Premier Printing Assists Wisconsin Author Tom Palmer with Book Publication

Local Small Business Prints Former Marshfield Resident’s Book

By Kaylin Speth – Printing a book calls to mind New York City and giant presses, but the process can happen right here at home.

Local business Premier Printing has several books under its belt, but its latest project was to print 500 copies of a 315-page memoir called Fly in Formation for former Marshfield resident, Tom Palmer of Three Lakes.

Each project is different, said Hope Flink, of inside sales, and the press works with the client closely along the way. Once the client wants to place an order, the cost is estimated and they can decide whether or not they’d like to proceed. The number of books printed depends on preference, though a larger order costs less per piece.

Premier’s graphic designer Kristen Aumann enjoyed the opportunity to design the book from start to finish. “I like to have a bigger project to work on,” she said. “It’s fun to mix it up a little.”

Rather than using a printing press, the book is printed using a high-quality digital printer similar to a home copier.

“It’s done all digitally now,” said Flink. “There are very few actual printing presses unless you are a multi-million dollar, billion dollar company.”

A PDF or a physical proof is given, depending on preference, though PDFs are more common. The author goes over it and makes changes, and the process is repeated if needed. Flink began the project, getting the order information, and Aumann formatted everything in Adobe InDesign software.

“Premier has been extremely helpful,” said Palmer, 63. He had already worked with Premier to print the covers to six CDs of his music, DVD concerts, and T-shirts made for his business, Palmer Enterprises, but he said this is by far the biggest project he’s had done.

After being printed, the book was hand collated and perfect bound (the pages and cover glued together) with twenty-six color pictures in the middle. The project took about a year and a half to complete since the book needed to be edited by a professional editor and various changes were made, but this timeline is by no means standard and can go much quicker.

Tom Palmer’s “Fly in Formation”

Palmer, who waterskied professionally for thirteen years in California, provided two photos of himself waterskiing for the cover. On the front, he’s barefoot waterskiing with only a toe strap pulling him along, and his hands are free. On the back, appropriately, he is waterskiing backwards. Aumann put the photos together with text and designed the spine.

“It’s been an adventure,” he said about writing the book, which details his struggle with bipolar disorder. “I was not a good English person. I was a sports person, a math person, and a business person.”

The story unfolded over a year and half as he struggled with the illness for a 20-month period. “I wrote it as therapy to figure out what made me tick, why this was happening to me. It was to get healthy.”

During that time, he also wrote a lot of music and went to studios to record it. He now has six CDs that were printed by Premier. He’s also written a book of poetry.

For the next two decades, Palmer proofread the story multiple times and conducted research on his illness as he kept busy with the community, athletics, and raising his daughters with his wife of 34 years, Kristy. The story ends with an epilogue, about how he’s doing now.

While getting picked up by a publisher would be a bonus, Palmer is content with keeping the reins for now.

“My number one goal is not to financially benefit, but to help people who have had family members or themselves deal with mental illness, and how to overcome it, and overcome other life’s adversity. We all have problems,” he said.

In the meantime, Palmer plans to give away copies of his book to people he knows and use it to raise money for the Rock Mission Center in Eagle River, Wisconsin. Those wanting a copy of the book can email him and pay with a donation to the center.

Palmer’s book on a Premier printer

The title, Fly in Formation, comes from a phrase Palmer heard from Brett Wing, an Australian championship water-skiier famous during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Although seemingly calm and relaxed when he performed, Wing said he was as nervous as anybody, and that “the key is to take your butterflies and fly in formation.”

Like Canadian geese forming a V when they fly, Palmer said that people can utilize their personal energy to their advantage. He channeled his own energy into being active in the community, serving on the board of the Central Chamber Chorale, coaching multiple sports, and being a member of the volunteer fire department, to name a few.

Nowadays, he continues work with his company, performing his own music as a one-man show.

“I live life to the fullest,” he said.

To obtain a copy of Flying in Formation, please email Tom Palmer at: [email protected]

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