POLL: signed or not?

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POLL: signed or not?

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 12:27 pm

I know you folks are of several minds on the subject of signatures in limited fine press books. Some like signatures and some could care less.

My personal take on this is that a signature is something like a certificate of authenticity, and this is especially meaningful when a book contains new material not previously published. It just gives the work a special cachet. Anyone willing to personally put their name on a work tells me that person is willing to publicly state, "Yes, this is my work."

The signatories would be Professor Parkinson, Mark Askam (designer), Max Koch (printer), Alanna Simonsen (binder), Richard Hardesty (proposer).

Of course, Max can sign the sheets on the spot, as can Alanna when she gets them, then they need to be shipped to me in Montana and Mark & the professor in the UK, so yes, this takes time.

I should also point out that while having signatures is a plus, IMHO, there is a down side, primarily risk. Shipping the sheets to the UK for Mark's & Prof. Parkinson's signatures can be risky, but it has been done. We have the funds for the shipping but not for more paper/printing should the sheets be lost.

As this is Consensus Press, we see what the members want and act accordingly and in this case that is

Rösta: Do you want Sinuhe to be signed?

Nuvarande ställning: Ja 23, Nej 21, Tvekar 2

aug 2, 2023, 10:23 am

Voted yes, though not a deal-breaker. Signatures are nice to have when appropriate, which I think applies here, given the intimate involvement of the professor.

aug 2, 2023, 10:47 am

>2 Shadekeep: Same here

aug 2, 2023, 10:51 am

Yes. But also I don't really care, so if signatures are somehow an impediment to smooth publication they can be safely ditched.

aug 2, 2023, 11:02 am

To add a bit of context: Having all the contributors sign the edition is not without downside. The printed sheets would need to be shipped from Texas to England, where the designer and translator will sign it, and shipped back. That adds delay, risk, and cost.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it, but the question isn't only "Do we like signatures or not?"

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 11:07 am

>1 Glacierman: It would be good to get the Professor to sign it, but the extra risk to the sheets and cost in shipping could be enough reason to forego signatures

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 11:13 am

>6 ChestnutPress: but the extra risk to the sheets and cost in shipping could be enough reason to forego signatures

Yes, there is definitely risk and added expense involved, no argument there. OTOH, the new, previously unpublished material from Prof. Parkinson is worthy of a signature and thereby worth the risk, IMHO.

aug 2, 2023, 11:21 am

>5 grifgon: >6 ChestnutPress: >7 Glacierman: We have the budget to ship the sheets around for signatures, but we won't have the budget to replace the paper and reprint it if anything goes wrong.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 11:22 am

>5 grifgon: That adds delay, risk, and cost.

I just realised this is a kind of flipside to the Golden Triangle (cost, speed, quality). You can minimise two of the items you list, but only with an increase of the third. The Tarnished Triangle.

aug 2, 2023, 12:19 pm

I voted in favor of signatures, primarily because as >1 Glacierman: there is new, unpublished material. But I would also like to have Sinuhe's signature. Go big or go home. ;-)

aug 2, 2023, 12:26 pm

>9 Shadekeep: Well, you will have his signature, of a sort. His name will be in hieroglyphics on the front board. Short of raising the dead (assuming he really existed), that's the best we can do! *grin*

aug 2, 2023, 12:41 pm

>11 Glacierman: As this is the Consensus Press I don't see why we shouldn't poll the membership to consider a necromancy attempt.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 1:02 pm

>12 gmacaree: Or perhaps we could try for having a medium do a spirit signing for us. Have you a specialist in mind for either possibility?

aug 2, 2023, 1:27 pm

I answered yes, but my personal preference would be to only have the translator’s and possibly printers and binders signatures so we limit the amount of extra shipping.

aug 2, 2023, 1:29 pm

Personally, I'm always all for the signatures of contributors, but I've actually decided to change my own vote from "Yes" to "No," considering Reed's comment (>8 consensuspress:).

To get the signatures, here's what would need to happen: Max Koch in Texas signs > Ships to Mark Askam in England > Mark Askam signs > Ships to R. B. Parkinson elsewhere in England > Parkinson signs > Ships to Richard, the proposal and edition manager, in Montana > Richard signs > Ships to Alanna Simenson in British Columbia > Alanna signs and binds.

