Chris Hemesath graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature, and immediately dove into the world of publishing, working as a managing editor for RGA-Lowell House Publishing in Century City, California. RGA published a wide range of children’s books as well as cooking and sourcebook titles. At RGA, Chris collaborated with project managers, copy editors, designers, proofreaders, and indexers to get new titles to print ready, and then with prepress and print suppliers to approve to press.
Chris then moved over to Dove Books in Beverly Hills as a production coordinator, where he still fulfilled the functions of a managing editor but gained exposure to the print side of the business: negotiating on schedules, specifications, and print pricing, and arranging delivery of finished products. Dove published one, two, and four-color titles in a variety of formats for the children’s and adult trade markets, and also did a fair share of vanity titles and private label projects. It was at Dove that Chris was first challenged by the “instant book” model (imagine a book conceived, written, designed, printed, and in store within a 6-weeks window), as Dove specialized in current event and hot topic titles that required lightning-fast turnarounds. It goes without saying that Dove was a very interesting place to work, and trained Chris to be an agile production management specialist.
After a move to the Bay Area, Chris started as a production coordinator at Chronicle Books, a publisher of illustrated books and specialty products for the children’s, adult trade, and gift markets. It was at Chronicle—which has a reputation for delivering innovatively designed and beautifully manufactured titles—that Chris learned the fundamentals of four-color sheetfed press manufacturing in Southeast Asia. Working on a wide spectrum of titles across many varied categories—from Architecture to Gardening, Cooking to Pop Culture—Chris had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best authors, designers, editors, illustrators, prepress houses, and printers in the business.