So, we’re done, we not just funded, but we busted a bunch of stretch goals! Including offset print!
What the @#!!#@ is Offset Print?
The short version is this:
Here’s a link to a chat about the differences between digital and offset printing.
The real kicker – up until I found a printer that would do it just recently, after the Kickstarter launched – is that the choices were “sewn binding, but offset print” or “digital press, but glued-only.”
The print quality for digital printing isn’t quite as good (mostly in color saturation and fidelity) to offset, which is why it’s better.
And digital printing is (roughly) 1/3 the setup cost of offset, but 4x (!!) the per-copy cost. So for very short runs, digital wins. For runs usually in 1,000 copies or more, offset wins on both cost and quality. For the quote I just received, if I need to order 386 copies or more, it’s best to go offset.
I need to order a minimum of 405 books . . . and Backerkit isn’t over . . . so that all works out nicely.
The Quest for Shipping
There’s no question: it’s a pain. It’ll take me a few days to lock down the answer, too, because of course the books have to be printed first, then shipped from there to . . . somewhere. My strategy for trying to keep shipping costs down is evolving, but the offset print run promise means I must print one run, ideally overseas, so I can minimize international shipping. US-based offset, sewn printing just isn’t cost competitive (but it surely is time-competitive . . . there’s no better way to get 1,000 books from the US to the US in a 4-week deadline than some of the local printers here. These guys can be fast, and of course ground shipping inside the USA is a matter of days, not weeks or months like ocean freight).
First thing: I need to finish the book. I made nice progress last night on finishing the Supporting Cast chapter, which is a list of NPC types that one will expect to encounter, plus a list of folks that were killed in the course of some of the background plot workings. Why focus so much time on a bunch of dead folks? Because they had friends and loved ones who are grieving, and need to blame somebody. That’s a powerful motivation, and animates a lot of activity.
This still needs a lot of editing, but you can see what you’re going to see.
After this, I’ve got a few pages of rules – mostly on social situations, which are deliberately given short shrift in the box set in favor of killing folks and taking their stuff – to write, and then whatever page count I have from where I am to 128 pages will be filled with critters. I’ve got placeholders so far, and I know I need to put in a bunch of dragonkin. Then we’ll see!
Editing is catching up with writing very quickly, and Emily will soon find herself waiting for my latest chapter. That’s not ideal, because I prefer to be ahead of that, but it’s not bad, either, because it means that once I do hand over Supporting Cast, the monster chapter, and the additional rules text that I can simply start inserting her edited text into the book. Thus far, her edits have not caused any major problems with reflow – that’s a hazard of layout before editing is complete, but I’d rather iterate.
Once all that is done, I go through and make the Table of Contents and the Index . . . and now that the KS is complete, I can compile the backer list for the “thanks!” page.
Art, Art, Baby
So that’s all words. What about the pictures?
I’m happy to report that the sketches continue to roll in. I’ve added new members to my art team, and I’ll be touting their qualities in future updates. What I can say is that the work I’ve seen so far validates my trust in these folks. Each artist brings their own talents, and what I’m finding is that all of them are able to take my art direction and approach it in ways that vastly improve the composition of each image. They’re really bringing Norðvorn and surrounds to life. What impresses me the most is how much they have done their homework. Getting “authentic Viking” right can be hard due to the amount of Hollywood-ized depictions out there, but one of my artists included a sword in her image that is a classic late-period Peterson Type X.
That’s pretty cool.