An update on Digger as well as Prince of Thorns.
Because they are connected in a weird way that you will see below.
The Kickstarter for Digger should have launched on February 2nd. It was ready to go. Images. Copy. The tiers we will have and what makes each one unique. Shipping. Delivery time. All of it. We were ready to bring Digger back to the light of the world.
But there was one piece that lagged behind the others — the prices associated with our tiers. To get those, we require printing and binding quotes. While we received our binding quote quickly, our first quote for printing was astronomically high. So high it left me dazed to the point I wondered if the project would even be feasible.
To give you an example so you can appreciate my concern, the book block pages of Digger were going to cost three times the amount we usually pay, and it doesn't include binding costs. The estimate was done by our new printer that produced beautiful work with the forthcoming Tad Williams's Tailchaser's Song, which priced out well. We were shocked at how much more expensive Digger would be.
Becky went back to our old printer and asked for an estimate. That printer has made mistakes in the past that have led to delays on four out of our last six projects — you can guess which books — hence our switch to a new printer. At the same time, we asked three other printers for estimates too. Those estimates have taken a while to come in due to the scarcity of the paper we need for the size of Digger. Our old printer came back with the best estimate, one that is more in line with our other projects.
You can imagine our hesitancy using them though. To illustrate my point, here are some dust jacket photos of Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence:
As you can see in the photos, we take our quality control very seriously. Three different dust jackets with the same issue, an issue on every dust jacket in the print run. This just came to our attention on Tuesday from the bindery. This is just one example that has delayed Prince of Thorns, and to fix these sorts of issues usually takes 4 to 6 weeks extra time. Those dust jackets have to be reprinted which takes time; then the bindery has to put them on the books and find time to do it in their queue. It has been torturous for Becky and me, having to deal with all of these delays, just as it has undoubtedly been torturous on you guys not having your books. And all of this stems from problems at that old printer.
How does this all tie together? We are going to get two more quotes from local printing companies Pat knows, in hopes of not using our old printer. If we can save ourselves future grief — and save Pat, his Underthing Press team, and you guys grief at the same time — we might as well try. By spending an additional two weeks and doing two more estimates for printing, we are doing our due diligence to keep costs down for everyone as well as avoid possible delays.
In short, Digger is delayed a bit. This delay is worth it though. We should know a lot more in the next two weeks. When we do, I'll share what we've found out as well as set a new date for the Digger Kickstarter. It will happen. I promise you that.
Let's hope that news is soon, soon, soon. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about this glimpse into the publishing world. I'm always around.
Best Friday Wishes,
Publisher & Creative Director