V1.0: the origin

The book(s) evolve every time a new edition is made. The evolution has different forms. It can evolve in content, in form, in process or other types. Since it is the first iteration, there has been no evolution but rather the creation. Below you can find the practical origin story of the work.

In short: how did we get to V1.0?

Step 1: selection of the source material

On the origin of species cover
The original book by Charles Darwin

The idea of the project was to take a well known book and transform it. I had to take in a few mandatory factors, but also a few factors that would aid in edit ability, marketing and most of all: legal.

a. The book should be freely available to edit and work on. This brought me to Project Gutenburg. Here you can find hundreds of books that are free to download and read. Amazing work by this organization! Well worth checking out.

b. The book should be in English. This has to do with both edit ability and marketing. Since I work on a western style computer it would be easiest to work on. Marketing wise, within the scope of language that I speak, English has the most potential readers.

c. The book should be as well known as possible. Since the idea was to get the book out there, marketing is important. So the choice should reflect a work that is widely known.

This led me to On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin. This book is well known, controversial, English language and first published in 1859. All the boxes are ticked.

Step 2: Making an edit able version

I downloaded the txt version of the book to work on but, with all due respect to ould be freely available to edit and work on. This brought me to Project Gutenburg, I had to trim the excess fat by removing all marketing content from them. This left me with a sleek txt file.

Yet, I couldn’t do what I wanted to. Since I had access to Microsoft Excell, I tried to load all the text in there but it was to big. So I did it chapter by chapter. This produced a pretty big file but maneagable.

Step 3: The count

The object here was to get to a number count of every letter per title and chapter.

a. I didn’t want to divide lower case and upper case so I made a column of all capital letter.

b. I made a formula that went into this cell and counted the number a specific character was used in this cell. The formula looked something like this:


I use a Belgian/Dutch version of MS Excell so that’s why the formulas might look weird to you.

c. I made all the cells that check the specific characters in the alphabet and the most common punctuation marks. Unfortunately I didn’t do a rollback check if I missed specific characters. That is something to do in a next version.

Step 4: Concatenate

Now I know in each line, each chapter, each title how many times a specific letter is used. This step produced all these letters in order and printed them back one after the other.

a. Make a cell that prints the letter “A” the number of times we discovered.

b. Repeat this for all chosen letters and characters.

c. Merge these letter sequences one after the other. Due to limitations of Excel, this was done by combining cells and repeating the process.

d. Repeat for all chapters.

Step 6: Word!

The object of the step is to produce a text file that can be used to have the book printed.

a. Copy line by line from Excel To Word, making sure to abide by the rules of the paragraphs, line- and page breaks.

b. Edit all copy to mimic the first word of a sentence: Capital letter followed by lower case letters.

c. Edit the format: heading formats, header and footer text.

d. Write the final chapter of the book.

e. Edit font, font size, margins and more formatting.

f. Export to pdf.

Step 6: Print(1)!

Now the content is written: have it printed. I needed to find someone to print this thing. After some desk research I found a local firm that printed relatively cheap but more importantly: completely on demand: 24bookprint.com. But wait, there is more. You can’t just give them a pdf.

Step 7: cover

The cover of the first version
V1.0 cover

A book needs a cover, of course. So I took the original cover and tried to remain very close to it. I didn’t want to confuse people that wanted to buy the original, but I still wanted to be as close to it as possible. Since I don’t have the unlimited budget to purchase Photoshop, it’s all made online in pixlr.

Step 8: extra copy

The online printing service needed more copy about the book. What type is it? How long? Who is the writer? Why should you buy it? All very difficult questions.

Step 9: Print(2)!

Now all the copy was written, it was to to print and example. And behold, it was glorious and made me very happy.

Step 10: web!

Since I was happy with the book, I needed a place to advertise it and here you are! So it worked!

Step 11: repeat and goto V1.1!

Leave a Comment