I think the likeliest outcome is that everything is fine! Still, there's a lot of moving parts and you've got delicate papers in the hands of a lot of people – not just the signatories, but shippers, deliverers, etc. . The package would need to cross borders three times. Will there be customs charges? Might the package be held like the initial paper was – which escaped being destroyed by FedEx by only one day .

And that's to say nothing of the expected delay from all of the above!

Obviously I'd love signatures, but even a 1 in 10 risk of something going seriously wrong and derailing the Consensus Press experiment overall is enough to flip my vote.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 1:34 pm

>15 grifgon: I live the life of the mind, so I only need the signature from the translator. I care not a whit for the scribblings of the grubby proles who actually make the book. Really, tradespeople, the very idea. Harumph.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 8:28 pm

The only signature I consider essential is that of Professor Parkinson. May I suggest that ONLY the colophon page(s) be shipped to the Professor for him to sign and then return the set of colophon sheets, which are probably fewer than 100. This will eliminate the need to send the entire set of books while minimizing risk, time and cost. This can be done before the entire book is bound, then incorporated into the binding.

aug 2, 2023, 2:58 pm

>17 dlphcoracl: If we are going to get the professor's signature this is the way to do it to minimize cost and risk.

However, because of the nature, and spirit, of this press I would rather have all the signatures of those that worked on it, including Grifgon, than the author's, or in this case translator's. I admit that I don't particularly value signatures but when I read about those would sign I felt it very apropos.

Summary: I voted yes, but don't care if we get the professor's signature due to risk and cost.

aug 2, 2023, 3:02 pm

Having a tipped in signature page takes the risk out of it. I'd be happy with that approach to facilitate everyone signing it.

aug 2, 2023, 3:27 pm

Why would more than one sheet per book need to be shipped? Even assuming sewn in as part of a standard gathering of sheets, just one sheet per book needs to be sent around.

It seems like the risk would be reprinting X sheets, where X is the number of copies, rather than reprinting everything. Would that expense be beyond the budget?

In either case, I agree with the other commenters above that translator is the most interesting signature in this case.

I wish the poll had three options: 1 no signatures, 2 translator, and 3 all. If so I would vote for 2.

Alternatively, one could create a separate binary yes/no poll for each potential signer and see which signers garner greater than 50 percent. That would be the cleanest measurement, and would show what members value.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 8:28 pm

Regardless of the number and nature of signatories desired, it still makes sense to send one page around rather than risk losing the work spent on an entire book.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 4:00 pm

>19 EdmundRodriguez: >20 abysswalker: I like both of these suggestions. Either is safer and more economical. And for clarity, my earlier comment was meant in a Swiftian vein. I would like to have the signatures of all the book makers as well.

EDIT: Maybe not exactly Swiftian. Biercean?

aug 2, 2023, 4:42 pm

Voted no, it seems to me like the risk of something going wrong outweighs the benefits, and if anything goes wrong here it would IMO put a stain on an otherwise great first edition of the press.

Not to mention that the idea of flying a few pieces of paper back and forth across the Atlantic so two people can sign their names on them seems very wasteful.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 4:58 pm

There’s a lot of talk of multiple signatures, which I think is a pointless over-egging of the pudding, leaving the page looking like a multiple-signed birthday card that you’d get from work colleagues. I think that the only signature that should appear (if any at all) is the Professors. I would add that I have no wish to sign it.

aug 2, 2023, 4:53 pm

>8 consensuspress: This alone tells me it’s not worth the risk!

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 5:01 pm

It goes without saying that, if we are gathering signatures, only the 4-up sheet containing the colophon will be shipped around. That does not change the risk calculus, however. If something went wrong, we would still need to order more paper and reprint that 4-up sheet, which Reed has stated we do not have the budget for.

