Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Lessons Learned From Becoming a Self-Publisher on the Web, by David Strom

Develop a Production System

Just like running a "real" print magazine, you need to develop a production system and stick to it, and resist any temptations to fiddle with it. The fiddling is the hard part: after all, many of us are still enamored with many technologies and like fooling around with new stuff. But it can have dire consequencies: After moving from a Mac to a Win95 machine to do my own text preparation, I also moved from an old version of Mac MS Word to the latest Win95 version of Lotus Word Pro. The smart quotes on WordPro and the way it automatically converted html were stumbling blocks that took a few tries to perfect. Every time I deviated from the previous production system in the guise of "improvements" I created more problems than I solved. I was amazed (and then pleased) with how many of my reader/viewers wrote back and told me about the problems with these damn quotes: it was a little thing, but it showed me that A) I need to be more careful in producing my work and B) I have a loyal audience who cares just as much about quality as I do (and maybe even a little more).

[]December describes the evolution of CMC Magazine's production system.

Sometimes it is tempting to try out new techniques and methods--but make sure they work and double check everything before you go live with that latest upload from the field. Back in the print era, this was relatively easy for a publisher to do--if the words didn't fit right on the page, it was a simple feedback loop to make any changes. Online, the best feedback loop you have is when you reader/viewers drop you a note on email saying something doesn't look right or a link is broken. That brings up my next point concerning --graphics.

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