You don’t have to spend much time around the publishing world to hear the term Print-on-Demand (POD). It’s a process in which books are digitally printed as they are purchased rather than printed in bulk and stored until sold. For a publisher who only intends to sell a few copies it’s a convenient option. That convenience comes at a price, though. The quality of POD a book is notably sub-par offering very few options for paper color, paper weight, cover stock, cover coating, size, etc. And on top of this lack of creative flexibility, a POD book will often cost as much as $10-15 to print leaving very little margin for an author or publisher to make a living. From the inception of the Rabbit Room Press, it was pretty clear that Print-on-Demand wasn’t the direction we wanted to go. I think it’s incredibly important that the physical book be as well-conceived and well-designed as the writing on its pages. I want to create things that are as beautiful to hold and look at as they are to read. That’s something I couldn’t achieve with current POD technology.
So instead, The Fiddler’s Gun was printed in the traditional way, with an offset printer. Offset printing allows me to print high-quality books at a very low cost. The downside is that there’s a minimum print run of about 1500 copies. Printing that many books at once costs a pretty big chunk of money, so it’s a risk that I can’t afford to take lightly. But thanks to the gracious patrons of The Fiddler’s Gun who helped defer that cost, I was able to create a book that I think is a cut above the average trade paperback (not to mention the average POD book).
The Fiddler’s Gun wasn’t perfect, though. The cover laminate wasn’t quite what I wanted, there were a few missteps in the typesetting, too many typos made it into the final text, things like that. I’m looking forward to correcting these and other issues when Fiddler’s Green is printed.
It’s shaping up to be a beautiful book. You can see a sneak peek at the cover art above. I think it’s clear that Evie has stepped up her game (which is saying a lot considering the amazing work she did on the first cover). The editing of the manuscript is an ongoing process that’s nearly complete and I’m working with the printer to nail down a few extra decorative elements that I think will greatly enhance the look of the final printing. In short, it’s coming along swimmingly (yes, swimmingly).
A lot of folks have asked if they’ll have a chance to be a patron of Fiddler’s Green and the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Look for more details on that in the next couple of months.