A woman’s search to publish her poetry book

Photo of cover of Possible Grace letterpress-printed book
A commissioned work by Elva Cowdery

Her bucket list book

When Elva Cowdery contacted me a few years back, she had a bucket list of projects to complete, one of which was to publish a poetry book she had written.  As with many projects on our bucket lists, her book rested there for sometime until it finally reached the top.  It was then that she started searching for someone to help make her poetry-book dream a reality.  When I picked up the phone the day Elva called, I was graced to meet a wonderful lady, but a woman who was lost about how to proceed.

I told her I needed to understand her vision for her book–who was she writing it for, how many copies did she want, how did she plan to distribute it and did she have samples of books that particularly appealed to her?  Did she want a hard cover or soft cover book, what size did she envision it being, did she have any particular paper in mind and did the book include any images or would it strictly be text?

I assured her I would put together a quote, but did ask if she could send me what she had written so I could get a better idea of how much time and expense would be involved in setting the text into type.  With the text in hand and an  idea of what Elva wanted her book to look like, we agreed on a price and I began typesetting.  I sent her proofs of the typeset text and paper samples and soon began the actual printing and binding.

Possible Grace poetry book by Elva CowderyFear held her back from starting her project

When I delivered her books, Elva commented on how easy the entire process was and what a relief it had been to check another project off her bucket list.  Among the reasons she had delayed work on the book was fear that it would be too  complicated, but, as she wrote in a note to me, her book came together seamlessly. In her own words: “Since the publication of Possible Grace I’ve often recommended Superior Letterpress to those who admired the quality and elegance of the printing.  I also make a point of mentioning  how much I appreciated your patience, kindness, and personal attention to detail while working with a novice like myself!  You made the entire experience less daunting and more rewarding than I ever imagined it could be.”

Taking the first step along your road to letterpress publishing

Of course, there are many factors that contribute to making your book a reality.  First, you must analyze your vision for your book and decide how you anticipate distributing it.  And then you should search out letterpress shops to work with someone who has specific experience creating books and will be able to help you through the process from giving you a realistic quote both for the book’s cost and for its production timeline.  Not every letterpress printer is a book printer or book binder, so interview possible printers and get some references so you find one with whom you will be comfortable working.  Good luck on your project and your adventure into the world of letterpress publishing.

Until later . . .

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