It’s appropriate that I woke up at 7:30 this morning from nightmares. I don’t particularly enjoy it, but today is the day that I’ve released a limited edition of The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers.
It’s been a long time coming as well. In June of 2008, after hearing The Lindbergh Baby’s interpretation of Cassilda’s Song (featuring invocation by my pal Robert Lang) from their album Hoodwinked, I decided to put into production my own edition of the book that the lyrics are derived from. I actually designed the packaging for the CD, and I’d been listening to the album a LOT.
As with most of my book projects, it had no time-table. I use print-on-demand, and don’t have a distributor, and don’t have any “marketing campaigns”, so one of the upsides is that I can pretty much complete projects when all of the elements come together.
In July of 2008 I’d done almost all of the typesetting, enough to produce a proof copy at least to look over for typos, etc. The cover that I designed for the proof was strictly typographical:
I like it, but I don’t think it was the right direction for a final cover.
Most of the books that I release through Underworld Amusements are reprints of obscure/out-of-print books. Once a title is selected, the three things I need to worry about are: typography/graphic design, cover art and if I’m going to get new writing to add to it.
That year I did approach two people about the possibility of writing something for The King In Yellow, but it didn’t work out. There isn’t a budget for that kind of thing. See, the downside to not having a distributor or marketing campaign is that you just don’t sell that many books.
I dutifully went through the proof copy looking for errors/typos, made those corrections to the file and then it sat. I’ve got a small shelf in my home office with… well, let me count… SEVEN books that are in the “proofing”/production stage. On my side is the fact that the likelyhood that someone else will release a new edition of the same thing I’m working on before I do is low, but it HAS happened… twice. So, it’s not THAT low.
But I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do for the cover, so it saw there.
And then near the end of September of this year (2011), the only time Google+ has been useful, G. Edwin Taylor posts a “sneak peek” at the paintings he was working on for an upcoming gallery show. It was a series called “The King In Yellow”!
I jumped on it. It was GREAT. Taylor’s work has come a long way, and I like the rough, low-brow effect. Taylor was keen so I told him “we’ve got to move fast”. I had less than a month to finish the interior of the book, get the new cover prepped and get everything online. I just barely made it, honestly. I’ve been working on two other books for release soon, as well as all the normal things I am tasked with (Underworld Amusements isn’t my mortgage paying job).
We intended to have copies available at the opening of the gallery show tonight, but due to delays and the tight schedule, it ain’t gonna happen. We will get some copies to the gallery, and hopefully there will be some if they hold a closing party.
Because there are multiple editions of this book out now (there weren’t in 2008), I thought it was best to limit the release. Since the paintings were going to hang in a gallery show for a finite amount of time, I thought it made sense to limit the availability to the same time period.
And now, 3 years later, its OUT!
Hopefully it will give YOU to nightmares now, instead of me.