Monday, May 30, 2011

Strange Publisher Tales

(file under Stories Only Funny to Me and My Wife and Jim Tells a Boring-Ass Story When it's Just Written and You Can't See Him Waving His Arms Around)

So I recently had a meeting with the printer going over options for Carcosa and Exquisite Corpses, looking at ways to save money on the printing (and therefore keeping the price you pay down).

It's difficult since the options are effectively unlimited and the options don't have price tags on them. Hell, it depends what the printer has in their warehouse - a paper stock that would normally be cheaper than another if both were in stock is more expensive if they have to order it just for my book.

Basically, these meetings are hell because it's me really wanting things that feel nice, look nice, and are durable, and there are 3489237482 effectively interchangeable options that meet those standards (nobody is going to give a crap if Random Cool Paper Stock 3423b is used instead of Random Cool Paper Stock 9943g). So the meeting is basically "Which of these particular options is cheapest?" with the answer "I'll check on that" repeated a couple dozen times.

(Don't know if I've mentioned it here, but I'm fast becoming a publishing snob - when I encounter a new book the first things I do are check the binding, feel the paper, and check to see if the black reflects off the page or not.)

To get to the point, Exquisite Corpses' unique format requires some more expensive options than your average book (unavoidable since the ability to get this format to unlock the book's potential was the entire point of wanting to release it). Since the company rep at the printer surely knows more than I what options are available, and we already have the basic format of the book worked out, I ask her to recommend things that would still be quality stuff but get the price down. Maybe they're overstocked on some material that work just as well for the project?

"If the book's too expensive, it won't sell." A completely reasonable thing for me to say, I think. And a book that doesn't sell endangers my ability to give this company more business.

"Oh, that's your sales department's job."

I wait. Surely this is one of those times when there will be a momentary pause and then we both bust out laughing.



Shit. She's not laughing.

She thinks I have a sales department.

I'm doomed.


  1. Even if you did have a sales department, it'd still be a bad sign that the printer's company rep assumes that a sales department should be expected to sell something regardless of its price -- because that means she's probably expected to sell stuff to you regardless of its price too.

  2. Just tell her that you prefer something lightweight so your street urchin sellers don't get overly tired!

  3. This may be a dumb question, but if the black reflects, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

  4. It's a sign of digital printing, as is the rounded "spine" on saddle-stitched books.

    Not an awful thing, but noticeable.