Why letterpress works so well with poetry book publishing
Poetry books and letterpress printing are meant for each other. I have learned that through the work I have done to typeset, letterpress print and hand bind books for people across the United States. When my customers approached me they had two primary concerns: letterpress printing will cost too much and letterpress printing will take too long. These objection really masked a fear that remained unstated, but which I knew they had. The boogeyman in the closet was the physical distance between them and me: how could that geographic barrier be bridged?
How modern technology makes old technology work
It took some reassuring to calm their fear, but in the end each came away realizing that modern technology basically has made where we work immaterial. We can live and work in the desert or in the mountains, we can call the city home or revel living in a village in some distant outpost, and in the end it really doesn’t matter. We all have the internet, we have UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service, we have our portable phones and keeping in touch and working through design and production questions is as easy modem to modem as it is face to face. Once we crossed that divide, then we could deal with the stated concern of price and production schedules.
So what’s the deal about letterpress price and production time?
While it isn’t possible to give an instant quote on what your poetry book will cost, I will note some of the factors that go into developing your quote and estimating the time it will take to deliver your completed book. [Contact me for a detailed quote on your book]. A quote will be based on the number of pages your book will run and on the size of those pages, on the kind of paper used, on whether a single or multiple ink colors will be used, on the binding process used [paperback, hardcover] and on the number of copies you want. I can typeset your book using letterpress-designed fonts, or I can accept PDF images of text you have created. The former involves paying for my time to do the typesetting, but with hot metal type you get type that was designed specifically for letterpress printing. Alternately, you can create your own PDF images and I can work with them to make printing plates. The latter process takes advantage of your own typesetting time and any special design features you select, but electronic type generally is inferior for letterpress printing. As you may imagine, the more pages your book runs, the introduction of additional ink colors and the choice of binding desired all influence the time it will take to deliver your book. [Again, I will project a delivery date when I have a clear picture of what your book will look like.]
How thinking ahead will save you money and heartache.
You can save yourself a great deal of money and heartache by thinking through all the details of your book before actual production work begins. If you decide to edit your text while the typesetting is being done, such author alterations will be charged and can get to be expensive. You should realistically think through the number of books you want, noting that under estimating means additional press runs and those are costly and time consuming. But warehousing unsold copies is an expense you simply don’t need. Authors dream of having a best seller on their hands, but poetry books generally don’t reach such lofty status. Unless you have a ready market for sales and distribution, a safe number to consider ordering [from my personal experience] is between 100 and 200 copies. But deciding the press run is part of your job as publisher.
Send me your book details
I have spent years streamlining the typesetting and printing processes so that I can create letterpress books that are competitively priced and a pleasure to hold. I look forward to hearing from you. Together, let’s consider the letterpress option for your poetry book.
Until later . . .