread by our quality control team. The new layout must then be sent to you.
The reality is, whether you have four changes or 14, the process takes virtually the same amount of time. So, the more individual sets of AAs you submit, the more time will add up. Also, too many versions floating around increase the risk for added error. You’ll save time and considerable money by consolidating all input into one document for each round of AAs before sending them to your service provider.
6. Mark your AAs clearly on a copy of the layout
It may seem obvious, but providing us with AAs well-marked on a laid out product clearly showing the required changes is a simple and effective way to minimize your AA charges. The most ideal way is to use Adobe Acrobat commenting tools. This way the designer can copy and paste the change.
You can also provide a marked up copy via fax. Remember to write clearly. If our designer has problems understanding your handwriting, it will take them longer and cost more. Plus, if your changes are unclear, there is a greater risk of error or misinterpretation.