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Thread: Self Publishing

  1. #1

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    Self Publishing

    It seems to me that there are at least two distinct avenues available when self publishing. The first seems to be a limited run of a book of very high quality and high cost aimed at a distinct segment that will pay hundreds of dollars for a limited photo book. The second way appears to be a larger press run that involves marketing the book to book stores and other venues that would sell these books. I have several questions that others may have encountered and answered for themselves in this matter.

    I know that there are a number here that have self published using various POD printers. My question is has anyone here printed a larger run of a photo book? I know that these have been done because I see these books in Borders and Barnes and Noble.

    If so what are the obstacles to gaining wide spread distribution? I realize that an ISBN number is vital to book recognition. Have you obtained an ISBN number in your own behalf? Have you formed your own publishing company in order to obtain a number? How costly is obtaining a number? I realize that doing a self publishing one must market their own book. Is this an obstacle that many find beyond their means or are there other obstacles?

    Thanks for any information that you are able to share on this.

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Self Publishing

    IME the trick is to get a regional or local book distributer (not publisher) to handle distribution-they will take care of supplying book stores etc. Then you can concentrate on marketing the book and direct sales to individuals etc. If you can get a museum to hang an exhibit along with the release of the book, that will go along way towards launching the book. At one such opening event, in my home town at a local museum, I think I sold over 100 books. Those sales were handled through the gift shop-so they got a piece, but it was still tremendous.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  3. #3

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    Re: Self Publishing

    Donald, for what it's worth, you have to devote a lot of time to promoting your book. Driving sales requires a lot of time and attention.

    Warning: A book turns the author into a publicity wh*re.


    By the way, don't miss:

    People and Portraits: Reflections and Essays

    People and Portraits: Reflections and Essays contains behind-the-scenes anecdotes about photographing people, peppered with manifesto and tips.

    Praise for People and Portraits: Reflections and Essays

    Landscape photographer Robert Adams:
    The book is just as much of a pleasure to read as I thought it would be because of your straightforward, eye-to-eye presentation, and your unabashed enjoyment of people and life in general.


    Life magazine photographer John Loengard:
    Very entertaining.


    Retired photography professor Elliott Parker:
    If I were still teaching photography, Id make it a requirement for every class.


    Normal person/non-photographer Catherine Loveless:
    If Id known how much I would enjoy it, I would have read it sooner.


    Its a great choice for photographers, for people interested in the creative process, or anyone looking for a fun quick read.


    Ahem. See what I mean?

  4. #4

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    Re: Self Publishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    IME the trick is to get a regional or local book distributer (not publisher) to handle distribution-they will take care of supplying book stores etc.
    Good luck with that!

    I haven't done photo book publishing but I have done general book publishing, both as a small press and working at large companies. Getting distribution as a small publisher is very hard (but not impossible, depending on what sort of services you need), and getting distributors to pay is also hard (at least, a couple of mine went bankrupt--I don't even know now who is still even in business). If you're just doing a book or two, expect that you will have to do marketing and sales work on your own if you want to get books into bookstores.

    ISBNs are managed by Bowker, and nowadays they have a website, isbn.org, that handles all of that. Anyone can get one, but it does cost money.

    Getting CIP cataloging by the Library of Congress will help get library sales. This is free (as I recall) but kind of a PITA.

  5. #5
    42 is The Answer
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    Re: Self Publishing

    I noticed that options like Blurb were not mentioned.
    Blurb appears to have some very nice books (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/pbn) that have won some of their awards, but I have never held one so can't compare it to Sally Mann's books or others I have read.
    Does anyone here have Blurb or similar experience and is willing to share their thoughts?
    GRAFLEX | SINAR | VOIGTLANDER

  6. #6

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    Re: Self Publishing

    Hi, David:

    I have Frank's book, and also a few other Blurb titles, and the quality is pretty good.

    I also did one of my own, as a gift to a friend, with color snapshots. It was easy to put together and the quality was good.

    As long as you don't expect Lodima Press (or the like) quality, you will be happy with it.

    William

  7. #7
    Joshua Tree, California
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    Re: Self Publishing

    If you don't need stunning graphics, but just good image quality, Lightning Source is the way to go. Good prices, consistent quality and a world wide distribution chain through Ingram (including Amazon listings).

    These guys are real pros, make Blurp look like the schlocks that they are

    http://www.lightningsource.com/

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Self Publishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Moopheus View Post
    Good luck with that!

    I haven't done photo book publishing but I have done general book publishing, both as a small press and working at large companies. Getting distribution as a small publisher is very hard (but not impossible, depending on what sort of services you need), and getting distributors to pay is also hard (at least, a couple of mine went bankrupt--I don't even know now who is still even in business). If you're just doing a book or two, expect that you will have to do marketing and sales work on your own if you want to get books into bookstores.

    ISBNs are managed by Bowker, and nowadays they have a website, isbn.org, that handles all of that. Anyone can get one, but it does cost money.

    Getting CIP cataloging by the Library of Congress will help get library sales. This is free (as I recall) but kind of a PITA.
    I have done that, but maybe 20 years ago. It didn't seem hard at all, but maybe I was just lucky.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  9. #9
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Re: Self Publishing

    A few years back, I attended a talk by Elisabeth Carmel who was quite successful with her "Brilliant Waters" self-published book. She mentioned that finding a distributor is the key.

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Self Publishing

    A book turns the author into a publicity wh*re.
    True, but its politely called marketing skills, something most artists are solely lacking.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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