We could go for a separate tipped-in signatures page. It would need to be on a different paper than the rest of the edition. And it won't change the delay. But then there's no risk of catastrophe.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2023, 5:05 pm

Changed my vote to no per >8 consensuspress:

aug 2, 2023, 5:26 pm

>26 grifgon: A tipped-in page of signatures strikes me as a really sloppy and amateurish idea. Why have a really finely-produced book, then randomly stick a page (not even of the same paper) of signatures in it?

aug 2, 2023, 5:40 pm

>29 dlphcoracl: ‘Less is more’ is always the way to go. This is fine press, not a scrapbook.

aug 2, 2023, 7:02 pm

>28 ChestnutPress: Yeah, that is a bit daft.

aug 2, 2023, 7:02 pm

I would be strongly against having a tipped in signature page.
If that’s even a possibility, I’d flip my vote to “no”.

aug 2, 2023, 7:05 pm

Methinks the risk factor is the fly in the ointment. And it is real. As much as I would like to see it signed by at least Herr Professor Doktor Parkinson, I'm thinking it might not be feasable. Maybe if everyone were on the same side of the pond....

aug 2, 2023, 7:55 pm

>33 Glacierman: Even my own publications, which have generally been people in my own country, I have not had my editions signed due to the risk of all getting damaged or lost. The one time I had a large chunk of an edition signed was when I actually visited the poet just after I had picked up the printed copies. I am very much an err on the side of caution when it comes to minimising what could happen to such precious and costly sheets!

aug 2, 2023, 8:27 pm

>34 ChestnutPress: You show great wisdom. I've heard several horror stories of sheets lost in transit---and not always trans-oceanic---to blithely assume that getting an edition signed is a piece of cake. It is if the signer lives down the block or across town, but if you have to ship it somewhere.....

Better safe than sorry, which is why, I ultimately voted no on this poll even though I desperately want Professor Parkinson's signature on the edition. Too bad he doesn't live near Max or Alanna!

aug 2, 2023, 9:17 pm

Going a bit out on a branch here, but:

It sounds like Parkinson's signature is the one we really want. Especially as he is making brand new never-before-scene contributions to this edition.

I will be in London in late October. If Max ships the colophon sheets to me, and Parkinson is available during my trip, I could bring the sheets myself, get them signed, and ensure they return safe and sound. That would put the sheets in Alanna's hands mid-November, for an estimated shipment to members around the new year.

In short: If we really want Parkinson's signature, I have a way of guaranteeing we get it risk-free. But it would push our timeline back by a month or two.

aug 2, 2023, 9:37 pm

>36 grifgon:

This suggestion is a winner. Prof. Parkinson's signature is the only one I really want because his commentary is an original and unique contribution to this edition. It is certainly more than a bit of trouble for you to go to this length in the midst of your London visit but it would certainly be well worth the 1-2 month delay, imho.

aug 2, 2023, 10:09 pm

>36 grifgon: >37 dlphcoracl: I love this idea as well.

aug 2, 2023, 10:58 pm

>36 grifgon: I’ll see you in October for drinks, then Griffin!!

aug 2, 2023, 11:09 pm

>36 grifgon: I support this idea as well!

aug 3, 2023, 12:52 am

>36 grifgon: I don't mind Griffin's idea of taking it himself. I agree with >37 dlphcoracl:

For clarity, I voted "No" on the poll as I believe in its original form of the explanation in >1 Glacierman: it was asking about all the signatures (even though the one-sentence question wasn't worded that way).

I appreciate the involvement of everyone involved in actually making this book. I want them to get credit for their work and hope they each get referenced on the project. I'm thrilled about the project and several signatures would not increase my happiness.

If it's practical and essentially without risk to get Prof. Parkinson's signature, I believe that would be a nice touch, but if it's not possible, I will appreciate the book just as much for the ideas he is contributing.


On an unrelated note, I genuinely appreciate how productive the dialogue of this thread has been and feel like the pillar of the Consensus Press shines through. On the fun side, thank you >10 ultrarightist: & >12 gmacaree: for getting me to grin. Re: >37 dlphcoracl: As is your usual MO, thank you for a concise statement I can be on board with.

Redigerat: aug 3, 2023, 4:04 am

>36 grifgon: As the proposer of this little gem-in-the-making, the ONE signature I desperately wish to have in this book is Professor Parkinson's, as it would essentially be his imprimatur.

