'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 26 October 2009

Riley and the Dancing Lion - one week til printing!!

Can you tell I've been a leeeetle bit busy? Haven't even had time for book reviews.

Coupled with my Writer in Residence programme, my writing for Australian Women Online and various other projects, it's been tough getting Book Two sorted. Suddenly, it dawned on me a few weeks ago that Christmas is, like, next week, and more than that - the next Handmade market is on 20/21 November.

So what does this mean?

Handmade Upmarket is just the most amazing market ever. Held here in Canberra, and only a relative newcome to the, er... market market, it attracts astounding numbers. And being the 'night before Christmas' market - well, I know I can make back a decent percentage of my considerable printing costs if I can have the book ready in time.

To fill you in on the past couple of months, I've managed to find a printer. I asked for quotes from about 10 companies, Australia-wide and was really shocked at how several didn't even think it was worth offering a quote, considering I had already printed in China - and they could come nowhere near offering China's prices.

Interesting, then, that I had never expected a 'China price' - but rather an Australian price (how to lose business in one fell swoop). Turns out that the Australian price is actually not as outrageous as I feared. Sure, I'll have to jack up the retail price of the next book to cover the costs, but it's all doable.

So I'm going with Ligare Book Printing and Publishing. The lovely Debbi from Ligare has not only provided with me with a competitive quote, she has also given me superlative customer service - and that's what tipped me into the Ligare print pool.

I already had my ISBN, having bought a block of ten last year (have now used three, how exciting) and my barcode only took a couple of days to sort through Thorpe Bowker. My Cataloguing in Publication entry data was also sorted nice and quickly through the National Library, and everything is pretty much in place. Once I'm printed, I'll start listing the book with online cataloguing services like Global Books in Print.

I've begun saving completed pages to print-ready PDF file, and the printer has advised all is good via a sample file. This is a smart thing to do to save yourself the worry of redoing your files later.

FYI - if your files are too big to send by email, you can send them via a fab website that allows you to send files as large as 2G. www.yousendit.com. Brilliance.

I'm now in the process of pedantically poring over files to check for errors and to make them look beautiful. I've also put some printer's marks on the corners of the first few pages, to make the job easier (and faster) for Ligare.

Oh, and I also finished WRITING the story this morning. Yes, it's been that kind of book. Knew the ending but didn't know how to pen it until this morning. And it's beautiful. Ahhh - it feels good to trust the innate creative process.

Another thing I've been doing is beating my beautiful illustrator over the head with a very large paint brush (or should I say computer pen) to get artwork finished on time for printing. I've been absolutely HORRID about it and thank goodness this talented man has a glorious sense of humour and big heart - because his pictures are rolling in and are truly capivating.

Only 4 or 5 more to go and we're done (and he's done all the drafts of these). I hope to have the files off by Friday and printing to start next week. This means I'll have books delivered by 19 November, just in time for the Handmade Upmarket on 20 Nov. Fingers, eyes, toes, ovaries crossed.

I just have to say, may you all be so fortunate as to find an illustrator like Kieron Pratt. My Lord, it makes this whole overwhelming self-publishing journey a kajillion times easier.

So, this post is dedicated to you, Kieron. Love your work, love your cupcakes, and here's to a fantastical book launch!

More soon.