This is a cautionary tale about print on demand services and deadlines! Last weekend my daughter and I were at Green Fest Philly, having been approached to attend as Etsy store owners with eco-friendly products. As we planned for the event, we brainstormed ideas for new products that we thought might appeal. As the dust settled, I found myself designing some coloring books for adults…

As the concept has been around for several months, I wondered if the books would be greeted warmly or not. Too my surprise, even before the fair had opened a woman from a local arboretum stopped by and asked to buy any copies we hadn’t sold to sell in their gift shop! It was great to find that my coloring books for adults were so well received.

Before that small triumph, I had to get the designs created and the books made, so began by deciding how best to have the designs printed. I first went to CreateSpace to see what their time line looked like. I learned that if I uploaded my designs within the next 3 days I could have printed copies delivered in time for the fair, so with great excitement – and a firm deadline in place – I set to work. I had toyed with the idea a while back so had some designs that were ready to go, but needed to work on enough to create a book. After I had completed one book with flower images, my daughter suggested that she would like one with mandalas and allover designs in it, so I set to work and managed to create another set of new designs.

Having uploaded the designs, I created covers for both books and sat back to await the approval phase. Within seconds of setting the books into approval mode, I inevitably noticed there was a typo on the back cover. When the books got initial approval I quickly made that small change and sent them back, explaining I had changed nothing but one word on the back cover of each book, hoping for a faster review the second time. 24 hours passed, and then it got into the next day. I finally got the approval and ordered copies for the fair. It was only when the invoices popped through that I saw that the delivery date was no longer September 12th, but had leaped to September 19th. I replied to the email to see if I could expedite the process. Another 24 hours and I was told I could pay a lot extra – only then to be told they still couldn’t be delivered until September 14th or 15th – still too late for the fair on September 13th, so told them to forget the expedited mailing and just let them arrive when they did.

Having put in so much design energy to create these coloring books for adults for this fair, I quickly I sent a copy order to Staples and an Amazon Prime order for covers. Staples also had a print delay, but finally got all the copies and the covers, and spent an afternoon making up the new books so we’d be ready for the fair. You can imagine my frustration when 2 days later, the printed copies arrived by mail…

This chaos did mean we now had two full sets of coloring books – one that had pages that could be easily be removed so finished pictures could be framed, and the other easily transported – but had been a much more complicated task than it should have been!

So if you would like to see my handiwork, click here! If on the other hand you want to use print on demand services… plan well ahead!