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Old 04-14-2012, 04:35 AM
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jackiesimmonds jackiesimmonds is offline
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self-publishing

In the past, I have written various art instruction books - these have all been commissioned by a traditional publishing house. Lots of people have asked me how this works - essentially, you have to put forward a book synopsis, and if the publisher thinks the book will be popular, they give you an "advance" to write the book - this is a fee which is, essentially, advance royalties, and these are offset against book sales. When you have sold sufficient books to "earn out" that advance, you then earn more royalties - if you are lucky. You produce text and images, and the publishing house designs the book. You are very much under the control of the publisher - they will have their own ideas about amount of text, number and size of images, etc. it can also take a very long time for the book to appear on bookshelves, a minimum of 12-18 months, often even longer.

These days, we do not have to wait for a publishing house to decide to accept our ideas and produce our books - there is now a whole movement called PRINT ON DEMAND, which allows ANYONE to produce a book, all by themselves, within a matter of weeks. Believe it or not, creating such a book can be done FOR FREE!!!! Or, if you have some spare cash, you can purchase a "publishing package" which will give you loads of help. The book you produce can then be marketed if you wish, either by you, or by the company which printed it for you, or you can purchase just a few copies for your friends and family. You can even turn your efforts into an e-book which can be viewed for stupidly little cost, on an Ipad or Ipod Touch.

doesn't have to be an instruction book. It can simply be a book of your paintings - or paintings and text - or paintings, photos and text, a kind of visual diary- paintings and poetry - in fact - anything you fancy. Just think - how nice would it be, if that book was floating around your family for future generations to see, long after both paintings, and you, have gone! (sounds a bit morbid, I know, but actually, I have the most beautiful little book that my grandmother once "coloured in" with paint, and I treasure it very much. I know she would have been so thrilled to have had a book of my work.)

there are pros and cons to Self-publishing, and where to start can be a bit daunting, BUT I have done loads of research and have a few of the answers; I would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have, if you are thinking you might like to try this out and create a book of your own.

Jackie
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:10 AM
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Re: self-publishing

I've used Print on Demand for my science fiction novel Raven Dance. It used to be a lot cheaper, when I first put that book into print it was $99 for the basic package. Since then the provider I used, iUniverse.com, has gone to over a thousand dollars for the average book.

This is still peanuts compared to what publishing cost before Print On Demand technology. My dad sank $25,000 into self publishing a big photo heavy book on railroad history of a Colorado railroad for railroad modeling buffs. He sold out the first printing and went into a second, making a strong net profit on the venture. Back in those days, you needed serious capital and a good distribution system.

The costs have come down by an enormous margin. Pure vanity publishing - producing the book just for your family and friends - is now quite reasonable. A lot of people are doing family histories and things like that with it. Others are creating promotional volumes with it to support art careers. Still others, self published graphic novels.

I'm not sure which of the providers is best but they've begun to vary so much that it's more a matter of "what do you want to do with it?"

I wouldn't be averse to publishing more of my novels in Print on Demand. One of the problems with Raven Dance was that I didn't have any money or even Internet access to promote it when I first published in 2000. It paid out seven times over what I spent but would not have paid what I put into it if I did it at today's prices. So I'd have to have a better system for advertising it if I want a self published print novel to be worth its setup fees.

Your description of art instruction publishing with a major publisher does make sense. Thanks for that useful information. If you want control of your project, print on demand is a much better direction. That's the strength and weakness of POD - the weakness being that without an editor's help, you can miss problems that an outside professional would have spotted.

Some authors have dealt with this in a different way, by hiring an editor. I'm considering this as part of the costs if I put another novel into Print on Demand, just pay a freelance editor to work on it and bring it to professional quality. At the very least getting friends who are serious writers to critique is important because everyone has a blind spot. You can be so familiar with the material that you don't notice the part you meant to cut is still in there.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:47 AM
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Re: self-publishing

thanks for this robert - interesting about your dad.

No questions from you then!

