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Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Have You Considered Print On Demand?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Many quilters have a book in them and don’t know where to start. Some quilters will take the traditional route with an established publisher. Others will find their needs better met with a self-published product. In the current issue of The Professional Quilter, Gloria Hansen takes a look at an option know as Print on Demand. Here’s an excerpt from that article.

A few months ago while cleaning out an area of my basement, I came across some boxes filled with copies of a pattern I self-published into a booklet nearly two decades ago. To get high-quality color images printed on letter-sized glossy paper, I needed to have a minimum of 5,000 printed. All of these years later, more than half of them remain in the boxes. This illustrates some downsides of self-publishing – paying for an initial print run that may not sell and storing the printed material. Today a new technology greatly reduces the often high upfront fees, eliminates storage needs, and allows you to print as few or as many books as needed. It’s called Print on Demand (POD).

A range of POD companies offer “assisted self-publishing” services, including editorial guidance and design work, as part of their pricing plan. XLibris, CreateSpace, iUniverse and LuLu are examples. While these companies may offer features important to your needs, such as a wide distribution, they also require upfront fees that range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on your goals.

Another option that results in a professional end product yet doesn’t require a high upfront fee is Blurb. Blurb, was initially set up to serve the self-publishing needs of both photographers and authors. And while companies that offer digital image printing services also offer photo POD books (such as Shutterfly, Apple through iPhoto, and SnapFish), Blurb compares very favorably in the price department and also offers you the option of adding your book to Blurb’s public bookstore. Taking a look at the bookstore, the high quality is obvious. If you choose this option, you can then set a price and keep any income over the printing cost.

When questioning professional quiltmakers about their experiences with POD, Blurb was the consistent winner. You can read more of Gloria’s article about the pluses and minuses of POD and Blurb in particular, along with the experiences of several quilters who’ve used Blurb in the Spring issue of The Professional Quilter. If your membership is not current or you need to convert your subscription, click here.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Five Considerations for Aspiring Pattern Designers

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Many aspiring pattern designers ask themselves: Should I publish my designs as patterns, the kind commonly packaged in plastic bags? Or should I publish books, staple-bound or with a spine? In the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter, pattern designer Kay Mackenzie took a look at this topic. Here’s an excerpt from her article:

Patterns and books both have their places in our wonderful world of quilting. For starters, an idea may lend itself better to one or the other. If the design’s instructions will fit on just a few pieces of paper, then a pattern seems a natural choice. If your idea is concept-driven, then perhaps a book is a better fit. Maybe you’re simply drawn to the aesthetics of one and less than attracted to the practical aspects of producing the other. Maybe one is a more natural expression of your creative juices.

Though patterns and books share some common aspects, in a lot of ways they’re different animals when it comes to getting them done. And, any time you’re thinking about getting into publishing, you’ll need to do a good bit of research. Here are just a few of the things to consider when you make your decision.

  • With books, unlike pattern printing, you’ll have to decide in advance how many copies of your book to print. It’s a guessing game! Larger runs equal less cost per copy. But if you print too many, you may be stuck with cartons of books that you can’t sell. If you print too few,  you can always reprint, but the cost per copy is more, making your profit margin smaller.
  • Once the books are back from the printer, they’re good to go – no assembly required. You will, however, want to check them over. (Ask mehow I know that.) The trade-off is that you will need to have enough storage space on-site for all of the cartons or pay for off-site storage. The cartons must be protected from dampness, so don’t use the garage!
  • Patterns will need to be assembled so you’ll need labor – either your own or some kids’ – to fold and stuff them. Patterns need lessstorage space than books because you can print them you go.
  • Distributors are a major chunk of how things work in our quilting industry, and for this discussion this refers to the quilt-shop trade.(The bookstore trade is a whole other issue and worth researching if you decide you want to do a book.) You do want to sell to industry distributors, and here’s a thought about how that relates to books vs. patterns. While exceptions exist, distributors might prefer that you have a line of patterns before they will consider picking you up. Books are considered on their individual merits, so one well-made book can be submitted to distributors.
  • Brush up on typography and page design principles. Don’t include too many typefaces on a page and avoid overused fonts. A couple offantastic books that will set you straight are The Non-Designer’s Design Book and The Non-Designer’s Type Book, both by design guru Robin Williams. And, think to the future. Develop a distinctive, branded look for your pattern line.

You can read more of Kay Mackenzie’s article in the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter. If your subscription is not current and you need to renew, or you want to start a new subscription, here’s a link to our order page.

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