Plans are proceeding apace for TOP to become a book publisher. Our first book is currently scheduled to go on press either in late August or early September, although a fair amount has to happen between now and then.
I've done a lot of thinking about the principles I'll be aiming for—what I want our books to be. My decisions stem from a lifetime of loving books and several decades of collecting and looking at photography books, especially monographs. I've been right there in the front row of the audience for a long time now.
And as you might imagine, I have my opinions as to what a good book should be. My thinking is thoroughgoing—I've thought through the whole concept holistically, looking at the potential ongoing project from every angle. I have a crystal-clear vision of what I'd like to accomplish as a publisher.
I'm lucky to have some very good advisors!
Our first books will be of high quality but modest in scope. And they'll be affordable. As a business proposition, it's highly unlikely I'll make a fortune publishing photography books; so my minimum objective is for the first book to pay for the second book, the second book to pay for the third book, the third book to pay for the fourth book, and so on.
Since the first book is in part a "trial balloon"—we're gonna be seeing how it goes—the initial printing will be quite small. I'm a bit concerned that this might mean we won't have enough to go around, but it's just going to take a few tries for us to "calibrate" all the numbers and get a handle on what works best. You can probably appreciate the need to be cautious at first—I really don't want to end up with a basement full of unsold books and a gaping hole in my bank account where a lot of money used to be.
For now, the new publishing company doesn't even have a name, that's how new we are.
I'll keep you apprised of developments, as they develop.
P.S. In case you'd like to follow the progress of this project so far:
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Miserere: "I suggest a prepayment system. Announce the book and tell people they have a couple weeks to order it. At the end of that time you count how many people have paid you and you print that number of books. If there is continued interest, then maybe sometime in the future you can consider doing a second edition of the book via the same prepayment system. We're in the third millennium here, Mike; there's no need to be guessing how many people will want a book. Reading tea leaves is no longer a requirement."
Mike replies: A sensible enough idea on its face, but there is NO WAY (caps intended!). I'm never again selling a book I don't have in hand to sell. I did that once, years ago, and things fell apart, and it was a total, complete disaster—my reputation took a huge hit and I was dealing with the fallout for, literally, years. A very painful experience and possibly one of the worst decisions I've ever made in my entire career. It's not going to be an option for us, and in fact it's the reason I'll have to fund this venture myself without the benefit of a Kickstarter campaign. (Hope I don't have cause to regret that too, as a different kind of disaster.)