In fact, you say "producing a book for family and friends is now quite reasonable". I would go further than this, and say it is not just reasonable, it is ridiculously cheap. BLURB (and no I do not have shares in the company) give you FREE software, and you simply have to pay for just one book. For instance, you can create a book same size as my square one, which is only about 7x7" but the pics are still very viewable even at that size - for as little as about $12-13! Of course, that is for just a few pages - about 20 if my memory serves me right - and for more pages, you pay a more, there is a rising scale. To me, to be able to produce any kind of properly bound book for that kind of price is truly remarkable. I know there are Photobook services around, but they do cost more than this.

Then, once you have purchased that first book, you have the ability with Blurb, to create an e-book which can be viewed on an ipad. So if you dont want to lay out for more actual books, these e-book versions are really, really cheap......it cost me about £1.50 (touch of a button is all)- which is less than $2.50!!!! That was to convert the book, and then your family and friends can buy it for the same price, and download straight onto their ipads! Quite a few of my ipad-toting friends have done this with my book now.

to my mind, this is all more than just "reasonable". It is staggeringly cheap.

Last edited by jackiesimmonds : 04-14-2012 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:14 AM
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Re: self-publishing

oo how nice...Robert Sloane spotted my e-book, he has mentioned it in his latest Talk thread. Thanks Robert!
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:25 AM
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Re: self-publishing

How odd! nobody interested in having a bash at creating a little book! Dont some of you have children, or grandchildren, or parents, who would love you to do this for them? I know my Mum would have ADORED my book, and I know that many of you are certainly good enough artists to be able to do this for a member of your family.......???
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:52 AM
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Re: self-publishing

I think you scared everyone away when you started talking about doing a little "work"
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:20 AM
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Re: self-publishing

lol! Well, it is MUCH harder work to produce paintings than to produce one of these books. But so be it, perhaps nobody can be bothered and would rather just paint.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:21 PM
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Re: self-publishing

All kidding aside, a group of plein air painters here in NWA are discussing publishing a small book. No details at this time, just passing some ideas around. This looks like it has a great amount of potential.

John
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:11 AM
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Re: self-publishing

John, if they want any info or advice, send them to this thread.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:05 AM
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Re: self-publishing

I will be sure to keep that in mind. Thank you very much for starting this.

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Old 04-16-2012, 01:20 PM
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Re: self-publishing

LOL! Well, I might have started it, but doesn't seem as tho anyone has any questions, so I guess it is not as popular as I thought it might be. Ah well.

Jackie
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:56 PM
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Re: self-publishing

i made a little book full of pictures and blurb to display in my dog grooming salon reception, several people have asked about it and lots and lots flick through it, but i wish i had known about Blurb as this one was quite expensive, think I will have another look at doing one now! I think it a charming idea to do a book of paintings, If i were accomplished as an artist I would love to make one, so for now-its on the ambition list!
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:02 PM
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Re: self-publishing

I'm in the same boat as Emma, I just don't have a large enough body of work to justify a book. Some day though. What I think would be interesting is to combine the paintings with poems that relate in some way to the subject of the painting. I'd have to find a poet that works cheap because I sure ain't one!

David
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:42 PM
CM Neidhofer CM Neidhofer is offline
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Re: self-publishing

Has anyone checked out this site?

http://www.lulu.com/
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:09 PM
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Re: self-publishing

I am definitely taking this all in. I could definitely see the work in my blog as being a book one day... it would be nice to have all those thoughts I had captured during the work could be put in print.

I'm most concerned about the cost of having a good copy of the artwork put into print. I just went to a printshop to have my very first piece of art (that I really wanted a copy of since I'm donating the original) put into a format that will go into print...with all the color match, etc.

Would I be able to make a book with my little semi-color adjusted photographs of my artwork, or do I need to get each one scanned? That can be an $$ proposition except for my 8.5x11 which I can scan on my flatbed. I almost always work 9x12 and bigger, though.

I'd love to learn more, though... help me walk through that process.
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