This is not the Rite of Serfdom book

November 18th, 2012 by Reinder

...nor are these proper product photos of the Rite of Serfdom book. Instead, these are snapshots of the proof version of what will one day be the Rite of Serfdom book. We are pretty much learning how to do this as we go along, and there are many things that we still need to fix.

The cover of the book, showing Kel in front of the Grimborg. Click to see bigger

The cover. With the proper cutting applied, it turns out that the title isn't correctly aligned at all.

For example, the title font looked correctly aligned when we were looking at it on the screens. Turns out that when you cut off the margins, it doesn't always work out that way.

The interior of the book, with right and left pages flipped

The interior of the book. While the actual printing quality is very good, the page that is on the left was intended to be a right-side page, and the one on the right needed to go overleaf on the left side.

We're working with a printer in Egypt. They can give us excellent printing quality for the price. The downside is that we won't be anywhere near them when they print the book, and because this is their first comics project, they don't necessarily always know the expectations. Here you see the interior, with extremely large outer margins and very small inner margins. The reason is that they didn't count the pages as we intended: they started with a left-side page instead of a right-side one, and so all pages that were supposed to go on the left side of the book ended up on the right, and vice versa. Lesson learned: make it really clear where your first page of content is going to go. This is our responsibility, not theirs. On the plus side: the colour accuracy is pretty good—see the first of these two pages on the website for comparison.

The thickness of the book

At over 340 pages, this book is huge.

The book is not very large, but it is very thick, making for an imposing physical object. We do need to double check with the printer that they're going to use a stronger binding than on this first proof, because we need to be sure it won't fall apart when the reader cracks it open.

The proof copy arrived with a larger shipment of printed goods from Egypt, which was held up at customs for a while. This is annoying but unavoidable as we do not have a huge budget for the book, though if we'd realized the extent of the delay in advance, we'd have ponied up to have it mailed to us instead. Another lesson learned.
This weekend, our original plan was to go through the book page by page to look for layout issues, typos, colour problems and other issues in greater detail. Unfortunately, Aggie was ill this weekend, which meant that we had to change our plans—she spent two days in bed while I did a modest amount of work on other ROCR-related things. At this point, I'm not convinced we'll have it ready for Christmas, especially if the final version gets delayed like that again (please note that the delays are unavoidable as we're doing this on a shoestring budget); however, when it does come out, we will probably be selling it at conventions and events for a year, so Christmas is just a blip in the schedule.

The last time I put out anything in print, it was black and white, photocopied and stapled, and only 48 pages. Even at this early stage, it amazes me that we can do a book like this now.

5 Responses to “This is not the Rite of Serfdom book”

  1. Michiel P Says:

    Congratulations! I think the Grimborg illustration makes a very attractive cover. The title banner looks a bit slapped-on, though.

  2. Reinder Says:

    Well it’s the only one of several suggestions that worked with both this one and any future books that we might put out. I’ll pass the comment on to Aggie, though.

  3. Michiel P Says:

    I feel the banner creates an imbalance. One corner gets closed off, while the other is allowed to breathe. In contrast to this, the title font (“Rite”) is just fine. It doesn’t distract from the image and even enhances it. Why not give the series title (“Rogues”) equal importance?

  4. Reinder Says:

    We tried, but we’d need a different illustration to make that work.

  5. Lee Says:

    The glue isn’t the only factor in the binding. In my experience of reading and storing paperbacks, the flexibility of the cover is in inverse proportion to how vulnerable the binding is to cracking.