Griffin, I say go for it! For THAT signature, I would be willing to wait, even though I'm sooo eager to see the finished book. Impatience has always been a bugaboo for me, but I can keep it under control for THAT!!!

I have taken the liberty of informing Prof. Parkinson of this possibility.

Do we do another poll???

aug 3, 2023, 6:41 am

As is often the case when we are stumbling in the dark, Griffin emerges to return us to the light. I reckon >36 grifgon: is the way to go.

My personal views on the matter: I would love the signature of those involved in the development of the text itself - authors, contributing writers (introductions, etc.), translators, illustrators. I think it would be a brilliant and unique feature of Consensus Press editions to have the signature of the initial proposer, perhaps with the original proposal itself or a short reflection on the process, though I can see the challenges this could present.

We might need to move beyond the humble LT poll for this one, or a post here with multiple yes/no poll questions. Maybe a preferential vote, given the range of options on offer.

A) No signatures; prioritise production time and paper safety.
B) Griffin escorts our treasured papers, life and limb, for the signature of the Professor.
C) Author/translator/contributor/illustrator signatures only.
D) Production team (designer/printer/binder) signatures only.
E) All of the signatures, safety and production time be damned.

aug 3, 2023, 6:42 am

>36 grifgon: Great suggestion, which I wholeheartedly support!

>42 Glacierman: Based on the original poll, the current tally is around 50/50 Yes/No with only half of the members having voted so far.

So, although I'm very happy going forward with the Prof.'s signature, and the small delay due to it, I think it would be more fair to do another poll directly reflecting >36 grifgon:'s suggestion.

aug 3, 2023, 7:23 am

>36 grifgon: That is a superb solution, and easily worth the extra wait for me. Thanks for making it possible!

Redigerat: aug 3, 2023, 10:09 am

>43 Aleks3000: LT allows only one poll per post and a poll consists of a single yes/no question. Unfortunately, multiple choice isn't supported.

As a further note regarding having Griffin hand deliver the sheets to Prof. Parkinson, he is in London on weekends unless he spends a Monday at the British Library. He's in Oxford the rest of the week. Thus, the two of them should not have any problem in getting the sheets signed, and Prof. Parkinson has stated he would be quite delighted to sign them.

aug 3, 2023, 11:00 am

>41 Tuna_Melon: You're welcome. Glad I could bring a smile to your face.

I'm in favor of Griffin's proposal, but I'll keep my vote as no based on the original wording. Perhaps another yes/no poll is in order worded precisely according to Griffin's proposal.

I imagine Griffin on the airplane, sacred sheets safely secured in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. Perhaps he wears an eyepatch to add to the mystery.

aug 3, 2023, 11:17 am

>47 ultrarightist: I like to picture Griffin as Corso the rare book hunter from The Ninth Gate in this scenario.

aug 3, 2023, 11:52 am

Surely the easiest way to mitigate the risk is to send the pages insured for the replacement value, which should surely be within the budget. Normally that will be about 2.5% of the value

aug 3, 2023, 11:56 am

>47 ultrarightist: He should be accompanied by a femme fatale to complete the scenario. Of course, trench coats for both is de rigueur.

aug 3, 2023, 12:13 pm

>50 Glacierman: But then he'll have to deal with moose and squirrel.

aug 3, 2023, 12:26 pm

>49 rocklands: Yes, certainly. If we're interested in only the signature of Prof. Parkinson, then I think sending the sheets insured is a perfectly decent option.

There are two small issues, though.

Insurance doesn't cover all risks. Let's say the papers get dropped off with Prof. Parkinson, and his dog eats them. That sort of thing.

And, I could be wrong, but I believe that insurance covers the declared value. Since the papers aren't (yet) commercial merchandise, our declared value would normally be nil. Insuring them for the replacement value will mean declaring that value, and then getting hit with a hefty customs fee on both ends.

aug 3, 2023, 12:27 pm

>43 Aleks3000: I think this is a good suggestion. I know that Reed is collecting questions for an all-member ballot to resolve outstanding issues before production begins. Unless anybody objects, I think it would be great to put these options forward just as you formulate them Aleks3000.

aug 3, 2023, 8:00 pm

But if Griffin kindly smuggles the sheets to the UK and back for us, can't we have the rest of the signatures without any additional risks/costs? The sheets will be in Max Koch's hands anyways as he needs to print them, so he might as well sign them. Alanna will get them as well to bind and can sign at that point. Mark is, apparently, coming over for drinks with Griffin, so despite his unwillingness can be coerced into signing while drinking.

