My sample books arrived! I was so relieved that they feel really nice: fabulous quality and beautiful smooth paper. I tried writing in them with a variety of pens to see about bleed through but only the Sharpie was a bit suspect, which frankly is to be expected. I didn’t like the feel of the synthetic coating so although it will be more robust than the card cover, I just felt it looked and felt more pleasant. It is also firmer so allows for writing in the little table.

Slight panic when it was pointed out to us by the printer (thanks so much, Ed!) that if a book is intended to be written in, it can incur VAT if it’s more than 25% of the content. I headed to the gov.uk website and deduced that as the book is a stand-alone publication without the filling-in content, it was exempt, and in any case it is definitely amounts to less than 25% of the book anyway. Phew. It does mean that any thoughts of having more space for notes and sketches would potentially change this so although it has been noted that the tables are tiny and more room would be preferable, it would change the book. The logbook aspect is more of a prompt or invitation to think about where and when you’ve seen birds as this can really help with determining which bird it might be, and the convenience of having a pocket book outweighs the lack of space for detailed descriptions. Likewise the Notes & Sketches section: jotting down memory aids can’t really be done in field guides but I do want to encourage people to bond with their little books and make them their own.

The square backed spine was a brilliant suggestion from Ed – so that the book looks a bit more finished:

I am now in to the final stages of getting the books ready to print. I am rounding the corners which then made me worry that the page numbers would look too cramped in the outside bottom corner, so put them in the centre. There are lots of fiddly things that I have had to alter and make consistent but I am so committed to making it perfect, and while we are sorting out the ram punch decision for the corner finishing, I have time to get things right. My parents have proofread it all again for me which is a great help but I do believe I am getting there! I have also sorted out my barcodes and ISBN provision – I will buy a block of ten, and I have done the copyright and publishing blurb on the inside front cover, and the blurb on the back.

Today the weather is awful – heavy rain forecast all day – so I am going to play around with some of the illustrations for Birds of Notting Hill and maybe paint some of the birds for Urban Gardens & Parkland Birds as they do double up. I have drawn some very rough outlines from a blend of doors, walls, and windows from @sparrowinlondon‘s Instagram feed and have filled them in with gouache. I will fill in the detail with a pen; I’m not sure if my black fineliners still work so I may use my fountain pen but I only have blue-black or verdigris ink so I will have to see which looks best.

One thought on “Sample books, and last-minute hitches

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