I've enjoyed my little vacation these last couple of days—I really should do this more often. It's surprisingly rejuvenating. Can you imagine taking as much as (gasp!) two days off every week?!? Such a thing seems exotic and strange, and preposterously luxurious.
I'd probably be bored, though. I mean, my work is my fun.
I've made quite a bit of progress with the book plans during my "vacation." We've had a setback, but I've also identified a potential distributor (i.e., a fufillment service) and had a very productive discussion with her (keeping in mind international customers—I will not neglect those of you who live in countries other than my own, never fear), and I'm looking into U.S.-based printers for future volumes as well.
One possible bit of bad (?) news: it looks like the first book, whatever it is, will have a pretty limited printing. More or less 450 copies, is what it's looking like.
Will that be enough? Well, I have no idea, and therein lies that particular rub. You see, I'd like to make this (the printing of TOP books, whatever the company will eventually be named) a regular, ongoing thing, and I just have no idea yet how it's going to work out in terms of numbers...until we try it a few times. With blogging, throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks is easy. With books, it might be a little harder. But that's the only way to calibrate.
The house down the street
If you'll indulge me a more personal note (I know some people very naturally have no interest in my office-space situation! Sorry...), a bit of an update on "the house down the street" with the big office space on the first floor that I was so excited about a few weeks ago: alas, the owners have priced it well above its value, and my realtor is actively discouraging me from considering it. They're asking $80,000 (28%) above the city tax assessment, or something in the neighborhood of $55–65,000 (!) above market value.
My realtor (who is one of the best in town, and has 25 years of experience selling houses here), says most houses are currently selling for below their tax assessment in Waukesha right now and that only a few are selling for more—and those, for only slightly more. Nothing is selling for 28% more.
Which means the sellers are being unrealistic.
Considering that a bank will base a mortgage on the selling price or the appraisal, whichever is lower, overpricing a house makes it much harder for prospective buyers to secure financing. You essentially have to make up the difference out of your own pocket.
So I've had to give up that idea for now. In the immortal words of Roseanne Rosannadanna (I should have this engraved backwards* on my forehead): "It's always something."
Last book note for now
Having been happily immersed in the book project for the past few days I feel like I could write about it more or less indefinitely, and this post is already too long. But I'll relate one more idea. One thing I'm considering is that as a regular thing, we'll mail out some 50 complimentary copies of all of our books to a "publicity list" consisting of a select group of photo museums, magazines, galleries, school libraries, website managers, and perhaps individual critics. I'll probably need some help coming up with such a list and keeping it groomed, but it seems like it would help us ("us" meaning our yet-to-be-named book publishing arm) and the photographer in equal measure, and would be another way that we could give added value to the photographers whose work we'll be publishing.
Normally what is sent out is a reviewer's list, hoping to get publicity for sales. Since I anticipate selling out right here on li'l ol' TOP, we won't need reviews for sales purposes. I'm talking about just helping to make a select group of institutions aware of our books and they work they feature, to raise the profile of the work a bit more.
Good idea, or idle fantasy? Again, time will tell.
Experimentation shall proceed!
*I.e., right way 'round in the mirror, if you didn't get that.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Julian: "Can you run the initial sale of the book on the same model as the print sales? I am sure that plenty of us would be willing to buy the book once you are ready to go to press and you have a rough idea of when you can start shipping. I would certainly pay up front rather than risk missing out. I am also much more likely to do this for a book than a print."
Mike replies: No, can't do that. I had an experience years ago of pre-selling a book that then was not able to be printed on time. It trashed my reputation and caused all manner of headaches literally for years. I might risk it for a second printing, but not for the first.