You got your feet wet publishing with BookBaby and CreateSpace. So why change horses in mid-stream?
First of all, I love that expression. I use it often to temper my impulsive nature when new technology tempts me with updates. Things can get lost; time wasted learning new programs, you know what I mean. However, in the case of self-publishing, I was intent on creating a photo storybook with a lot of text. Before I dove too deep, I wanted to finish Maya Awakens as an e-book. I had been given this idea in a dream and was unsure if I could do it justice. But the universe does not wait for us to grab an idea before passing it on to someone else.
I had decided to create the book using all my Apple devices. I shot the photos using an iPhone 6, edited them using photo apps on an iPad 2, uploaded them to my iMac, and created the book using iBooks Author. I listed it under YA (Young Adults), Fantasy, and posted it for sale on the iBooks store. The reviews were all very positive, which gave me the motivation to take the next step.
Creating a magazine series?
I like reading magazines. I like the size, how they handle, plus all the content you can fit on an 81/2 x 11” page. I was thinking 2-3 editions a year —I have it all laid out on paper. Then reality hit. BOOM! On the editorial page of magazines, there can be thirty names listed. This to get a quarterly magazine published. Here I am taking on the whole to create this work of art. I set my goal to have it published within the year and made my deadline.
Today there are a lot of artists and graphic designers making beautiful independent magazines. Blurb.com seemed the place to go. I had tried Blurb out a few years before. I made a 20-page book as a gift for a friend. It was full color, softbound, luster photo paper, small, 7 x 7”, but still pricey. The total came to $36 with shipping.
The experience showed me that a 104 page, softcover photobook would price out at about $70 wholesale, before shipping fees. Bummer.
Bookstore magazine prices range from $14.99-$18.99, but they print in massive quantities. I intend to sell my books as art, priced the same as the latest NYTimes bestsellers, about $27.95. You should know all of this before embarking on bookmaking. Have a plan in mind, create a budget, and stick to it. Gather all the photos and text together first before you even begin. Yes, things will change as you go along, but you’ll be solid for the most part, and save you from wasting a lot of time.
What Blurb program did you use to create the manuscript?
I used BookWright. It was a simple download and an easy learning curve. If you have used your word processing software to make flyers or Keynote/Powerpoint to do presentations, you can figure out BookWright. Templates can vary for magazines and books. There are a wide variety of page layouts to choose from, so have fun playing around until you find the design that suits your vision.
Sounds a lot easier than it probably was?
You could say that. I was going along, adding pages, learning the program, when I remembered to read over all the Blurb guidelines for making a book. This is important to know. With Blurb, it is awkward. You have to look on their website instead of downloading a .pdf with all the does and don’ts. CreateSpace was good for that, which can save time and frustration when having to make corrections later.
It was the dead of winter 2018. Temperatures were 2 degrees outside. By March, I had all the content into the template and was feeling pretty proud of myself. I was working with Sebastian Michaels’ KAIZEN course, but not keeping up with all the lessons. One day I went on the website, and Sebastian was talking about Typography and how it made all the difference when used creatively. I hadn’t given it much thought. I was busy working to create images to go with the text, then uploading the content into book form. Adding typography would require that I rethink the whole manuscript and start again. I was not happy.
Sebastian offers a bonus training, Owning Your Artistic Life, that provides a “come to Jesus” moment for the student. At some point in the training, you need to decide if you are here to play, or here to become a professional artist. Both paths are legitimate, but you need to be clear, so you’re using your time wisely. Up to a point, you’re playing, learning, trying things out, making mistakes. Going professional is a tough decision. Doing anything professionally in today’s flooded art market is going to test the strongest of souls. Still, I knew where I wanted to go and put in the time needed to get there.
What did you know about Typography?
Not much. I went back into the belly of the beast and realized that everything was in place, but it was so….plain…..so…ordinary. For a brief moment, I had been ready to publish my first magazine. Instead, what I had was just the ingredients, now it was time to add the herbs and spices. I was ignorant about the unlimited amount of letter designs and how they can transform a page. I had played around with typography in my photo art, but this was 104 pages begging for fonts I didn’t know existed.
I fell in love with what some call, “the art of typography,” and will be accused of overdoing it a bit. But damn if it isn’t the cherry on top of your creation.
Studying typography coincided with designing the book cover. I set aside the manuscript to design the cover and didn’t get back to it until late summer. Sometimes life has other plans. I detoured for a few months while working on an interactive exhibit of Mandalas I had created. I had two full projects going; neither of them close to complete.
A young, professional woman, for whom I have great respect, cautioned me to “bring those planes in for a landing Delia, or they will run out of gas circling overhead.”
I liked the way she said it, the perfect metaphor for what I was experiencing. Except I soon realized that I was also learning to fly those two jumbo planes, and had no idea how to land either of them.
I guess this is where I speak about courage, determination, overcoming obstacles, and resisting completion. Listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul guests gave me perspective on what was holding me back from landing those planes. Sometimes you need a little help, a nudge, or a big push before you fall into the groove again. One plane had to land, so I decided it would be Lifting The Veil. I set my intention, gave myself a deadline, and brought that baby in for a landing.
What do you envision happening with your books?
I envision a creative dialogue between people that we are all human beings surviving on a small planet spinning through space, and we better learn to get along. Unfortunately, we continue to repeat the same deadly mistakes. I envisioned all the text and photo art coming together like a play. The reader is just carried along, returning, again and again, to see what they might have missed.
Another piece of my plan is the Lifting The Veil series as a type of coffee table book. Since its publication, people have been contacting me to say they keep it on their coffee table, savoring it slowly. Exactly what I intended. I want people to get drawn in, then talk about what they’ve read with friends, family, co-workers, everyone because all the lives in Human ~ Nature are real people. They tell your story when they tell theirs. It is always through stories, poems, and songs that we share our humanity. Unless we pass along our stories and those of our ancestors, we will lose the threads of our connection.
NEXT: Self-Publishing Tips, Pointers & Things to Remember