Umijoo was a massive project. From conception to final production, the book took six years to create.
After being inspired by a conversation that I had with a dear friend, I spent two years writing and re-writing the story before approaching Caia to illustrate the book. We created a comprehensive storyboard before she began painting, which ended up being a multi-year process that was propelled by our many dedicated Patreon supporters. Without that community, Umijoo never would have happened.
Once painting was complete, we embarked on book design, a complex collaborative process that spanned about three months. Led by Mike “Sully” Sullivan of Three Speed Creative, the Umijoo storyboard was, piece by piece, transformed into an actual book layout. Sully spent hours tinkering with fonts, pin lines, sizing, and all of the other details that make Umijoo what it is today.
We submitted the first draft of our creation to our printer, Worzalla, in November of 2018. What followed was about six weeks of adjusting and editing the dozens of intricate moving pieces that Umijoo comprises. The cover alone took us several drafts and a number of restarts to get to where we wanted it to be. In fact, the cover design on Umijoo is so demanding that our printer was forced to subcontract the production of that piece to another house that specializes in foil and cover treatment work, and even that house had to buy a new machine in order to achieve the effect we wanted. The final product is something that Sully, Caia, and myself could not be happier with.
Printing itself took several days and a great deal of attention and work on the part of the Worzalla team. We couldn’t believe it when they sent us pictures of the press and we saw the beautiful sea creature images that are used to indicate the printing colors!
Once production was complete, the books were organized into several shipments and sent out by truck. I drove down to Seattle to pick up my shipment, and the feeling I had when first holding the book in my hand is something that I cannot fully describe in words. I laughed and cried at the same time.
After receiving the books, we embarked on fulfilling the many outstanding crowdfunding orders (352 copies). I’d like to add here that we are very sorry that Caia and I were not both able to sign the books that went out to our supporters. Because of our budget, time constraints, and the logistical realities posed by shipping heavy crates of books around the country, the books came to Washington State where I signed them and sent them out. We sincerely apologize that Caia was not also able to sign those books, and as we have said before, if you are a Patreon or Indiegogo supporter who would like your book signed by Caia, she is more than happy to do that for you. Please contact us and we can work with you to make that happen.
Umijoo is now available on Amazon, at many leading ocean conservation establishments (such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific, and California Academy of Sciences) and a growing number of independent bookstores. It is such a wonderful feeling to see how many organizations and individuals are rallying to the call and helping to spread Umijoo’s story of love, balance, and responsibility.
If you are associated with or have contacts at a retailer that could be a good home for Umijoo, please let us know! You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is just the beginning of the story for Umijoo — we have so much more planned and can’t wait to share it with you soon!