Thursday, January 11, 2007

Report Card

I am happy to report my simple plan is working. Every day since I initiated the simple plan, I have worked on EISID and Starart and My First Kiss. And there's a bonus. Working to the simple plan has inadvertantly impassioned all of my projects.

I had an appointment with a printer on Tuesday. Just thinking I should know how much EISID might cost to manufacture. It's always a good idea to design to a budget. Then, in reading my journals last weekend, I was reminded of the multitude of meetings I had with the New York publishers in regards to Starart. My interaction with the big houses was much more extensive than I had remembered. (I also didn't remember how much partying I did in New York - yikes, I could probably teach Brittany a thing or two.) Several publishers really wanted the book. Nice position to be in, right? Not always. I'd have the initial meeting and that person would pitch to the higher ups and I'd have another meeting. They'd do a cost and revenue projection and we'd have another meeting. Then they'd send me out of the room so they could talk amongst themselves. And, finally, they'd try and talk me into comprising the quality of the book so they could make a bigger profit. Uh, no.

That's why I ended up on my own. Contracting the printers, selling to the chains and wholesale distributors, running my own mail order and arranging my own publicity. In the short run, we made no money. But in the long run, the product was great and Starart has become a collector's item. Instead of some throwaway rock'n'roll book.

So, reliving my New York experiences ended up turning my trip to the printer into more of a "I think I want to publish this book myself" mission. I have used this particular printer in the past for my movie advertising work. He's I guy I like and trust. I showed him the Starart books and a couple of samples of other people's photography books. We both agreed it is much easier and cheaper to manufacture a high quality photography book today than it was when I did Starart. For starters, there are no more film separations. Which means there's also no stripping. And with this book, I don't have the expense of photographing all the artwork. Unfortunately, my printer doesn't haven't the capability to handle the size of this job. But he is currently researching other printers and will have referrals for me in a couple of days.

The night before I met with the printer, I happened to be at a trendy coffee house that has an equally trendy independent bookshop attached. I asked the bookstore owner/s (?) what size they preferred in the photography books they sell. It's a good question because some shops don't have room for the over-sized coffee table books. They were very helpful and eventually asked what I was doing. I told them about Starart and also pitched them Everybody I Shot Is Dead. They sparked to it instantly (yes!!) and said they'd definitely carry it. I told them I was thinking of self-publishing and asked if that would hinder their decision to stock the book. "Not at all."

The biggest 'pro' of doing the book myself is that I can get it out sooner. Finding a publisher and then getting into their release schedule is a long and arduous process. The biggest 'con' would be not having the publisher's money (advance and manufacturing $$) and their publicity machine working for me. But that doesn't deter me. I'm thinking the ability to publicize is also much easier today. I can hire a publicist (which I didn't do my first time around) and I have the internet (which didn't exist my first time around).

I can't believe reading the trials and tribulations of getting Starart out there hasn't deterred me from going down this road again. Actually, I'm jazzed. Ready and willing to meet more printers, put together a cost and revunue projection, write a business plan and look for an investor(s). If all goes as planned (meaning the little picture I'm projecting in my mind), the book will be finished and released in the Fall 2007.

Hey, it's never too early to put Everybody I Shot Is Dead on your gift list (hint, hint).

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

Any chance you're thinking of taking pre-paid orders? I'd be happy to pay in advance for a couple of copies that I'm planning to buy anyway if that would help with the manufacturing $. (Can I get them autographed?)