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Author Topic: Self Publishing  (Read 13009 times)

Justinr

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2014, 03:52:28 am »

Now that is info I can use-thanks!
Mike

It's always a sound idea to try and distinguish between answers that are useful and answers that we want to hear. Can't say that I've always been the best at it myself but a little wisdom creeps in eventually.
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joneil

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 02:47:06 pm »

Actually I / we do "self publish" our own calendars, and we have for many years.   So a few facts from somebody who actually does it.

First, just so you all know, we self publish calendars because we give them away free for advertising purposes.  We have done so for years, and we find - for us and our business, likely because we have been doing it so long - that it works great for us as an advertising venue.   However, I do not think as an exercise in making money I would ever do it.  Too much competition.  

So, in no particular order, here are a few pointers:

1) Artwork
           One reason I "self publish" is I work with a local printer to get the artwork done right.  It takes a lot of work to get everything co-ordinated, and make sure your prints come out right.  For example, the type of paper, printing press, printing process, etc, etc, all make a huge difference in how your photograph looks.  You might have your monitor perfectly calibrated for your own in house Epson or Canon printer, but for commerical purposes, you will likely need a whole different monitor calibration.

2) Quaility counts.  
          Yes, you can get calendars printed for around a dollar each once you get into near the 10,000 copy mark, but it looks like it is only worth a dollar too.  Now, bearing in mind this forum is read world wide, and therefore your mileage can and will vary, my point is, even when you give away a calender for free, if you want people to actually keep and use them, they have to look and "feel" good.  That puts the cost up to maybe two or three dollars per copy in my case.

3) Theme
             You might have hundereds of wonderful and excellent photographs, but seriously, no offence meant to anyone, you will find that what works for a large print or for "fine art" and what people want in a wall calendar is sometimes two different things.
      People want to look at what they know, what they like.  So, if you are shooting antique cars for a calendar, you might have great sales at auto shows but maybe not much elsewhere.
    Calendars are also very personal to most people.  What a man and woman may like in a calendar vary considerably for example.   Also, you have to be careful, you would be amazed at what "offends" people anymore.  
    Before you start any calendar, you have to decide what market you are targeting, and then you go out and shoot photographs for that specific market.  In that sense, calendrs are like a restaurant.  Are you fast food & take out, vegan, fine dining, Italian, Chinese, breakfast only, etc, etc, etc.
   Choose and know your market ahead of time and aim your calendar at that market.

4) Distribution
     Not just +1 to that comment, plus +10,000 to it.  Even when you give them away for free, at the end of the day, it is still distribution, distribution and in case you are still not sure, distribution.  Distribution is everything.

5) Critical Judgement.
      We do a 13 month calendar.  We may start with almost 100 photographs in the first "final cut" before we whittle it down to the last 14 photographs (13 months plus the front cover).    You may think you have  a lot of photographs, but when you get really cruel in those final cuts, you never seem to have as many as you thought.

6) Text
     What kind of explainations/captions  do you have with your photographs, what kind of extra dates and holiday and other features does your calendar have that others do not?  This is almost as improtant as the photographs themselves.  A lot of work goes into that.

    Those are the basic points off the top of my head.  But here is my main point.

    If you have lots of photographs and you are wondering what to do with them, and you think to yourself "Hey, maybe a calendar", you likely will never make it a success.   But if you like calendars, and you want to make one, and use your photography to help make a specific type or theme of calendar, then, just then, maybe you have a chance of making a success.

good luck
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 02:50:48 pm by joneil »
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Mike Sellers

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2014, 07:59:47 am »

Very interesting Joneil. Do you follow the seasons with your images? Snow scene for December,January then something that says "spring" in the springtime etc.
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joneil

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2014, 12:56:15 pm »

Very interesting Joneil. Do you follow the seasons with your images? Snow scene for December,January then something that says "spring" in the springtime etc.

  Recently and mostly not.   Winters, especially the last one, seem to be long and hard here in Canada.  I am finding, and again, your mileage can and will vary, is that coem February or even March many people are sick of looking at snow, and something that makes them think of spring works better.

