what do i need to do to publish a book?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MyOwnPath, May 23, 2004.

  1. MyOwnPath

    MyOwnPath TPF Noob!

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    Howdy, folks-

    I think maybe I could drain some advice from somebody here: I have never published a book before on a professional level, and would love some hints on how to go through the process.

    I have the idea and the subjects, many of the photos have already been taken, and the layout is in my head, but how does one go about finding a publisher, designing the pages, etc?

    Do I need to put the basic pages together and then find a publisher...or do I sell the idea to a publisher so I can get funds? I have no idea how it works.

    The idea involves photography as a main aspect, and includes a lot of text as well. I don't want to go too in depth on here...of course I trust you... :D , but I may not trust that guy over there...:badangel:.

    Any help is great, and if you want details you can email me. Thanks, and I've drawn a lot of information from this site over the past month. I'm glad you all have cameras to bring each other together. :)

    --Trav-- myownpath@hotmail.com
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I don't know much about the technical details, but this is something to be very careful about. NEVER spend your own money to do this unless you don't mind not seeing it again. There are many places you can go to pay to have a book published, and they will be happy to take your money, but if you are actually looking to make a profit, it will be very tough. Your work needs to be top-notch if you expect it to sell.

    Quality photo books are very expensive to produce, and so they have a big cover price. This means that someone has to come up with a lot of dough up front, and the market it going to be limited. You can have them printed yourself, but plan to spend a lot of time marketing it. They don't sell themselves.

    I hate to sound all negative, but that's just brushing the surface. If you are even the slightest bit discouraged by what little I wrote, it would be best to put the idea on the back burner for now, because you will face far more discouragement if you pursue it. I hate to see people burned.
     
  3. MyOwnPath

    MyOwnPath TPF Noob!

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    I've heard of plenty of people going on ventures that they aren't ready for. A friend of mine is a guitarist...he spent the money to record 1000 CDs, he gave 20 of them away and he has sold 40. Now he has a box with 900 CDs in his car, hoping someone steals them.

    I'm willing to spend the money on the actual traveling and photography involved, but who do I go to for the actual book finances? Do large publishers give "loans/grants" for books they think will sell, or do I need to find the capital from friend/relatives, etc?

    and if you're trying to scare me...ha! do your best! I'll never sign a copy of my book for you!

    --Trav--

    P.S. If you loan me money for this, I'll sign a copy of my book for you ;)
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I have very limited experience with this, so this might all be wrong, but here's how I understand it.

    We're looking at a couple of different routes here: self-published or published by someone else. You only have to raise a bunch of money up front if you are going the traditional self-published route, and I don't recommend this. You're friend's CD was self-published, and many people who do the same with books end up in a similar situation. To make matters worse, instead of a list price of $10, it's $50.

    Going with a traditional publisher means that they pay you for rights to publish your book. They don't loan you money for this as they themselves will be putting the book out. To go this route, you have to Get NoticedTM. This may or may not involve Getting GoodTM. If not, you better be pretty unique. Or at least the first one they've noticed doing your particular style. For the most part though, you need to get good at making images that average Joe and Josephine would be willing to pay for to put on their coffee table.

    Another option is sort of a combination: Print-On-Demand. For this, you supply the POD publisher with your layout, and then when they receive an order for your book, they print it up right then and there and send it out. You don't have all this inventory you have to buy ahead of time, and the publisher doesn't have to either, but the profit margin is a lot smaller.

    Here's a question: Why do you want to make a book? I know is seems like a simple answer, but I think it needs to be looked at. Do you want to make money? Do you seek fame? Do you just want to see yourself in print?

    If the answer is one of the first two, a book probably won't bring you that. Honestly, you have to be really good for that to happen. I know many good photographers, and very, very few actually have a book of their work out, and only those that very actively pursue sales actually make any kind of money at it.

    If you are looking for the satisfaction of being in print, I'd go the POD route. You can try reading up on some of these links and see if they have anything that interests you.

    If you really must pursue the traditional route, expect to do a lot of research, spend a lot of time dealing with rejection slips, and steeling yourself into not taking "no" as an answer.

    I think this is a dream we all have here. I hope we all can make it into print one day.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Actually, from doing some more reading, it looks like most POD offerings aren't up to handling a photo book. My advice would be to spend your time getting really good at the craft. Once you've made a bit of a name for yourself, the book route will be much, much easier. Do you have a link to some of your work?
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    If you aren't too picky about quality, that first link listed in the Google search may not be a bad route as long as you are looking for something simple.
     
  7. MyOwnPath

    MyOwnPath TPF Noob!

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    i don't have a link to anything...i don't even have anything scanned, as a computer is a fairly new entity around me. Thanks for the links and advice. I've been reading a writer's forum and picking up lots of useful (and depressing "you'll never make it, give up your hopes and dreams, and get a job as a lawyer) info from that point of view. Looks like a long road, so I'll keep my day job and maybe get an evening job too so I can pay for all this.

    And the answer to why I want to publish a book: Not for personal gain, though it would be great to say "Hi, my names Travis, here's my BOOK!"...Rather, I would love to see people appreciate my work and get something from my subject matter. I don't have in mind a gallery-style book with just pictures and pictures. I see a book of information and pictures, more of a documentary.

    There are so many of us (photographers, writers, musicians, artists) and so many of them (competing photographers, writers, musicians, artists) and so many of those people (interested viewers, customers, fans, buyers, collectors)...that I feel like a spot on a dalmation. Pretty, but lost in the crowd.

    Ah well...at least I love what I do :)

    ---Trav--
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Amen to that! I really like the idea of sharing my work with others and seeing their's. I'm so glad that the Internet came to be. If I can't have a book, at least I can have a web portfolio. Heck of a lot cheaper, too. ;)
     
  9. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    Hmm well i have no clue at all, and looks like these guys do.
    Just rly wanned to say, hope you do it and it becomes famous, and please when it is out tell me and ill go straight out and buy no matter the cost.
    Anything you need? websites is my main forte, but if you need something i can help with tell me.
    Good luck mate, you can do it, just believe in yourself and never give up.
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I was just in Barnes & Noble, and I think I have a better idea. Ignore what I wrote above, buy a copy of the 2004 edition of Photographer's Market, then submit a proposal to all of the book publishers that match your style. If they all reject you, work on your photography for another six months, rinse, repeat.
     
  11. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    :) i wish i could write a book...ahh yes the age thing....ahh the thing that im crap at cameras....ahh the fact that im no good at english, but besides from all hose set backs im good to go.
     

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