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Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by grampa dan, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. grampa dan

    grampa dan Member

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    Through the years I've often thought and dreamed of writing a book of my sign making adventures, chronicling my unique journey in this business. Each time I looked into it in past years I was put off by the extreme cost of publishing such a book on account of the full color images that would be on virtually every page. I've never imagined it would be hugely profitable, but I didn't want to risk a fortune putting it in print either.

    With the advent of ebooks in the last years the whole picture has changed. The latest e-readers now can handle color graphics, plus personal computers can now be used to view the same content. With the coming of the iPad the bar has been raised to a standard that is high enough to proceed with my venture. Things will undoubtably progress ever faster from this point.

    So I've begun the research stage of the actual publishing process. I've also begun the writing and gathering the hundreds of images the book will include.

    I would appreciate any feedback anybody could offer in regard to their experience, possible formats, publishing programs & tools, marketing hints, etc. I would also love to hear ideas of what they might like to see in the book.

    I have yet to decide on how it will be marketed although I have some offers and ideas which are appealing. I'm still very open to ideas in this regard.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and ideas.

    -grampa dan
     
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  2. SqueeGee

    SqueeGee Active Member

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    Sounds like fun, Dan! You're always on the cutting edge!
     
  3. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Dan Antonelli could probably answer better but....

    First, have you tried proposing the book to a publisher? There is a process for that... One is outlined in a book called "Get Noticed: Self Promotion for Creative Professionals" I scanned pics below since the book is out of print...I have a book about book proposals but i can't seem to dig that one up

    I have worked for a few design firms who did the process... I think a total of 8 books. Each was done proposing to a publisher... sometimes in an outline, sometimes they would mock up a portion of the book for publisher consideration.

    There is no money in books, it was always used as a vehicle for self promotion. Companies I worked for already had a person who worked to promote them in design magazines (and even a few sign magazines) this was not cheap, but they developed a reputation outside of their client base, and in turn picked up better work. My last employer partnered with other designers on his book... his first 2 books were project highlights with a little material on process, the last book was all about the process.

    My last employer designed the book in Adobe In Design (you can design an ebook with it too), they hired a graphic design student to design it... in all I think his last book took around 6-8 months to pitch the book to design.

    Marketing was handled by an outside consultant, and reviewed by various magazine editors... I can't see your book helping you much in "Signs of the Times" "Sign Business" or "Sign Craft"... but it may have a bigger impact for newer and possibly larger clients on SEGD Design magazine, IN Park magazine, Exhibit or anything related to restaurants, store design or malls... there is a magazine for every profession.

    I'm not fond of EBooks, when I am looking through materials, I spread things out... E books are not spread friendly... I also believe the printed word carries more clout.

    I am into process... mostly how you come up with the drawings... naturally I want to see some being built, and installed, but I like to know what floats around in peoples brain when designing.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  4. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

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    Wow I can't wait to begin reading since I've started reading your posts here and else where I've been impressed, I've really no advise or suggestions but I'll be reading in awe.

    Remembers Mike Stevens writing in Signcraft and a subscription he mailed out then put all of that together for the book.
    But now wow. ...good luck hope to be reading soon.
     
  5. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I use InDesign right now for this purpose of doing ebooks. Mainly it has dealt with my other hobbies: OTR, Appaloosas, or modifying diesel trucks. To me, InDesign is the software to use for it, but I am also partial to adobe products as well.

    I think ebooks are the way it's going, whether people like it or not. It might take it awhile to fully take over, but it is going to get there. I personally like it as you can do so much more with it versus the printed page.
     
  6. grampa dan

    grampa dan Member

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    Thanks for the information and encouragement already shown.

    The book will be primarily for self promotion.

    As for the contents of the book.... It's a combination of things including my own story (primarily to show I'm really not very different from anyone else) The book will cover many subjects I talk of during the workshops we host each year here in our studio.

    It's my hope the book will do a variety of things. Self promotion is probably the biggest personal payoff. I don't anticipate much profit in terms of money. More importantly the book will hopefully spark interest from others in this particular line of work. It will show the (years of) preparation it took to develop the unique skill set required. And it will show how even the seemingly most complex projects when broken down to small pieces are not that hard.

    I hope to show the process and steps of many projects.

    I hope it inspires others to do work of similar scope and imagination no matter how big or small their company may be.

