...And a bit more in another ongoing saga, that of our own publications: I am feeling a bit like Don Quixote. And also like I'm walking in shin-deep mud: everything is going too slowly, and coming to a dead stop seems a danger at every step.
But I'm meeting with our newly-recruited Production Manager this afternoon; he has a preliminary idea about a book designer; we have book specs and a detailed cost estimate from the printer, and image specs, sort of; we're still wrangling with the whole e-commerce page and fulfillment issue (which is making my head hurt); I think I've decided on a name for the company, although I'm still trying to decide whether to hire an attorney to register the trademark or do it myself, using a smidge of the large swath of free time I spend lolling about in the sunshine sipping vegetarian, alcohol-free mint juleps*; and...
...We have a plan for the first book, including a working title and a concept.
One thing I'm not short of is ideas for possible projects. I finally realized while I was fixing my coffee this morning that I'm thinking of these books sort of like elaborated blog posts, just with more carefully considered and somewhat longer essays and more pictures, in a more durable and more respectable form. There's really little limit to the creativity that could be applied to the projects, once we get experienced enough at the actual production for it to go smoothly. I hope we make it that far.
The first project will be pretty limited. We're going to print only 500 copies. That will probably sell out quickly (especially because many people will be mindful of the possibility that it might end up being not only our first book but maybe our only one—such being the nature of startups). Later projects might be printed in larger numbers, but we have to get a handle gradually on what the market (that would be you) wants.
And finally, on the good side: our books are going to be affordable. Maybe not cheap, as in dirt-, but nothing highfalutin' or onepercenty: just a well-made product for an honest price, accessible to most anyone who might want one. That bit's important to me.
I'll continue to keep you posted.
*I do not actually have large swaths of free time to spend lolling about in the sunshine sipping vegetarian, alcohol-free mint juleps.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Marco Maroccolo: "Have you thought about creating a system of pre-orders? in this way you can have a partial idea of the amount of books to be printed...."
Mike replies: I'm definitely not going to do that. The reason is that I want to make sure I have a satisfactory product to deliver before I take anyone's money for anything. We won't sell any books before we have books printed and ready to go.
James Sinks (partial comment): "Just an opinion from a potential customer: I find words in photobooks to be a waste of space about 90% of the time. I rarely make it all the way through an introduction unless it's a just-the-facts-ma'am sketch and I find almost everything 'artistic' written by photographers to be cringe-inducingly bad."
V. Roma responds to James: "To offer a balancing opinion, I am one who does enjoy words in photobooks. I don't think the selection of photos or, to any significant extent, the cost of production of a photobook is ever dictated or limited by the text portion. The way I see it, it's there if you want to read it and easy enough to skip if you don't."
Mike replies: I plan to write the texts myself, and that's one of the reasons I want to do books—I'd like at least a few of my words to have a chance of lasting. All I've ever written is ephemera, from magazine and newspaper articles to blog posts. All topical and timely—and all easily, quickly, and quite naturally forgotten.
One part of the plan, though: the text will always appear at the end of the books, after the pictures. I've always disliked the way that introductions seem to implicitly be telling you what to think of the pictures before you look at them for yourself. And with the text at the end, it will be even easier to ignore, if that what one wants to do. (This is even true with the introductions of many classic books of fiction: they really should appear at the end, after you've had a chance to read the book and make up your own mind about it. Then they can tell you what other people think, and what they think you should think. I never read "introductions" first.