Let's get straight to it. Here's Jeff with the news you didn't want to hear. -
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make up enough time for me to say that we’ll definitely be seeing books before the holiday. The various components (cases, jackets, text files, gloss layers, etc.) have been approved in their proof stages, and are awaiting press-time. Barring any last minute issues, they are slated to be off-press just past mid-month. Shipping and distribution will begin before Christmas, but it’s unlikely that they will be in your hands along with the Christmas pudding and wassail.
There has been one big sticking point from our printer/supplier, and that has been the slipcases for the numbered editions. I’ve held fast to the idea that this has to be a high-end case; - heavy boards, with two foil stamps and a blind stamp - something to make a statement, and clearly separate the numbered edition from the standard hard-case copies. Slipcases aren’t an item that is commonplace in book production these days, and many (of the remaining) printers are not set up to produce them. It also turns out that their definition of a slipcase, and what I had in mind, were somewhat different. So we’ve had to readjust, get new estimates, and find out exactly what they can get us.
This being said; the numbered collectors editions will not be ready to ship at the same time as the standard hard and softcover copies. Many of those copies need sketch cards mailed with them as well, which will require additional individual handling.
I certainly don’t want to hold the standard copies any longer than necessary. As the hard and softcover copies come off press, they will ship as soon as we can get them out, and the slipcased copies will follow as soon as we get them. No orders will change, though some will now ship in two boxes instead of one.
As for the sketch cards— all 400 originals are now safely at Full Steam Press. Meanwhile, Pete Venters is making the final touches to the digital files for use in the printed card set and the promo cards.
When I have more news on the slipcase dates, or when then first books have shipped, you’ll hear it here.
Many of you may have given up on the idea that the book was going to be in your hands by Christmas. We hadn't. The fact is that the schedule was really close - "too close to call" as they say - until just this week. Any announcement either way prior to this would have been simply premature.
We're deeply sorry that you'll not have The Gathering by Christmas. We tried everything to get them to you in time, except reducing the quality of the product.
Speaking of quality. here's a quick look at the lovely work on the actual casing of the book for the hardcover and numbered editions (which sits beneath the dust jacket). This is one of the proofs that was sent to Jeff for his approval, so a few things may have changed on the final product.
Again, we are sorry that this won't be in your hands in time for Christmas.