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In this post, I would like to comment on the process of getting a book printed through RPGNow's print service "Lightning Source". For starters, this is how it began.

The spiral bound book I am showing off in the release thread has only been a “localized” test. A pre-alpha so to say. I had to reformat the source files to DIN A4 and sent them to an internet print service. Finally a way to hold the finished work in hands. Their print results are top notch but it also posted me with some troubles that would arise once I setup the printing title with RPGNow.

Some picture areas of the book were quite dark. This is a common effect when printing something that has been prepared in RGB colors. Printers use the CMYK color profile and converting from RGB to CMYK will result in a darkening effect. To some extent you can plan ahead and expect this effect with a brighter toned picture. Unfortunately, there is another effect called “overink”.

Today’s number is “240”!

240% is the total amount of ink RPGNow – or better, their printer Lightning Source – demand to be present in a preflight document. Since the colors CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW and black  (KEY-plate) get layered during printing, having too much ink in one spot may blur or result in smudges. The common color profiles bring 300% to the table and colors look rich, you don’t care. Once you apply a color filter you can identify those areas which are subject to an “overink” effect. The trick is now to desaturate the black colors while trying to stay as true as possible to the original image. That happened.

It took a couple of long nights to reformat the print sources and do a bunch of conversions. With all requirements in place, exporting the preflight document now takes up to half an hour on a quad core. The finished pdf is clocking in at 250MB!
With the initial conversions out of the way, I am happy to announce that the files are now off to the printer for validation. How long that will take, I cannot tell. The internets knows of anything from two to three weeks for files to process. Even then, it might get rejected and further changes might be required. For now, we’re good.

The print files were uploaded on October 19th. Today, on the 27th, the status remains unchanged: "We have sent your files to the printer for validation".

I am not sure if it is a good or a bad thing that this is taking so long. There is one other publisher who has posted similar experiences for an RPG-book. Apparently, Lightning Source employs a certain software for file validation. Since the source material for the printed book is about 250 MB without covers, it may have some crunching to do.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a good sign. The first submission got rejected. Luckily, the support staff at drivethrurpg offered to help and is going to give the production files a look-over. While this is a setback, it also allows me to add another goodie to the weapons rack.

Among minor corrections, the next file-update for the pdf and the pod version will include the Scythe; a crude two-handed weapon which will be relatively easy to wield.
We have lift off!

The files got accepted for print and the Hardcover Premium book is available! One proof didn't work out as planned, but the second run provided a great quality book. it is available for order at RPGNow: