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P. N. Elrod

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STOP THE PRESSES! (Literally!) [May. 19th, 2009|07:48 pm]
P. N. Elrod
[mood |giddygiddy]


is now officially in print, and the early bird orders ship tomorrow!

International ordering will be up on the website tomorrow as well!

And guess what? The first 500 copies are SPECIAL.

It seems, in the world of signed limited editions, that individuality of the books--beyond each having its own number--can create instant collectibility.

That's what's happened to these first 500.

Here's what happened....

I left for Bryan, Texas--about a 3-hour drive from my place--found Tops Printing with no trouble (a miracle with my navigational (dis)abilities) and pulled into the lot.

The building is HUGE. Way bigger than I'd imagined, and the first thing to hit you as you walk in is the smell of new paper, the ink, and other chemicals that go into making the books we love. Think of an office supply copier smell but on scary levels of steroids.

Inside, I was warmly greeted by Thomas Knowles, writer, editor, and now publisher. I've known him for about as long as the Vampire Files have been out. He likes my books a lot, so getting The Devil You Know into print has been (I hope) an enjoyable project for him. He has a bunch of other projects on his plate, but made time for mine, and I am GRATEFUL!

Ya'll thank him too, else this would have had to wait until late summer to see print with anyone else!

So Tom gives me a quickie trip of the facility--I'll post pics when I get more time--then we go back to an office area where he does some of his work.

"Okay, Pat, close your eyes, hold out your hand," he said.

I totally do this, and my heart's thrumming away. My face hurts from the grin I've got.

He puts that first copy of the book in my hand, and I tell ya--it is a YUMMY dream come true!

I've not felt quite the same buzz since I saw my first novel sitting on a bookstore shelf back in 1990. Wow! What made this buzz a little different was the fact that I'd directly participated in the interior design, cover layout, and a bunch of other details most writers usually don't worry about.

It has a satiny matte finish on the film noir covers. The paper inside has a vanilla tone, reminiscent of the Golden Age pulps that inspired the Files series, but it's smooth, substantial, and acid-free. This is GOOOOOD stuff, and I am over-the-top impressed. If sales go well for this edition, then I've got to write more of these limited edition novels, if only to have such a well-done book in hand.

Tom later pointed out the HP Indigo printer--and its operators get special training--that did the job. Hell of a machine. Expensive. Some print companies have them, but don't know how to really USE them, so the books that come out might not be the best quality. Tom is as much of a perfectionist as I am when it comes to his work, and he is understandably proud of his products.

I am REALLY HAPPY about finally seeing the end result of all those months of writing and flipped through the pages, looking over familiar lines of text, knowing that the words are finally where they belong: in a BOOK. 

My gawd, what a miracle a book is! Don't matter if it's mine or some other writer's, a book is just COOL. Most folk don't have a clue about all the work and tech that goes into making them. I got a glimpse, and I'm blown away.

I've got an idea of putting a picture on my website of a stack of these books sitting on my work table, LOTS of them, showing the book's spine with the title, my name, and "Vampwriter Books" showing. Maybe I can make it into a wallpaper background...

So I turn the book on its side to see the spine, and Tom points out they made the printing larger than the .jpg file I originally sent.

I point at my name in that larger font size. "Hey, now that's funny," I said.

Tom freezes. He can't tear his gaze from that book spine. "What the hell....?" he says.

I crack up. This is hilarious.

Now I will state here and now, this wasn't Tom's fault. He told the cover guy to make the printing larger on the spine. He didn't tell him to put in an extra letter. All that happened was that Tom just didn't notice. Considering how insanely BUSY he is with far more important publishing projects, this is completely understandable. The same thing's happened to me more than once, so I ain't chunkin' no rocks!

All the same--Tom is mortified. The first thing he says is they'll do a reprint and ship them up to me at their expense.  In the parlance of the Vampire Files, Tom is "stand up."

I said, "NO way. I'm taking this lot as-is. You are not getting them back. No way!"

But Tom is still in problem-solving mode. "We can take the covers off, trim the pages to 5 by 8 and ship them up in..."

"Don't even think it, Tom. I LIKE these! They're much more collectible because of this!"

Tom didn't believe me, but I explained what I learned from artist Brad Foster, who sells limited edition prints of his works: Anything that makes a print run different from the others--makes that print more valuable to collectors. An accidental flaw that doesn't otherwise make an edition unsellable, makes it something to be desired.

And that's what's happened to the first 500 copies of THE DEVIL YOU KNOW.

Here it is:

So hopefully, you who are getting one from the first 500 copies won't mind this distinctive little typo. I bet you didn't know I was even related to that LOTR elf lord!

Tom wanted to fix things, but I wouldn't hear of it. He and his lovely wife Barbara and I went out to lunch so he could wrap his head around the fact that I find the whole business highly amusing. I figured some carbs and comfort food would make things better for him, and so it turned out--I hope!

He IS making sure that the other 2500 copies WILL have the name right. I told him he was going to be paranoid about book spines from now on. It will keep him out of trouble should he get a client with no sense of humor about that kind of thing.

Now--had this book been intended for retail sales in stores, then yes, I'd have agreed that a new cover would be a necessity, but in this instance, what's an extra letter between me and 500 of my best friends?

