BONUS CONTENT: Production Update (Early First Draft Edition)

Hi Folks!

As my Patreon supporters already know, they often get to see the rough draft of my various news and updates before anyone else… but this might be the longest update ever!

Plus, it’s really “inside baseball,” so I hope you’re interested in how books go from manuscript to published special edition. Otherwise, perhaps you can read this update at bedtime to help you fall asleep! 😉

Anyway, let’s get rolling…

I didn’t want to say this in the “public” section of this post, but this production update is for Revival by Stephen King from my very own LetterPress Publications!


In the final few weeks before the book design and specs were “locked,” I realized we hadn’t actually planned on including a frontispiece in either edition. I’m not sure why that was because a frontis seems especially important when you’re publishing a book without a dust jacket.

Luckily for me, François Vaillancourt is a rock star and was somehow able to squeeze TWO MORE amazing pieces of full-color artwork into his busy schedule, one for each edition!

As a sneak peek, here is the newly added frontis for the Limited Edition:


I want to share some pretty incredible news about the printing plans for Revival, but first I need to give some backstory to explain how we ended where we are!

For those who haven’t followed along with the printer problems Cemetery Dance Publications has dealt with these past two years, here’s the shortish version:

In June 2018, one of our regular printers closed up shop without any warning… but with our deposit and materials for Sleeping Beauties.

After that, we sent the book to a different printer, one we had worked with since 1992. Things seemed normal at first, but then everything started taking much longer than scheduled. We weren’t too worried because we had done business with them forever and sometimes delays happen, but then the delivery date for the bluelines and other approval materials slipped… several times.

Finally, they told us in May 2019 that they were filing for bankruptcy, but would finish the book as one of their very last projects.

They did finish Sleeping Beauties in June, right around the time their assets were purchased by another printer.

The good news was, we already did business with this other printer!

The bad news was, they didn’t actually want the first printer for their plant or presses, they just wanted the customer list.

Instead, the new printer sold the presses and turned the plant into a warehouse.

And, most unfortunately for us, none of their other plants had a press that could print a 7 X 10 trim size in two colors on the paper stock we use for Stephen King books.

That meant no press to print Night Shift for Cemetery Dance and no press to print Revival for me.


Given how important a book printer is to the process of, you know, printing a book, I spent the summer talking to dozens of other printers and learning how many did NOT want these complicated printing jobs… Any offset printer I could find, I would talk to, though. And then ask them if they knew of anyone I could try.

Then, in August, our sales rep at the new printer who bought our old printer contacted me to tell me all about this awesome new press they had purchased, which could do the same jobs as the press they had sold back in May… Yeah…

Well, that’s great news for Night Shift, at least!


To publish Revival this year, I had to start it rolling at a printer by mid-August or we wouldn’t have time to make all of the slipcases, etc. Mid-August was actually a little later than I wanted and definitely cutting things really close on the schedule.

So, during the summer, while I was scrambling to find ANY printer who was willing to do this complicated of a job, another printer I’ve worked with asked if I could consider changing the trim size to a more traditional 6 X 9.

If I could do that, he could print the Limited Edition on the paper I wanted, and he had a bindery that could handle my specs for the binding: the spine hubs, etc. It would be exactly as I had planned, just at a more traditional trim size.

But, he could not print the Lettered Edition because I wanted to use a heavier 80# paper stock for that edition.

I was willing to compromise on the trim size since numerous surveys I’ve conducted for Cemetery Dance have shown that most collectors care more about the quality of the production than the trim size, but I couldn’t compromise on the paper quality for the Lettered Edition. That just wasn’t an option.


I reached out to the guy who does the hand-binding and case-making for CD’s most expensive books, who was already lined up to do the hand-binding and make the special side-loading traycases for the Lettered Edition of Revival, and I asked if he knew any printers who could actually print on the heavier 80# paper I really wanted to use for the Lettered Edition.

It just so happened that there was a little boutique printer in his hometown, and they had sent speciality binding  jobs his way from time to time.

Long story short (too late!), this printer confirmed they could handle the printing job for the Lettered Edition on the nicer paper, etc, and once the interior pages were done, my hand-binder would take it from there.

That means production of Revival will be handled by two different book printers and two different book binders (in three different states!), which makes this very cool and unique when compared to the 300+ projects I’ve managed at Cemetery Dance over the years, which usually have one printer and perhaps two binders involved.


This also means the Limited Edition and the Lettered Edition will be two completely separate printings, which was a huge opportunity to upgrade the Lettered Edition a bit more.

Usually the interior (the “book block”) is the same for both editions of a special edition book. Then each edition gets a different signature sheet, different endpapers, maybe some different artwork, etc. Finally, the binding is upgraded for the Lettered Edition to make it much nicer than the Limited Edition.

But ultimately you start with the same book blocks printed on the same paper.

For Revival, the Limited and Lettered will be printed on two totally different paper stocks on two separate printing presses in two different plants. Even more important for our production plans, the Lettered Edition will be printed on a new FOUR-color printing press, which leads to one of the unexpected upgrades for this edition.


Because the heavier paper we’re using for the Lettered Edition can handle the ink of four-color interior artwork so well, we’ve decided to print that interior artwork as part of the main book block with the rest of the pages.

Compare that to a regular Limited Edition where the artwork is printed separately on glossy stock and then “tipped in” between the 16 page signatures (groupings) of pages. That means a piece of artwork can fall between pages 16 and 17, between pages 32 and 33, between pages 48 and 49, etc.

Perhaps the CAR CRASH happens on page 28, but the artwork won’t be seen by the reader until between pages 32 and 33 because that’s where the next “signature break” falls.

But for the Revival Lettered Edition, the full-color artwork is part of the interior design of the book and thus can be printed whenever we want it.


This also means we can put two additional pieces of artwork into the Lettered Edition that we hadn’t planned on being able to use.

The first is François Vaillancourt’s original illustration of the car crash. He delivered a piece of artwork for the scene, but during production, he decided to try a different approach, and that second piece of artwork was the one we selected to actually use in the book.

We liked both pieces of art, but in our original plans we could only use one of them for that scene anyway because the artwork tip-ins have to fall every 16 pages… But with the change in plans for the Lettered Edition, we can now put both pieces of artwork right into the page design where they belong, just a few pages apart.

The second piece of artwork we were able to add to the Lettered Edition is the new frontispiece from the Limited Edition, something we couldn’t have done if the artwork needed to be tipped in place. So, this means the frontis artwork for the Limited Edition has now been placed as an interior piece of artwork in the Lettered Edition, right where it belongs in the story.


One more small thing to note: printing the artwork as part of the page design also means the Lettered Edition will end up being 592 pages while the Limited Edition is 560 pages because the artwork tip-ins don’t count as pages in the design. Just another sign of how different the editions are.


Finally, during all of this, my hand-binder found a great new source for imported Italian leather, so I was able to upgrade the leather binding on the spine of the Lettered Edition.

They have a beautiful gray leather that just works so well with the imported cloth I had picked for the boards that I changed the whole color scheme accordingly. This also makes the Lettered Edition look and feel even more different from the Limited Edition.

Here is a new mock-up of the Lettered Edition, which also shows the hand-marbled paper that we’re getting from India and using for the endpapers of the book and the inner lining of the case:

More news to come soon! Thank you again for all of your support!