I have been sitting on the fence as to self-publish or make submissions to the established publishers for my project, Insomnia. There are some pros and cons for each alternative. But the biggest draw back to self publishing is the ability to distribution of the book after all of the investments have been made. One of the key aspects for the established publishers is the artistic validation that is provided, and the ensuing opportunities that could result.
Now self-publishing has two big alternatives, one is relatively inexpensive investment but results in an expensive book, which is using the Print on Demand (POD) publishers. The second alternative is an expensive investment, but a relatively low cost book which is necessary for the traditional booksellers and book distributors.
So I am thinking about about developing a straw man, or a high quality dummy book, through Blurb, a POD publisher that I am using. If I can finish the Insomnia project and develop the Blurb book dummy by the end of June, I can submit it to Blurb’s photography.book.now juried book contest. If it does well, then potentially keep in the Blurb distribution channel. If not, remove it from the public sector, but then print copies as book dummies for submissions to the book publishers.
One aspect of the traditional book publishers is that they may or may not include the photographer (me) in the book’s design, layout, editing, image pairing and sequencing. Since my project has a cinematic story line, the basic flow of the images should be evident. There is always room for the exact pairing and some of the sequencing decisions, but that is also an interesting part of the collaborative effort with the publisher and book designer. So ideally if I provide a very sophisticated book dummy, this will hopefully influence those design decisions.
So that is what I am thinking at the moment,
Best regards, Douglas
The self-publishing route will almost certainly require a distributor. But, Blurb would not be your only alternative. That plan would allow you to remain the publisher and maintain artistic contol, but you would have a distributor to play a part in the marketing of your book. You would want a hungry and aggressive distributor. The book business has become pretty tough over the last ten or fifteen years.