I guess shipping sheets to Richard would add an additional risk, but we could either take it (after all, LEC had no issues getting a dozen books a year signed by various people for decades), or if Richard doesn't mind then we could forgo his most valuable autograph and shower him with praise and blessings in print instead.

Personally, I voted for signatures, and I'd be fine with either multiple signatures or just the professor's.

Redigerat: aug 4, 2023, 12:46 am

>54 elladan0891: No, I can not be coerced into signing the sheets. I do not agree with multiple non-important signatures appearing in fine press editions, and a couple of pints won’t change that! 🤣

aug 4, 2023, 2:13 am

He means that!

Maybe six pints, but I wouldn't guarantee a legible signature.....🤣

aug 4, 2023, 2:22 am

>54 elladan0891: >55 ChestnutPress: Don't worry, I can forge Mark's signature.

aug 4, 2023, 2:23 am

Only question is whether the kitty cat ears go over the M or the R. I'll have to do more research.

aug 4, 2023, 2:26 am

>55 ChestnutPress: In my view, fine press is all about the craft, the signatures of the people that made it are therefore very relevant (just an opinion). I almost see them as a stamp that says "I made this and I'm proud of my handiwork", similar to when an artist signs a painting.
Saying that, I don't mind much, fine press is really all about the beautiful books, signatures are absolutely a second order feature.

aug 4, 2023, 10:28 am

>59 EdmundRodriguez:
I have the same feelings - signatures make the craft product a little more personal, a stamp of pride, like you said. And they're not reserved just for the artists signing their paintings - Japanese blademakers sign their blades, LEC often used to have craftspeople sign their books, etc.

Speaking of the Japanese: Japanese swordsmiths have been traditionally, for centuries, signing their blades on the tang - the part of the blade that goes inside the handle, so the signatures are there, but are never seen! Perhaps that could be a compromise that would appeal to Mark's modesty - he could sign not the colophon page, but something like an inside of an endpaper that would be forever glued to the boards :)

aug 4, 2023, 11:47 am

Perhaps a compromise is to print a cartouche of each book artisan's name in the colophon? For that matter, the books could be numbered in hieroglyphs as well.


(All said somewhat tongue in cheek.)

aug 4, 2023, 12:58 pm

>56 Glacierman: Six isn’t enough…

aug 4, 2023, 12:58 pm

>58 grifgon: 🤣🤣🤣

Redigerat: aug 4, 2023, 5:04 pm

>59 EdmundRodriguez: It is about the craft, but surely that doesn’t call for every single person involved to put their signature on it? There has not been such a general requirement (or even want) in the history of fine press and I don’t understand the need for it now. The craftsmanship can speak for itself without the need for more signatures than a school-leaver’s yearbook.

aug 4, 2023, 1:08 pm

>61 Shadekeep: Like this?

aug 4, 2023, 3:28 pm

>64 ChestnutPress: to be honest I don't mind much either way. I would like everyone significantly involved in its creation to be mentioned in the colophon though, nice to have the details.

aug 4, 2023, 5:03 pm

>67 EdmundRodriguez: The colophon does list everyone involved, so it’s all good 👍

aug 4, 2023, 7:44 pm

>66 Shadekeep: But I'm not royalty, so no cartouche for me.

aug 4, 2023, 7:53 pm

>59 EdmundRodriguez: ...I almost see them as a stamp that says "I made this and I'm proud of my handiwork....

I sometimes feel that way, but in truth, their pride is shown in the quality of their handiwork.

In the case of an originator (author, translator, artist), the way I see it, their signature acts as an imprimatur and proof of authenticity. The difference is subtle, but real.

