This is part of a series about my experiences in publishing a book. The series starts here.
It’s been about three months since I helped unload 600 copies of Staccato into my garage. Hemlock printed 1000, and 400 were shipped directly from the bindery to (non-paying, but valued) customers. I have printed about 25 sets of portfolio images for the 50 boxed sets. I have sent out about 300 copies, and I have that many left.
It’s time to reflect on how this project turned out, even it it’s not completely over.
First, the issue with the page flatness is not one that concerns me much anymore. It turns out that, with the new book opening method that we all learned in elementary school — or even with time and handling — the pages lie pretty flat. The book was designed so that no important image content fell across the gutter area anyway.
The dust cover, and the protective layer over it, turned out just great. It’s tough, and hard to mar with handling. It’s not glossy, and therefore resists fingerprints well, but has a credible Dmax. Blacks are good. The cover image color is suitably rich.
The die-cut edges of the cover looks good, and don’t catch on things, as intended. Copies of the book that have been handled a lot look just like new. However, I now realize that there is a stress point along the top of the book where the two quarter-circles come together. In retrospect, I should have gone with my first choice, a 45-degree angled bevel. However, so far that’s just academic; the dust covers are holding up just fine.
The feedback I’ve received on the book has been very gratifying. I’ve heard from many strangers. I’ve reconnected with old friends. And people whom I respect a great deal, like Charlie Cramer, have gone out of their way to tell me how much they like the book and the work.
Brian Taylor has talked to me about doing a lecture and book signing at the Center for Photographic Art, but I haven’t done anything about that yet. One of the things I’m wrestling with is what to talk about in the lecture. I could go with how the series came to be and its antecedents in my oeuvre. That would be easy. I’ve given that lecture before. I expect that it would be moderately interesting to many people. The other approach would be to go through the whole process of getting the book done, as I’ve done here in the blog. I expect that that would be intensely interesting to a small number of folks, and waaay TMI for most. Torn on the horns of that dilemma, I’ve done nothing.
I am now considering how I can use the book to gain introductions to curators who might give me a show. That could prove to be labor-intensive, and I haven’t done anything but think about it so far.
The bottom line? I am glad I did the book. I am on balance very happy with how it came out. Will I do another one? I’m not sure, but I’m not rushing to repeat this exercise.
James ryan says
Do you have a some copies to sell?
Call the CPA and see if they’re still giving copies to people who join. I think they have some left. That’ll cost you fifty bucks, and is the cheapest way to get your hands on a copy.
Here’s the CPA’s website:
Nice domain name, huh?
Lynn Allan says
Now that we are mid-way through 2018, I’m curious about any other comments you might have about your book project.
OK, here goes: I printed 1000 copies. I have about 200 left, and am working on getting that down to 50, which I think I can store for a long while if I must. I have not approached curators and gallery managers. I am proud of the book. I learned a lot. I would absolutely do it all over again knowing what I know now. However, I’m not anxious to do another offset-printed book. It’s very expensive. There is no hope for someone like me to recover the cost through book sales. It’s a lot of work. I am unwilling to do what it would take to properly promote a book, just as I am unwilling to do the work to secure and manage ongoing gallery representation. In the end, although I think that getting my work before other people is important, photography is mostly about creating the work in the first place.