About Us, Additional Services, Marketing

What’s New for Gorham Printing in 2021

It seems as if the world around us changes faster and faster these days. Here at Gorham Printing, we have been working on finding new techniques, tools, knowledge, products and features to help you on your publishing journey. Right now, we have some big news we would like to share with you!

self publishing guidebook

Updated 2021 Guidebook

We would like to announce that our brand new guidebook, Journey Into Self-Publishing, is now available! The new guidebook is made free for authors at any stage of the publishing journey. It covers editing, designing, printing and marketing your book. The guidebook includes a Quick Reference page in the front of the book with an author’s checklist to help you track your progress. Here are a few more things you will see in the guidebook:

  • The new editing section details different types of editing. It has tips on how to do it yourself and what to look for when hiring a professional. It also has information on important publishing numbers such as ISBNs.
  • The new design section includes tips for designing the book yourself and showcases our new design packages. From choosing a program or choosing a font, we have tips for all stages of DIY book design. If you are looking for professional design services, we offer new design packages that fit any author or genre. Check out the new design packages in the guidebook or right now under our Design Services.
  • The print your book section includes example pricing, new promotional programs and new premium add-ons now available. We have added a full page to show off our new premium features and if you haven’t seen it yet, we have added a new section in our Get a Price tool that allows you to select some of our premium add-ons! These include:
    • 3D Spot UV
    • Interior Foldouts
    • CD Inserts
    • Metallic Printing
    • Inside Cover Printing
  • eBook conversions can now be purchased as a standalone service using our eBook Get a Price Tool. Check out the new guidebook to find a first time eBook conversion discount code.
  • The new marketing section will help you price your book. This can be found in the Marketing Your Book section along with other new tips and tricks to get your book out into the world.

Now through June 30th, we are also offering a promotional deal of Free Shipping! For orders of 100 books or more going to one destination, we will pay for your shipping cost. This includes USPS Media Mail and UPS Ground to all 50 states. Start your order today to take advantage and let us make your books a bit lighter.

Even if you’ve received our guidebook before, you can still be one of the first to receive Journey Into Self-Publishing. Order your physical copy or download the PDF instantly.

Our expert team will be writing new blogs each month to give you insight on new techniques and book printing knowledge! Subscribe to the Newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out!

Community, Design, Local authors, Marketing, Self Publishing, Writing

Inspiring Voices: We Are the Future with Merna Hecht

One of the things I love about working with publishers and self-publishers is that wide range of books that come in each and every day. Any given day might involve a grandmother’s cookbook, the history of horse wrangling in South Dakota, a yearbook for a college on the East Coast, a book by an author whose work I already love, or someone new I’ve never heard from before. I never know what project is coming up next when the phone rings!

We Are the Future

We Are the Future was one of those books. Merna Hecht, a nationally known storyteller, teaching artist, poet and essayist, called us one day to talk about a new project she was working on. Right from the start I knew this was something special, and I’ve been delighted to follow along as We Are the Future came to life on the printed page.

We Are the Future comes directly from the Stories of Arrival Poetry Project out of Foster High School in Tukwila, Washington. Collecting poetry broadsides from refugee and immigrant youth, We Are the Future gives students a chance to tell their story in their own words and art. We asked Merna to tell us a little more about We Are the Future and the Stories of Arrival Project.

A Conversation with Editor Merna Hecht

i write for my motherland poetry book printing

Gorham Printing: Tell me about the heart of Stories of Arrival. What inspired this project?

Merna Hecht: Thank you for asking about the heart of what inspired the project. Most of all it is the core belief that co-director Carrie Stradley and I share that it is vital for refugee and immigrant youth to tell their own stories. These individual stories can educate the larger community about the experience of migration as it affects young people and their families. We believe that compassion and understanding are increased, not through sound bites about wars and conflicts, or as overwhelming statistics, but through individual stories that touch our hearts and broaden our sense of what it means to leave a homeland and arrive in a new place.

GP If you had to summarize Stories of Arrival in three sentences, what would you say?

MH: Our project gives refugee and immigrant youth a forum for speaking out on issues that determine their future and their well-being. We fully honor that youth are the future and we provide an arena for refugee and immigrant youth to articulate their identity, honor their cultures and speak to the world they hope for. It is a project that celebrates the power of poetry to tell stories of loss, struggle, hope and dreams all toward envisioning a more peaceful, humane world.

mariyam poetry book printing

GP: How have the students reacted to seeing their poems in print?

MH: They are thrilled to see their art and poems in print—they feel like their voices and artistic expressions have a far reach and they are very proud of that and of each other.

GP: How have readers reacted to We Are the Future?

MH: We have received responses from many people around the country telling us how deeply they have been touched by the poetry, stories, images and photos in the book. All of these kind responses tell us two main things. One is that the book touches the heart of its readers and enlarges their awareness of the courage and resilience of refugee and immigrant youth. Also, there is a sense of surprise and gratitude as to how much these young people have to teach us, contribute to our communities and remind us of our common humanity.

my small town poetry book printing

GP: What made you decide to self-publish this book?

MH: I wanted to bring the book into printed form so that the students could see their work and celebrate themselves and each other, because with the COVID-19 school closures we had no way of holding community showcases and readings to honor their voices and creativity and deep engagement in the project.

GP: How did you find out about Gorham Printing?

