e received the first pilot copies from the printer in September 2023. Or rather, 10 copies. One came by post to my house, and the second one to Slava's. I looked at mine and was mostly satisfied. I called Slava, and he said - I don't like it. I went to his house the next day, got out my notebook, and we started to go over what he didn't like.

What Slava didn't like - most people wouldn't even notice. Inaccuracies in the cutting of the book block, small defects on the covers and pages where they were glued together. We took more than a hundred photos, I divided them into subgroups and sent the comments to the printer. I thought, or rather I was convinced, that they would say "Fuck you". But they promised to redo everything and correct it in the final printed version.

They had some questions for us too: the colouring of the photos, the placement and positioning of some of the shots. We also redid all of this before the print run went to press.

The first copy

The first copy

The first copy

10 pilot copies :)

Feedback to the printers

Feedback to the printers

Feedback to the printers

Once the pilot had gone to print, we imported the entire layout into Miro so that everyone involved in the project could compile any comments in one place.

The final layout of the book is spread out in Miro

The final layout of the book is spread out in Miro

Adding a part to the book about how we started the project

The first page became white, instead of black

Tweaking hanging punctuation

Proofreading and searching for inaccuracies

Endless minor edits

We got our first haters. The main reason for this was that we gave the pilot to be printed without conducting a final proofread. There were typos and mistakes in it. We did it deliberately to speed up the whole production cycle of the book and to bring the production of the print run closer, to have time to receive it before the New Year. But doing it this way, we ended up with very obvious typos, and it did not go unnoticed by our readers.

The most "commented" typo

But aside from that, there was a lot of good stuff. Having sorted out the little thing, we could begin to share the results of all our work, launch the website and open pre-orders for the first print run.

Our editor, Olga, and the first copy of the book.

Katya, Alex’s wife, holds the first copy of the book

Slava holds the first copy of the book

Celebrating the launch in a bar

Alex looking through the book with his kids

Alex’s daughter flipping through the book

The pilot version of the book on its way to the Białowieża Forest

Developing the book’s packaging

The book in Minsk

Slava leafing through the book (it’s easy to understand that size of the book here)