   Conversely, although this summer isn't that hot (at least around here), a nice, cool, refreshing looking winter scene might go voer well in August.  Gets your mind off the heat and humidity.   

  But again, depends on your market.   Know your market.  Some people love it, other think - huh?      Also, regardless if you are doing calendar, book (print or e-book), film, large prints, etc, you must beleive in the medium you are going into.
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louoates

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2014, 05:26:03 pm »

Also keep in mind that many folks use calendar art and note card art as low cost frame-able pictures.
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NancyP

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2014, 07:37:32 pm »

Here's an idea that might work, based on a successful calendar sold in Missouri by the state Department of Conservation:
Calendar photographs of LOCAL nature scenery, wildlife, plants, etc, pictures are all ANNOTATED with the location, species, season/date shot, any other info of interest to LOCAL natural history buffs. All photos appropriate to the month.
Calendar dates have "Things to look for" eg, moon phases, likely peak migrations, mating seasons, hunting seasons (helpful for the non-hunter, who needs to keep up on when to wear blaze orange and be cautious), plants in flower, etc. Tomorrow's entry is "Hawthorn fruits ripen. Baby bats start flying." Sunday's entry is "Full moon". Monday is "Copperheads born this week". Tuesday is "Perseid meteor shower peaks" (to which I add - fat luck photographing any, moon is near full and there won't be very long full dark period - it's a visual-only year for Perseids)

The hook is, I see an entry and enjoy thinking about my hike on the weekend. LOCAL INTEREST.

Distribution: MDC sells these calendars at state parks and conservation areas. The calendar is really inexpensive, and they sell a zillion, and everyone comes back for the next year's calendar. Note that the photographs are taken by MDC staff photographer/naturalists, with a few contributions from the public. You would have to distribute the calendar yourself, by visiting possible sellers (outdoors suppliers like REI, local parks, stores attached to museums, etc.)

http://mdc.mo.gov/media/image/2014-natural-events-calendar-cover
http://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/natural-events-calendar-available-oct-18
http://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/buy-mdc-2014-natural-events-calendar-while-supplies-last
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joneil

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2014, 09:01:38 am »

The hook is, I see an entry and enjoy thinking about my hike on the weekend. LOCAL INTEREST.

  I agree completely with that point.  We concentrate on local history in our calendars, but it is still LOCAL as you say.   Also, your and my definition of "local" will again vary - are we talking city limits, county limits, something you can see/do within an hour's drive or two, etc, etc.    That goes back to knowing your market ahead of time.   However, inside that parameter, your range is wide open.   You have to give people a reason to keep that calendar on the wall.

   So ask yourself this - why do I keep a certain calendar on a wall?  What does it mean to me?  What purpose does it serve?  Look far and wide.  For example, in our calendars, in addition to local interest, our boxes with the dates are large enough to write notes on ("Johnny's doctor appoint 2 pm" for example) and our numbers in those boxes are large and distinct enough that an old fart like me can see it accross the room without my glasses on.   Silly little things like that can make all the difference in the world.

   The other point about people using calendar photos as prints on the wall is very true too, but that brings it's own issues.  What you or I think is good art and what people like are sometimes far apart.  If it helps, people tend to like things they can understand in whole or part.  People also tend to like something that means something to them.   For  example, a calendar full of photographs of sunsets over  various beaches will sell better in a gift shop in the Florida Keys than it will in a gift shop is Aspen, Co., because people might want to bring home a bit of their vacation with them.  On the other hand, how many "LOL Cats"  calendars appear every year in the malls some the fall?   Now if that's your thing, go for it, but I think one can go too far too in catering to the basic instincts of the public, you want some balance in there, eh?
:)


   
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lowep

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Re: Self Publishing
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2014, 10:00:12 pm »

Is self publishing alive and well? What would it cost to self publish a calendar? Where can I read about the process?
Mike

have you considered electronic publishing?
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