Sunday, May 1, 2011

Making Your Own Book

Having recently decided to make my own book with text and photos as a result of participating in Playing Big, I've had the opportunity to blaze a trail, form some opinions and develop some resources.

My Advice: 
Let's put the key takeaways first.
  • Think of making, marketing and selling the book as a separate project from creating the content.  
  • Think of it as equal in importance and effort.
  • Select a service with your creative and customer end in mind
3 Options
Here are 3 websites that help you publish your own photo book:
4 Considerations: 
Here are a few things to ask yourself as you look at these services. Notice, all of these questions aren't related to creating the content to go into the book. They are all about what happens to it.

  • Product
    • Software: For each any required layout software is free but how easy is it for me to use? Does it allow me to accomplish my creative vision? Or am I going to have to make a lot of manual adjustments aligning my photos to where I want them to be?
    • Form: Does the selection of things like size, paper quality, font selection and layout options match my creative vision? Does one have a cool feature like lay-flat binding that I think is really important to the overall presentation?  What sizes does that feature come in?
  • Price
    • Is there a way to set a price for wholesalers separate than from end customers? If I buy direct for resale, can I buy it at a discounted price for resale?
    • What price point should my book sell for?  Think of shopping at Borders for a soft cover fiction book at around $8 and an oversized coffee table book at upwards of $70. Do the prices allow me to achieve my target price points?
    • Is the book specifically for a family special occasion like Mother's Day so I don't care about price?
  • Place aka Distribution: 
    • If I get a direct order (from friends or family who don't like to order on-line), does the company drop ship to my customer's address?  
    • Will the company act like my store? Or do I need to set up my own store front?
  • Promotion aka Marketing: 
    • Does the company just print my book(s) or do they help me market it with links (Facebook and Twitter). 
    • Can I put a badge on my blog that links to their store? 
    • Does their logo appear on the book or can I go logo-less?
If you're making, and/or marketing and/or selling a book or thinking about it I would love to know what you've learned from the process.


Kate Watson said...

Hi Jennifer: If you want to do a fine art book, I recommend A&I books. Absolutely gorgeous photo books!

Jennifer said...

Kate, thank you for the recommendation! I will check them out.