Hugs to you, Tom. I'm gonna dine out on this one for years to come!  Hope you don't mind TOO much! 


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[User Picture]From: zianuray
2009-05-20 03:33 am (UTC)
From our brief meeting at VisionCon a few years ago, I can certainly see you being amused by this -- and he is SO lucky it was YOU!

Hmmm, are there any left?? I JUST got the paycheck from a temp job I did....

Edited at 2009-05-20 03:43 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 03:47 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, there's plenty left at this point, but I wouldn't wait too long!
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From: n5red
2009-05-20 03:37 am (UTC)
I work in College Station, I could drive the next shipment up to you.
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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 03:49 am (UTC)
Thanks, you're a doll, but I promised to buy Tom & Barbara lunch the next time I drive down to pick up the rest. We went to a REALLY nice joint called Riviera. Yum!
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[User Picture]From: bladespark
2009-05-20 03:38 am (UTC)
Oh man. I totally want one of this print run! Glad I ordered it!
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[User Picture]From: mzmadmike
2009-05-20 03:54 am (UTC)
I wound up as Williamsom on my last HC, and I even signed a few copies that way;)

Your error is much cooler. Tolkien mixup FTW.
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[User Picture]From: layrenelement
2009-05-20 03:58 am (UTC)
That's a hilarious story, I would be vastly amused too. That definitely makes them more collectible!

I still need to get around to reading the first in your series, I have it here but we moved and now I can't find it from all my boxes of books. :(

How could I go about getting one of these copies? A friend of mine is a huge fan of yours (she's the one who recommended you to me initially when I was looking for good vampire stories to read) and it would make a fabulous birthday gift.

Edited at 2009-05-20 04:13 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 04:25 am (UTC)
Click on any of the links to my website and look for the Paypal button!
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[User Picture]From: elialshadowpine
2009-05-20 04:04 am (UTC)
*cracks up laughing*

That is, hands down, the most awesome printing error I've ever seen!
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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 04:23 am (UTC)
I hope Tom reads the comments.

He really did not believe me when I said this was a GOOD thing!
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[User Picture]From: macgyvergal
2009-05-20 04:26 am (UTC)
I'm still getting #1, right? :snickers at the typo:

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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 04:28 am (UTC)
Not to worry. When's the next TV night at the Caine Castle?
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From: hoarymarmot
2009-05-20 04:58 am (UTC)
That is too funny! I hope I'm in the first 500!
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[User Picture]From: magda_vogelsang
2009-05-20 05:04 am (UTC)
I can see why you were amused!

And I really hope I was one of the first 500 to order (though I'll survive if I'm not).
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[User Picture]From: jmward14
2009-05-20 05:29 am (UTC)
ROFLOL Totally cool! You realize, though, this means you'll need to wear elf ears to all cons forever and ever. :D
Reminds me of an old proofreading legend I heard in Indianapolis way back when the fed was training me to edit. According to the story, a very rich man in the 19th century, tired of the shoddy editing he saw in the books of the day, decided to create a book without any typos. So he picked out some worthy text (something important and impossible to navigate like Milton or Pilgrim's Progress or possibly a philosophical tract) and hired scads of editors to proof it. And proof it. And proof it. Finally, he gave the edition one final proofreading and, with no little sense of pride, shipped it to the printer.
But all the copies from the first print run still had to be destroyed, because it seems, despite all the attention to detail lavished on the text, nobody had really looked at the title page...or the typo in the very famous title.
I don't know what the book was or if the story is true or just a legend editors tell themselves. But the moral was plain and should comfort Tom: There is no such thing as a perfect book.
But collectibles are a very good thing.
Hugs and big smiles,
Jean Marie
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[User Picture]From: silverwolf
2009-05-20 06:32 am (UTC)
Yay, I need international ordering to go up pronto! Why must I be in Canada and forced to wait??
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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 10:57 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I'm still waiting to get the postage rates. I have to go into the Post Awful and see to it as the information online is too vague.
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[User Picture]From: ecogryff
2009-05-20 07:16 am (UTC)
*giggles* that's so fun! now i hope i get one of the first 500. heehee.
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[User Picture]From: wildelion
2009-05-20 02:13 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! This truly is amazing and you're awesome to share!
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[User Picture]From: denelian
2009-05-20 03:28 pm (UTC)
so happy you posted this - i had *meant* to order on monday :) (yay for extra money!)

i *hope* i am in the 1st 500!

i put in the "instructions" to please sign to the name Denelian (i swear, its taking over from my *real* name). was that the right place?
if you don't, if its just *signed* though i'll be happy
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[User Picture]From: p_n_elrod
2009-05-20 10:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry, but I just couldn't keep track of the requests to personalize all of them. It took all day just to get the initial orders addressed, not to mention signing all those books. I made it to the Post Awful just as they were locking up. Whew.
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[User Picture]From: carmiel
2009-05-20 03:59 pm (UTC)
This is so cool! I hope I'm in the first 500 cause one of the two I ordered is my mom's birthday present! (bounce bounce) She collects books so I'll give her the best present, ever!!!
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