Redigerat: aug 4, 2023, 8:08 pm

So far, the vote is a tie. (21 to 21 with 2 undecided. 8/4/23, 1754 hrs US Mountain time). Interesting.

aug 4, 2023, 8:08 pm

To recap:

Choice 1: Everybody signs
1. Max signs the sheets before sending them to Griffin.
2. Griffin takes the sheets to London for Prof. Parkinson's signature. (Mark has eschewed signing them, even if plied with 10 pints of a good brew! We respect this decision.)
3. Griffin returns stateside with the sheets.
4. Griffin sends the sheets to Richard for his signature.
5. Richard ships the sheets to Alanna in Canada for binding.
6. Alanna signs the sheets and binds the books.
7. The completed books are distributed to members.

Choice 2: Only Prof. Parkinson signs.
1. Max sends the sheets to Griffin.
2. Griffin takes the sheets to London for Prof. Parkinson's signature.
3. Griffin returns them to the US and ships them to Alanna in Canada for binding unless he runs them up there himself.
4. The completed books are distributed to members.

If I have it right, then I will put up a new poll that will reflect the above choices in a yes/no question.

aug 4, 2023, 10:39 pm

>36 grifgon: *This* sounds perfect. Happy to vote on a second poll with that as an option.

aug 5, 2023, 12:24 am

>72 Glacierman: Hold up on that for now. I think this is a good formulation of the choice, but Reed is preparing a ballot to be sent to the entire membership (for answers on a number of questions), and this question would be better settled that way.

Redigerat: aug 6, 2023, 5:59 am

>70 Glacierman: Exactly this, Richard. The signature of a book’s author or artist is a ‘proof of authenticity’, whereas I view all others as pretty much just ‘I was involved in this’ and therefore not of the same importance. My pride is shown by having my name as designer/typographer printed in the colophon. Historically, only the most top-tier of all typographers such as Bruce Rogers and Jan van Krimpen have really added their signatures in colophons, and that mostly in editions where there is nobody else relevant to sign it, yet the appearance of a signature is clearly wanted (some LEC editions come to mind). While I am a decent designer (I wouldn’t be doing this edition otherwise), I doubt my name will ever be bandied around like BR or JvK, so really don’t feel my signature adds anything except the danger of possibly spilling a pint on the sheets when meeting in a bar with Griffin! 🤣

However, if the result of the ballot is that the membership wanted ALL contributors to sign then I would likely end up doing so to fulfil everyone’s wishes. While I have strong feelings about not doing so, I would also rather everyone in the membership get what they want!

Let us see what the poll says.

aug 5, 2023, 3:23 pm

>72 Glacierman: That's a tough one. I voted for signatures in the original poll, but frankly speaking I'd be fine with either of the signature options.

>75 ChestnutPress: ...the danger of possibly spilling a pint on the sheets...
Done deal, you've convinced me. Single signature it is )

aug 11, 2023, 8:10 am

>74 grifgon: Has the ballot about signatures been sent to members yet? I haven't received anything.

aug 11, 2023, 10:25 am

>77 Flaubie: No, not yet.

Redigerat: aug 28, 2023, 11:31 am

I'm wondering - if Griffin is taking the sheets to London in October, why does the poll have options for signatures delaying overall timeline by 4 months and more? Are there specific scenarios that the board had in mind when creating options like a 6-month delay or indefinite wait? Other than Griffin losing the signed sheets and spending time in debtors' prison until he comes up with dough for new sheets?

aug 28, 2023, 9:52 am

>79 elladan0891: Airline closures? New pandemic? Griffin is inadvertently sent to the Bibby Stockholm? The possibilities are endless. ^_^

aug 28, 2023, 12:00 pm

>79 elladan0891: It's a CYA provision, I think.

aug 29, 2023, 2:01 pm

>79 elladan0891: Please, if I lose the signed sheets I'll take up one of my other aliases and you'll never hear from me again.

Here's the reason I asked to have that question added:

In the first ballot, it wasn't made explicitly clear that getting Parkinson's signature would result in a two month delay with the current plan. Furthermore, though he is happy to sign, and is pretty sure he'll be in London at the proper time, because of his current family situation he couldn't guarantee it. So, if it happens that the timing doesn't work after all, what next? At what point do we pull the ejection cord and proceed to binding sans signature? Good to know in advance.

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