May’s update is here, and we’ve got quite a bit to get through!
As mentioned, due to new working arrangements, more time is going to be spent on producing our books and keeping everyone updated with regular contact and content on social media. By next month there will be a full monthly update going out via newsletter and the blog, and also regular weekly content being shared across Facebook and Instagram.
Purchasers of our books have been incredibly patient while we seek to deliver on what we have pre-ordered, and can only apologise for the length our first book has taken to get out the door. As mentioned in the previous update, we’re taking great steps to ensure much quicker delivery schedules when taking a pre-order.
What have we been up to this month?
We’ve been busy with several key things for the press and are making solid progress on all our titles currently in production, but more of that later.
The big news is we are now in the process of having a new website made by a very reputable professional who will no doubt do a great job. The new site will allow all customers to make an account and track their pre-orders and purchases, with the plan of having the rights system integrated into this feature.
This should mean that customers will have their number/letter designation for each book viewable through the members area. Not only that but we will be including a progress update next to each edition based on “Book Design” “Printing” “Binding” and “Shipping”.
The exciting part is we will be including an official way of changing rights for book pre-orders. New purchasers of a pre-order will have to create an account, but we are adding in a simple way to transfer the rights (whether “Series” or “Publisher” rights) to new customers through our website once a transaction has taken place. This will be verified by Curious King as a failsafe.
Our aim is to ensure a smooth process when selling a pre-order or when transferring rights of an already owned book. This should give customers some comfort by seeing the new purchase appear in their member area, so they know for sure they own the rights.
The site itself won’t be hugely different in how it looks from the original, and there will be a couple of new pages to the site, namely “Author” and “Contributors”. These pages will contain information on contributors to our editions and allow customers to learn more about the individuals working on Curious King Books.
There has been a distinct lack of content on our social media and website since inception, largely down to having very little time to work on it. This is changing. We are planning regular updates through social media and our newsletter and are working on several videos at the moment which will give everyone an insight into how a small press operates and spotlights on the artists/craftspeople we engage with.
I will also be pursuing a longer form video for each book. This will include an interview/chat with Author, Artist and contributors to relevant book. More on this another time though!
We took a trip to Nomad Letterpress earlier this week to see “The Fifth Season” being printed by Pat and Ellen. It was a lovely trip to Cheltenham on a Sunny morning and had a warm welcome as per usual from the gang at Nomad.
While we were there we took the opportunity to do some filming. We got some great shots of the Heidleberg doing its thing on TFS, and were blown away by the full process. Not only that we managed to secure some of Pat’s time to discuss Letterpress Printing, Limited-Run Publishing, and Curious King’s current works.
We will be producing some video content for the upcoming title, and also in the longer term will be doing a specific spotlight on Nomad Letterpress as our key printer. The setup they have in Whittington is incredible and they have several traditional machines that quite frankly could have their own mini-series about.
After reviewing the initial footage and seeing what worked and what didn’t, we will be making another trip down in the near future. If you want good audio then you probably need to film when the 80year old printing machine the size of a small car isn’t going full pelt… I think we all learned something that day.
Whilst it was a brilliant day, it wasn’t without its hiccups. Unfortunately, I managed to get my car effectively “beached” whilst parking opposite the building in a rather sodden bit of grass. Embarrassing as it was, the guys at Nomad were really great when trying to save the motor from an expensive callout. It did take some time though. After a few failed attempts to put planks under the wheels we realised we needed another tack. Neil the monotype master valiantly tried to pull the car out with his own, but the weight difference was too significant to overcome.
In what felt like an incredible stroke of good fortune, Pat has the ear of a local farmer who happens to have a few tractors, and what turns out, a very good heart.
Within the hour the car was saved and a quick but effective pull from the farmers tractor was enough to relieve my stress at making it back up to Manchester for my kids bed time. Success!
I shall not be parking in the same spot when I next visit.
Onto the books!
The Blade Itself
Had some cracking progress in the last month on this. A few weeks ago I caught up with Tommy Arnold and Joe Abercrombie to review art and finalise the scenes/compositions. It was an immensely enjoyable conversation and Tommy has pulled together some brilliant prelims for upcoming edition.
Both myself and Joe were really pleased with the work we’ve seen. Tommy is known for doing really emotive and powerful work which is why we chose him, but his range is incredible. He’s also managed to pack in humour to some of the images as well, which fits nicely with Joe’s work.
I will start sharing some of this art as the final pieces come in, as I know you’re all dying to see it.
Ludlow’s are still making good progress on the casemaking and slipcases, and the folding of the paper into sections is now complete. We should be able to hit the ground running once art is in hand!
Everything still on schedule for a September shipping date, and I’ll keep people informed over the coming weeks/months.
The Fifth Season
It’s been a very productive month for the Fifth Season as printing has now been finished by Ellen and Pat at Nomad! This will be making its way across to Ludlow’s for folding and putting into sections while we wait for the art to be completed.
Talking of art, John Anthony di Giovanni is continuing his good work on the interiors. There is also a few slight changes to the dustjacket that have been agreed with the author which we will update you with once finished.
The lettered boxes are currently under construction and Peter the boxmaker will have the unique pieces of etched Agate very soon and will cut each one into the lid of each box.
Regarding the Roman Numeral, I was hoping to have the information out there already as I’ve been very happy with the prototype since I picked it up but there are a couple of delays behind the scenes so apologies for this. This will be a lottery and yes these come with rights now too. I’m hoping information can be shared soon!
Currently picking up pace on Hyperion now which is great news. I’ve been working very closely with Jaime Jones over the last few months on art and design and good progress has been made on the book concepts.
As Jaime is doing interior B&W sketches, the printing process cannot start until we have all of this in hand. I should have these in a few months and then it’s on to platemaking, and then the printing by Nomad Letterpress. Pre-order is likely coming Q4 2023 with shipping pencilled into Summer 2024 currently. It depends how quickly we can get the plates made and book our slot with the printer as there are queues for both currently.
Hitchhikers Guide is largely where it was last month, but I will be meeting up with Marcelo early next month to kick off the art direction for the book. I’ve had a few requests about later novels in the series, as mentioned we are only committing to the original book for the foreseeable future.
Nothing else to report in the world of future titles and I’m afraid it will stay like that for a while. The focus at the moment is on ensuring the books currently in production move as swiftly as they possibly can.
That’s a wrap for this month. Please keep an eye out for more content and the Roman Numeral announcement for The Fifth Season. I hope the sun is shining where you are!