Publishing a coffee table book

numbat47
7th September 2010, 00:22
I have recently joined SN, and have found great delight in uploading photographs taken by my great grandfather, Edmund Samuel Dashwood, in the 1870' and 1880's. As well as the shipping and boats scenes I have uploaded there are many scenes of London, Greenwich, the rivers of Norfolk and Suffolk, country scenes, and the people of Blackheath and London. It is a beautiful treasure trove, by a man who obviously knew how to compose a scene. I would like to find a publisher who might be interested in helping to create a suitable book to honour his memory, and let more people than just me see the pics. ANY SUGGESTIONS??(Read)

david_crosby
7th September 2010, 22:46
I would like to find a publisher who might be interested in helping to create a suitable book to honour his memory, and let more people than just me see the pics. ANY SUGGESTIONS??(Read)

I self-published some 8 books while I was in Oz (not about shipping) after spending 2 years looking for a publisher who actually published something other than female fiction, cook-books, and gardening.

You'll find it a VERY expensive exercise thanks to low volume and remember, the bulk of your clients will be in the UK. All of my (specialist) books have been profitable but you have to be persistant and out there in the market.

numbat47
8th September 2010, 01:39
I have considered the self funded publication, but thought that the expense was probably out of my league. I will investigate it further, while trying to find a specialist publisher in photographic nostalgia! Thank you David.

Dickyboy
8th September 2010, 07:22
Just an idea......
If you go into a local bookshop, they usually have a section that deals with local subjects. IE local history, lifeboats, churches, etc etc. Some of these publishers of local history or subjects might be interested in smaller scale literature. Also your local rag might point you in the right direction, as they sometimes deal in books from local authors, and might have dealings with local publishers.
I suggest local because you say that the subject is the pictures by your great grandfather, so he might well be the selling point, as opposed to the pictures themselves.
I believe there are also "Vanity Publishers" who will publish almost anything, provided the price is right. I think you pay a fixed amount for a certain number of books, and when printed they deliver them to your doorstep.

Shipbuilder
8th September 2010, 08:03
Getting a book published by conventional means would appear to be “mission impossible” these days, especially it is of a nautical nature. I tried all the mainstream publishers and a lot were simply not prepared to read anything unless it was printed double-spaced on A4 with a one inch margin all round, on one side of the paper only. This made the manuscript enormous and the cost of sending one and return postage quickly became prohibitive for me. I do believe that a lot of publishers just flip through a manuscript in about ten seconds and if it doesn’t make an impression, dump it in a store for several months and then send it back with something like “We have read your MSS carefully, but , although it has merit, we do not feel it is commercially viable in the present publishing climate!”

Another favourite is “nobody is interested in personal recollections of ships these days!”

What it really amounts to is that most publishers are very blinkered and seem to be under the impression that the Merchant Navy consisted only of TITANIC and CUTTY SARK, whilst the Royal Navy was composed only of HMS BOUNTY and HMS VICTORY!

In the end, I tired of trying, but was persuaded by my wife to give it one last go. I broke away from convention by printing the book myself and having it comb bound. It didn’t cost much. 1p per page paper costs, compatible ink cartridges, one set at £5 and binding about £3. I telephoned my final publisher and asked would they be prepared to consider it if I submitted it in that form. Much to my surprise, they agreed. A few weeks later, they phoned saying they were interested, and if I re-wrote it to their specifications, they would consider it. I had heard that one twice before, and in both cases, after lengthy re-writes, both previous publishers told me not to even bother re-submitting it! Consequently, I just said “Take it or leave it, I am not prepared to re-write!” By that time, I really didn’t care anyway and they “left it.” As far as I was concerned, that was the end of it. Two weeks later, the managing director phoned me up and said he couldn’t get it out of his mind and could we come to a compromise?

The book covered my sea time of early 1961 to late 1992. He proposed accepting half of it, 1979 – 1992.

The book was published in 2006 and had 75 photographs in it, including 25 in colour. It has since sold out and I believe they are getting ready for a 2nd edition!

As soon as it appeared, another publisher offered me a contract on a different type of book, but I was pretty fed up with being messed about by publishers in general (not counting the one that did publish and made a very good job of it as well). So I rejected their “offer!” (Makes change doesn’t it, author rejecting a publisher?).