    -grampa dan
     
  7. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    the cost is in promoting the book & without it you will have tough road to any money.
     
  8. grampa dan

    grampa dan Member

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    I am well aware that books (and the money made) are as good as their promotion.
    A hard bound paper book is very expensive to produce. Without a publisher or a BIG wad of cash impossible. Even then there are distributors and retailers as well. The end result is a single digit 3-8% return for the author. Make it big on a high volume of books or don't make a dime.

    Back in the seventies I made my living as a pen and ink artist. I faced the same dilemma. How to market my work. I could go with a publisher/distributor and they would do the legwork for me. The deal was I covered the printing costs of my limited edition prints.... they signed me up to an exclusive contract (meaning I could sell none myself) and in return I got 10-15% minus my costs. If a limited edition print sold for $100 I net $5-6 after costs.

    Or I could do the leg work myself and get a bigger share. If a print sold for the same hundred bucks I got $50 - the dealer got $50. After my costs were all added up - gas, travel, printing etc.. I managed to net $26 on average. Did I make less? Who knows. I did make a good living and enjoyed it immensely. I was also in control of my own destiny too. In those years I learned a LOT about self promotion - what worked and what didn't... lessons I still apply to my business to this day.

    I'm not looking to make a living from the book... quite the contrary. It may add a little to the pot over time and also promote our other work too. It's all part of a bigger plan. The fun part will be seeing if it actually works. Best of all it can be done with little risk as an eBook.

    -grampa dan.
     
  9. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    There are a number of publishers out there now that will do print on demand. I have a few clients I have worked with over the years that have done that for there books. They weren't producing books near as interesting as yours sounds like its going to be. One of them produces a book on job site safety and found an on demand publisher that was willing to take him on. They only print the books in small orders then when he has sales lined up.

    Maybe something to look into. This was 4 years ago and I am sure things have only improved for the better by now. Just my 2¢
     
  10. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    Go with the ebook, many of the biggest business writers are completely giving up physical books, even print on demand, in favor of them. InDesign is the software to use for any book layout work (great for setting type). If the ebook takes off you can always release it in physical form later.

    After you've written it you may consider selling it via an affiliate market but as your brand is everything be careful with that route (though it can be profitable).
     
  11. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Agreed. InDesign is fairly easy to get in the swing of things as well. Learning curve doesn't seem to be as bad as Illustrator is when I first started using it.

    Ebooks are just the way things are going. As you get things like the iPad and the Droid version of the iPad, ebooks and magazines are going to be more and more prevalent.

    I would suggest against that, just because of what issues might arise with that(as you have alluded to).
     
  12. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    I read ebooks on my Droid X all day long and the Tab is quite good. iPad 2 is due out in a couple months and CES is going to be drowning in medium-screen size mobile platforms.

    Seth Godin is a good example of a hugely successful author that now does ebooks almost exclusively but it's even better for small niche business books as you don't have to worry about distrobution, every sale is almost all profit.
     
  13. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Yep, it just doesn't cost with ebooks as it does with "normal" book publication. Now there will still be some benefits going thru companies that handled normal publication for your ebooks, but how long even that lasts, who knows.

    There are going to be a couple of reasons why the ebook thing holds off a bit before it totally takes over.

    1. It is still cheaper for some to buy traditional books over the expensive e-reader device(whatever that device may be), depending on how they shop for books especially, but also in how much do they read etc.

    2. This is especially more true with older generations then newer and that is the acceptance of(or desire to learn) newer technology. While my dad likes his e-readers(of which he has several different types), he still likes the tactile sensation of reading a "traditional" book. As that generation passes on, you'll find that to be the case less and less.

    The only downside that I'm aware of for the ebooks is that it takes power of some type to be able to read whatever it is you are trying to read. Traditional books you don't have that stipulation all the time like you do with regard to ebooks. That is one negative that would affect everyone and not so much of a preference negative.
     
  14. Dan Antonelli

    Dan Antonelli Very Active Member

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    My next book will be an ebook. I actually spoke to David Carter about it, and even he is not having any more books published. He is actually launching his own publishing company - and all his books will be ebooks from now on.

    My goal for 2011 is to finish it. Lot of work, not only the writing, but the then the actual layout and page composition.

    Next book will not only be for designers but also small businesses interested in branding their small business.
     
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