I'm happy to say that after six months of struggles, sleepless nights and newly formed wrinkles, The Walls of the Castle by Tom Piccirilli hardcovers are at the binder and are next in queue (after Dead Clown Barbecue).
We experienced just about every problem you could in almost every stage of putting together this book. It has been a long and testing six months, but the book is almost a reality.
When this thing is done drinks are on me.
Almost immediately after Tom Piccirilli turned in the manuscript he discovered a tumor in his brain and fell ill with brain cancer (but is recovering). This made it difficult for Tom to sign signature sheets or stay in touch as much as he wanted to. We knew we wanted the Black Labyrinth books to be special, and part of that was making them our first Smyth sewn hardcovers, but this required us finding a new printer. We found one, finally, and after passing files back and forth for a month and getting everything perfectly set up, the printing portion of the project finally began.
The sheets were printed and the ultra-deluxe hardcover and deluxe hardcover signature sheets were sent to illustrator Santiago Caruso in Argentina. Two weeks later we discover they were lost in transit.
We get the signature sheets printed again, send them to Santiago Caruso in Argentina again.
This time the sig sheets reach Santiago, he signs them and sends them to Tom Piccirilli.
Tom sends them back to us, but we notice something strange: the deluxe hardcover signature sheets have already been cut and look like regular 8.5x11 sheets of paper. Upon closer inspection we discover that the deluxe hardcover signature pages sent back to us from Santiago and Tom were actually photocopied sheets of the sig sheet. Why the hell would our printer photocopy a signature sheet 40 times and include it in the box with our other finished jobs?
So we urge Santiago to sign the ACTUAL sheets that should be arriving any day.
Meanwhile, our printer tells us they sent out a package with the signature sheets for the signed trade paperback edition of the book. The catch? Tom Piccirilli never receives them. Another set of signature sheets lost in transit.
While this mess with the signature sheets is transpiring, we start preparing the books for binding. We get all of the book sheets folded, then we spend three long days collating thousands upon thousands of sheets in the right order in the right signatures then putting those signatures together into the order of the final book. Lesson learned: for the next Black Labyrinth title we will get a team of 6 or more to collate the printed sheets. This was exhausting.
We finally get all of the signature sheets back (EXCEPT for the Deluxe hardcover sig sheets which Tom is sending directly to the binder) and our binder is backlogged with projects from other clients and tells us that they will get to it as soon as they can.
There's also potential issues with the Black Labyrinth logo being stamped into the hardcovers.
But when all is said and done, this nightmare is almost over. These delays have hurt DRP, our customers and have made me toss and turn more nights than I care to share. Yet The Walls of the Castle by Tom Piccirilli (beautifully illustrated by Santiago Caruso) is an incredible book, and one that I was proud to edit and publish. I couldn't ask for a more powerful start to the Black Labyrinth imprint.
It's looking like everyone will have their hardcover copies of the book just in time for World Horror Convention 2013 in New Orleans. This is a huge relief to me, so I don't have to deal with people approaching me asking me where the hell the book is or what took so long. Instead we can have the book on display!
Thank you to everyone who has been patient and understanding through this process. Most customers who have bought signed limited edition hardcovers before from us or other publishers understand just how many things can go wrong and that there are often delays in this business; but we are turning the corner. Soon we will be launching all of our books as In Stock at time of launch. You can bet that we won't be launching another Black Labyrinth title in preorder (well, I sure hope not anyway).
Here's hoping that everyone has their copy of the book by the time WHC rolls around and that it turns out just as well as we designed it. After that, I intend on taking a very long nap.
Adios for now, amigos. I'll see you in New Orleans.
Editor of the Black Labyrinth imprint
Owner and Publisher of Dark Regions Press