By that time, I had become very computer literate and now produce my own e-books on CD disk in PDF format (Acrobat Reader). In this way, the printing costs are passed on to the buyer and postage costs are minimal. This has been very successful with various online sites selling at Fixed Price, Buy it Now. The worst thing about conventional publishers is the length of time it takes. Usually two years from acceptance to publication. With disks, I have them on sale within hour of final completion.

Since then, I have found that I can get books tape bound or spring bound in a very neat package for under £3 each.

This is very lengthy and may not even remain here very long as it may be construed as advertising on my part. However, I hope it plants the idea that you can do it yourself. I find that each e-book fizzles out after between 60 to 100 sales, and then slows to a never-ending trickle of sales, but at £11 a time, that is pretty good. Approximate cost of producing a disk in a plastic case with box and labels as shown in photograph is 30p. Maximum airmail to anywhere in world is £1.82, but within UK, it is only 66p. The selling price includes P & P.

Bob

Shipbuilder
8th September 2010, 08:21
After I posted this, I couldn't find it and thought it had already been deleted. Then I found it in Cameras and Photographic equipment!

Wouldn't it have been better in the "Books" section?

Bob

numbat47
8th September 2010, 10:18
You have given me some ideas, the reason it was in Photographic equipment is that it is mainly about the photos from the 1880's that I have inherited. As far as I know only 4 of my great grandfather's photos have ever been published, and to a very limited audience (Queen Victoria got that copy!)(READ)

stein
8th September 2010, 17:53
I find that a large number of my bound collections of historical nautical photographs were published by David & Charles; I checked and found they are still around.

As to the general pessimism though, I'll have to add my own. I gave up a career as a maritime painter a few years ago, the interest just isn't there anymore. The container terminals lies outside the towns, the shipping offices that are left have moved too, and the sailors are nearly all foreigners.

Of course your pictures are closer to local history, describing daily life in England as it once were, and may have a larger public.

Shipbuilder
8th September 2010, 19:03
I feel that most publishers contribute to the lack of interest by simply not allowing the public to develop any interest because they seldom seem to bring out anything fresh!

Look in large booksellers and libraries at the "Transport" section and you will find mainly trains, buses, aircraft and a few of TITANIC, VICTORY etc. When my book came out, it appeared in a very large local booksellers and every week, I would go and see how it was doing and it seemed to sell very well judging by the number of times the two or three copies disappeared and then got re-stocked again. Probably because it was out of the ordinary and concerned a ramshackle little passenger cargo ship rather than a big prestigeous liner. If there were more nautical books for casual browsers to look at, they probably would get interested.

Modern publishers seem to have a few ships fixed in their brains and anything outside that seems to be beyond their comprehension!

Nautical booksellers dealing in old out-of-print books seem to do very well indeed. Even a monthly issue of SHIPBUILDER from the First War era can sell for in excess of £100. Old autobiographies also go for large sums.

With modern home equipment, it is now possible to actually produce your own books on demand of much better quality that the average book of 50 years ago. I don't find it all that tedious either. Just put the paper in the printer and tell it to print all the odd pages and leave it to it. On completion, turn the whole lot over and print the even pages on the back. Add the frontispieces, fly leaves etc, take it to a binder and they do the rest.

Bob

rivet
15th September 2010, 18:56
You could try the Greater London industrial archaeology society, Bob Carr and Mary Mills are always interested in photo's of old London, they will probably be able to advise you.

numbat47
16th September 2010, 01:28
You could try the Greater London industrial archaeology society, Bob Carr and Mary Mills are always interested in photo's of old London, they will probably be able to advise you.

Thnat is a great idea, at least I now know something to google!(Thumb)

Snapper2
18th November 2010, 20:45
I don't know if this question has been resolved, but one specialist coffee table book I have, (Fairground Art) is published,admittedly a few years ago, by White Mouse publications London. It was a relatively short print run I understand. Good Luck.
snapper2

IAN M
28th September 2011, 23:04
After I posted this, I couldn't find it and thought it had already been deleted. Then I found it in Cameras and Photographic equipment!

Wouldn't it have been better in the "Books" section?

Bob

I, too, am an ex-R/O, and the author of LIFE ABOARD A WARTIME LIBERTY SHIP describing my life at sea during the last two years of the Second World War. It took me years to find a publisher, but it was finally published by Amberley in October 2010. They accepted it on a CD, but required me to send the actual pictures/illustrations.

Unlike you, I have no idea how the book has been selling and, because I have an even larger book, describing my postwar voyages, ready for publication, I find your postings very informative.

Thank you very much.

Best regards

Ian