The Covenant: The Art of Allen Williams books made it out of the Oakland, CA port and are now located with our shipper at their San Jose, CA truck depot. This is just 40 minutes away from us. The good news is that they are finally free of the port congestion where they were stuck in a container for a full month. My contact informed me that the books should arrive with us any day now. I know they have been saying this for weeks now, but I have a good feeling about this week. I’ll stay in touch and run an update as soon as they arrive.
We have 700 boxes taped up and ready for our big packing party. We will be working nonstop on shipping books each day until all of them are out the door. Thanks so much for your patience.
I was reading a news article last night regarding the ongoing shipping issues that are creating challenges for many businesses, manufacturers and retail stores. I’d like to share with you all how this is impacting us here at Flesk.
What I found interesting was seeing how certain publishers had decided to push their 2021 fall titles to the spring of 2022. This was a decision that I had made months ago. Here’s why.
The average book shipments are taking 90 days and the pricing is up 500% compared to pre-pandemic pricing. To give you an example of what this translates to for a business like mine is that it can take 5 months for us to get a book printed and delivered to us (instead of less than 3 months), and my average shipment costs are hovering at around $10,000 instead of $2,000. I’ve paid over $30,000 in extra charges this year alone due to the rise in shipping costs. On top of this, paper costs are also up about 30% this year that has raised the printer bills by thousands of dollars.
I saw all of this coming early this year and prepared for it as best I could, but that doesn’t mean by any standards that this situation is fun to go through. What I realize is that a lot of businesses, stores and manufacturers will be heavily challenged by these rising costs and delays until the spring of 2022, if not longer. It’s been increasingly difficult to make release date announcements when we are unsure of when the books will actually arrive with us.
What are we doing about all of this? The port congestion and shipping prices are all out of our control. So, we focus on what we do best. We make books and will have quite a bit of exciting new titles to announce next year. I am hoping things have calmed down by then!
What can you do to help? We have been amazed at how many people have pre-ordered our Flesk books and who have been incredibly patient. This has saved us this year. We have not had one angry email or phone call all year. It’s really been wonderful. We have the nicest most understanding supporters. If you don’t mind continuing to pre-order books, even when they may be a few months late, we would appreciate it.
Our Franklin Booth expanded and revised edition in the works. Coming from Flesk in the spring of 2022.This release date will coincide with our 20th Anniversary.
Our original Franklin Booth: Painter with a Pen collection came out in the spring of 2002. This new book will feature all of the art found in the first edition, plus over 100 additional pieces. We are expanding it from 112 pages to nearly 300 pages. Plus, Bunny Carter is writing an extensive essay that will serve as the definitive look at the career and life of Booth.
The cover price, the formats, and other details will be announced next year. We’ll start to take pre-orders by March 2022. This is the book that we all have been waiting for. https://www.fleskpublications.com/
I’m not one to brag, but I can’t help myself. Who wouldn’t brag if they had the chance to meet with Richard and Wendy Pini? These are two of the kindest and smartest people who I know. It was a wonderful surprise when the Pini’s visited in Santa Cruz the day prior to their guest appearance at the Silicon show in San Jose.
I could rattle on for a while about what a delight it was to see them in person, especially given how few people I’ve seen in recent times. I’ll focus on a pair of quick points.
We may have talked about a new project, which I can not confirm or deny may turn into something really cool! How’s that for being vague? I’ve been itching to work with the Pini’s again for years. As I shared an idea with them I watched in amazement as Richard took my basic pitch and turned it into something far more exciting than I originally imagined. I don’t usually offer a tease so far in advance, but I really wanted to demonstrate how much I continue to learn from the Pini’s and how quick Richard’s business mind spins. They have been publishing and staying fresh for over 43 years and there is a reason why.
On another note, they were nice enough to listen to my ideas for the business over the next few years. I have a vision about where I want to take Flesk and how to navigate through all of the unknowns to get there. They encouraged me on my path while offering some very good insight into areas that I had not considered before. It was an enlightening visit for which I am grateful.
Over the last few months I have emailed five artists who I have never met or seen in person to inquire about the possibility of working with them on an art book collection. None of them replied.
In contrast, I emailed two artists earlier this year who I had met in person at events in the past. Both of them replied the same day with a positive note expressing their enthusiasm to work together.
This was a good experiment to run. In the past we would almost always meet someone in person before extending an invitation to create an art book of their work. Ever since the comic and art events came to a halt in March 2020, we haven’t had the opportunity to walk the shows and meet new people. While events are starting to reopen now, I suspect it will be a long while before everyone is fully comfortable going to them to take advantage of networking opportunities.
Meeting people in person still continues to be the best way for us to build new relationships as we focus on younger and emerging artists, as well as artists who have been in the industry for decades. We have no shortage of books to make, but I am eager to invite a few new people to our publishing company. Books can take a few years to make, so contacting people now for our 2023-2024 release schedule is something that I am looking into.
I know there are online opportunities to get your name out there and to build your reputation. But for how my brain works, I believe there is no better way to make new connections than to do it in person.
Covenant by Allen Williams is coming in late August.
This book is currently shipping to our Flesk warehouse from the printer. We can’t wait to ship these to all of our Kickstarter supporteres and to those who pre-ordered the book direct from us. We appreciate your patience while we waited for the book to get reprinted due to a printer error.
A graphic novelization of Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by the celebrated illustrator and writer of books, comics, and comic strips, Gary Gianni. The classic Verne novel receives an exciting fresh visual approach allowing the reader to experience the story anew. Twelve years after its initial release, Gianni’s visual adaptation remains one of our favorite Flesk titles.
We have a few cases of the book left at a special price of $14.95. Learn more about the book here:
It has been quite the week! Here’s a breakdown of some of the things that we have accomplished this week.
Thanks to Kathy and Vicky, plus our summer helper Rachel, all of the Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm and Pencil and Ink by Frank Cho books have been packed. The last of the U.S. orders ships today. The international orders all go out early next week.
Vicky and I worked with Tyler Jacobson to build and launch his art book Kickstarter campaign that went live last Tuesday. It’s been amazing to see so much support for Tyler.
I’ve been working with an artist and writer to finish a new book that is going to the printer today. This is an unannounced project with two new people who I have never worked with before. I’ll share the news about who they are and what the book is in the coming months.
Kathy even managed to squeeze in some Arthur Adams scanning.
I’d say we have had a productive week!
Next week we will continue to work on Tyler’s book, plus we have another book that has not been announced that is almost done. I’m also starting to think about getting started on the next Al Williamson book. There’s plenty going on to keep us going throughout the summer.