MH: I learned of Gorham from a friend who works at our local independent bookstore. She gave me the Gorham pamphlet of sample paper and covers and I knew right away that Gorham would fit perfectly for our vision of what we wanted for this full color book. The “vibe” was just right!  I stopped looking at other printers!

My Mom poetry book printing

GP: What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the book printing process?

I wish I had anticipated how many copies I needed instead of eventually placing two more orders!

GP: Where can people find out more about your book?

MH: I have remaining copies from the Gorham printing and can be contacted at mernaanna@yahoo.com for price and mailing instructions. The proceeds go directly to our project. The book is coming out soon as a trade book from Seattle’s Chin Music Press and can now be ordered and mailed directly from them.


Elia poetry book printing

We are always excited to see anthologies and new voices come to life on the printed page. Do you have a book like We Are the Future that you’d like to print? Give me and Candace a call!

Additional Services, Book production, Design

How to Craft the Perfect Foil Stamp Book Cover

Foil stamping is one of the oldest methods in the world to make a book shine, and it’s one of my favorites. Used for hundreds of years, foil stamping can be found anywhere from traditional, high-end books to new and innovative cover designs.

What is foil stamping?

Foil stamping is the process where hot metal foil is pressed into the cover of a book using a stamp. You might hear it called foiling, embossing, debossing, or stamping.

How are books foil stamped?

Foil stamping starts with what we call the die. For our dies, we use solid copper created in the exact shape of your design.

book design foil stamp

When it’s time to stamp your books, hot metal foil will be put on the die, and then the die will be pressed hard into the cover of your book. The heat and pressure make the metal foil stick to the book permanently. 

Because we create a custom die for each book order, you can stamp anything you want on your books. You have an unlimited choice of fonts, designs, illustrations and choices. I love this because it gives each author a chance to make their book look unique. Seeing the new foil stamp designs is one of my favorite things!

Sometimes we receive a stamp design and know immediately it’s not going to get great results. Because we care about the quality of your books, we’ll always make sure to let you know if something looks off with the foil stamp. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re daydreaming about your design.

Three tricks for excellent foil stamping

  1. Use thick lines or thin lines, but not both.

The thicker a line is on a foil stamp, the harder the stamp has to be pressed into the book. When thick and thin lines are mixed, the thinner lines are pressed so hard that they expand and obliterate the design.

foil stamp cover example

This foil stamp uses text and a signature, and keeps the line thickness in the same range. As a result, all of the lines are crisp, none of them are muddied, and the stamp looks refined and classic.

2. Watch out for the small stuff—literally.

When it comes to printing your book, small details are no problem. You can include small fonts, little lines, and all the details in the world, and your book will still look fantastic. But because foil stamping is pressed, not printed, those small details have a tendency to change from intricate designs to messy blobs. The smaller the detail, the more likely this is to happen.

foil stamp closeup

This doesn’t mean you can’t have small details. This book has plenty of small lines and dots, and ends up looking fantastic—it’s one of my favorites from 2021 so far. The key thing here is that there’s room for those lines to grow without bumping into each other. A great foil stamp design is one that has medium to large font and good spacing between details.

3. It can be complex—but it doesn’t have to be.

Simple doesn’t mean boring. These books used different approaches—one an image, and one a simple title with matte black foil—to create book covers that would pop out on any shelf. The foil stamp for your cover can be anything you want, but the best foil stamps are designed with simplicity in mind. This lets the cover design shine.

Designing for Foil Stamping

If you do have a complex design, or your design absolutely needs multiple colors and intricate detailing, don’t give up hope. A printed hardcover with 3D Spot UV is a great alternative when a foil stamping design doesn’t fit.

Ultimately, the thing that sets great foil stamping designs apart is that they’ve clearly been created with foil stamping in mind. When an author is writing a book, they’re spending a lot of time in the digital world, worrying about commas, plot points, sentence structure, and how to get Microsoft Word to mirror their margins. When it’s time to print the book, some authors make the mistake of staying in that digital world. But a book is more than the files you send in; it’s a physical object, and things like fabric choice, paper stocks, and line size play a big part in how the final books feel.

foil stamp book examples

I recommend taking some time to peruse a couple books at your local bookstore. Peek under the dust jackets of your favorite hardcovers or grab a new softcover book and you’ll find stunning foil stamping waiting for you. As you take a look at what other authors have done, you’ll have even more inspiration for what you’d like to do.

Book production, Marketing, Self Publishing

The Anatomy of a Barcode

If you’ve ever attempted to publish your own book, you’ve likely had to deal with barcodes at some point. A barcode is a graphic of vertical lines that can be scanned for sales or inventory. The ISBN number is used to create the barcode, but the number and the barcode are two separate things.

Why do you need an ISBN?

If you put your book out there for sale it is important to identify it uniquely. An ISBN acts like a social security number for your book.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies your book. If you plan to sell your printed books or ebooks through booksellers, it is recommended to purchase an ISBN for each edition, for example, one each for hardcover, softcover, and ebooks.

If your book will be sold primarily to family and friends, through your website or by back-of-the-room sales, an ISBN is not necessary. Visit www.myidentifiers.com to purchase your ISBNs.

The Anatomy of a Barcode

The Anatomy of a Barcode

To learn more about ISBNs and barcodes and how they relate to book publishing, check out our article on the subject.