Q. So what is it like to see your book roll off the press at the printers?
When we spent a day at the printers seeing the first edition of Roley Moley’s Christmas being printed I can tell you it was quite an experience to see the whole process take place! Having worked in the newspaper industry for twenty five years I was used to the sight of large volumes of papers roll off the press, but seeing your own story and illustrations being replicated thousands of times in front of your eyes is something else.
Five large Heidelberg presses each with a different colour plate (the first being black) print the page so that the image and text come together on the last press as the correct colour. There were a few waste pages that were discarded to begin with until the colour was running true to the originals and with no errors, but it was quite upsetting to see Roley in varying colours being scrumpled up into big scrap bins all ready for recycling. Our press operator was scrupulous in checking for quality, colour and errors but once we were happy with the large print pages that contained four of our ‘book’ size pages on one side of the paper, the press finally rolled them off.
Seeing the volume of paper that had been printed just for four pages of the book was quite a surprise and doing some maths in my head I was a little worried at the quantity being printed until I realised that of course the other side was to be printed on too!
Now if you are anything like me, just getting the other side of an A4 sheet photocopied correctly, can be confusing! A thirty two page book needs four large print sheets which has four ‘book’ pages each side. I was glad it wasn’t up to me to work out the logistics of what was to run where!
We left them to it while we checked off the front and back. There was an error! The ‘bleed’ size
was not big enough. This was the area around the edges which meant that there was no room for error when it was trimmed. We had to open up the Mac (‘we’ means Jonathan actually who’s the wiz with the technical stuff at J & J), readjust the size and copy over the file. Our graphic editor worked his technical magic and adjusted his pages. A new aluminium plate was made, the old plate was scrapped (for recycling again) and the process restarted. Finally we had the front and back covers and they looked great!
Initially we had deliberated over an inordinate number of colour combinations for the covers settling on green and blue. It looked good until we had the proof back. It was too dark! We lightened it but decided to start again with different combinations of colours. We were getting thoroughly confused until we suddenly hit on the right colours. The choice was obvious when we saw it. Different from the eBook the covers now looked just right for a print version and here it was in our hands. We then saw it being laminated so that it had a glossy and hardwearing cover (ideal for sticky little fingers). This process was like a huge roll of clingfilm being run over a heated roller so that it ‘glued’ to the cover. We saw other processes too on our visit. I always wondered how stitched books were put together and having seen the process I know now - big needles, large reels of thread and some clever machinery!
It was an interesting and exciting day and after a long journey Roley Moley had finally come to life! Our printers were extremely helpful and welcoming and we are all looking forward to seeing which Roley will 'roll' off the press next!.
You can now buy the print version for just £6.99 plus p&p by clicking on the paypal button on this site. (You don't need to have a Paypal account yourself to do this as we accept credit cards too). Happy reading and Merry Christmas from Roley Moley and J & J Publishing!