I started printing yesterday morning and have already chalked up about 16 hours on press. What did I accomplish? Printing one side of each of the first two press sheets of the book.
The book has eight press sheets, which need to be printed in black on each side; 13 sides also get a second color for illustrations and other uses; 5 sides will have chapter numbers printed (6 chapters, but two happen to be on one side of a press sheet). That adds up to 34 passes, and I took 16 hours to carry out two of them—roughly 6%! That's not sustainable, you must think!
It's not. I was learning a lot about the parameters of printing this particular book, including sorting out issues with ink and layout. I opted to save some money on plates by "ganging up" some elements that appeared on different pages and places to consolidate into a small area, as plate-making is charged by the square inch within a rectangle formed by each page in your order. So a blank page in a four-page layout costs as much as a page full of type. Unfortunately, it wound up adding some much complexity for alignment that it wasn't worth the money saved, and I'll be sending the rest of the plates off as full press sheets.
It's more likely that a single side will take about 2 to 4 hours to print, depending on how many different elements are on that side. That's a much more reasonable 100 hours or so, which was in line with my estimates. I'll still be pursuing my day job (freelancing) intermingled with printing.
My target is printing all the black in the book (16 passes) in the next two weeks, and start on the color parts. It will certainly slip in July to get all the printing done, but having started, it all seems more achievable!