Thread: HISTORY
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:59 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strumalot View Post
Captain Jim, you bought back some memories... I have owned pre-press service companies, publishing companies, advertising companies, photo studios, etc., and went through the transition from the "old school" ways to the current technology.
These days, a project like this could be produced with a close-to-zero investment, with multiple author participation in "autopilot mode" and incorporating different media ~ text, video, images, audio ~ that can be consumed in small chunks that are automatically formatted to the device being used.
How's that for a sentence that just won't quit?

Anyway, I have thought about doing a project like this, and have the technology in place, but too busy hanging out under a tree playing guitar

So Evan, I think you've been elected.
Ah, Strumalot, we were early adopters of digital technology, back when my first studio quality digital camera cost more than our first house. When commercial clients found out we could go straight to press with digital images, bypassing the creation of 4-color separations (and all the potential issues with that), the cost of that technology was worth it. The cost of moving to a full digital lab from a full service in-house color lab (E6 line, long roll negative, high capacity 60" paper processor, package printers and custom enlarging) was even more. It was great to "get out of the dark", though, and not have to deal with the chemicals.

As the price of digital cameras came down, every amateur that could afford a couple grand for a camera and some lenses was now "a professional photographer." Fortunately for us, we had sold the business prior to that.

I told myself I would consider becoming a brain surgeon for a next career, because no one does it for a hobby! I had been a musician, then a photographer, both careers that many other people do for the fun of it. Then... driving boats as a career... yeah, no one does that for the fun of it.

When I wrote that first book, it was more of a "release" thing for me than wanting to create a literary sensation. I was surprised (pleasantly) when on-line sales of the e-book were better than I had ever considered. And, the return on investment was nice. Then, calls to make "a real book" led me down that path - I sold more paperbacks than e-books (this was early in e-books growth) and made considerably less money on "the real books." (even though the retail cost was higher) Lesson learned for me: better to make something that has little materials cost and sell it electronically than to produce a "real book" that has printing and shipping costs.

A quick check of musical instrument and supplies businesses in the US shows just over 20,000. If the ratio of guitar shops that handle CF compared to those who don't is any indication, one would be lucky to entice 1,000 shops to try to sell the book... if you have the means to promote to those 20,000 shops.

Bookstores that handled my book (pet and travel related, so a much larger market than a CF guitar book) took 40% of the retail cost. After production and shipping, I was able to make a couple bucks per book, as long as the store bought around 15 copies or more. Some stores will only stock your book with a guaranteed "buy back" - if they don't sell it, you get to take it back... and pay them for those books.

In the grand scheme of things, the odds of making money on a book are less than the odds of making it into big time sports or entertainment: everyone would like to do it, only a fortunate few make it. When I wrote that book, I had no thoughts of it going anywhere but my desk. It took me less than 6 weeks to write it; about that much time again (after it sat for a while) to edit it. When I shopped it around to book publishers, the only ones who said anything besides "Thanks but no thanks" said "It's a nice story. But, it's a small story." If they couldn't sell 100,000 copies, they weren't going to go to the expense with an unproven author.

Ultimately, I sold around 4,000 books... which was better than the 10 or 12 I anticipated after doing my research on self-publishing. I was able to do my own formatting, editing, and cover art. From the time I finished the first draft to the actual finished book was close to a year and a half. Much of that time was spent waiting to hear back from publishers.

I only relate this so anyone considering a project of this magnitude can appreciate the time it would truly take. And that is without a book that is full of images. You don't just paste an image into your text - you have to know the difference between RBG and CMYK, how to work up the image so the printer will have less chance of messing it up, color pallets, Pantone®, paper stock, and making sure the consistency from one image to the rest is on point.

And then be able to offer the book at a price point that won't turn people away.

After doing an "image rich" (graphic art, not photographs) children's book, I found the cost of production was prohibitive when self-publishing small quantities.

Yeah, I'm going back into performing music, 'cause nobody will do that for free... you know, for the exposure.

Yeah, that was real wordy again.
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