Saturday, June 21, 2008

So you’d like to produce a book. Regardless of whether it is a portfolio of your work, an event or wedding album, a blog, a cookbook, or a novel, the first decision to make is should you do it yourself, or should you hire a professional?

The most important thing to consider is the time and effort put into creating the book versus the desired outcome of the finished product. Time is always something we are short on, and trial and error in designing your own book can be time-consuming, costly and frustrating. Hiring a professional book designer can simplify this process for you. This way you work with a designer to establish the look and feel of the book, and the designer then implements and/or enhances your vision.

Professional designers do this for a living and therefore understand the technology and the graphic design layout process a book requires. If your desire is to create a professional portfolio, or a book that is personal and emotive, a designer will know how to convey your concept.

Additionally, their skills in designing allow them to provide creative input such as use of color, use of design elements, typography and photo editing. All of these skills not only add to, but enhance the look of your finished book.

In preparing a quote for a client, it isn’t as simple as quoting a set price and going from there. There are many things a professional designer will need to know from you in order to establish a base cost. Let's review some of the things you'll need to know about designing your book before you hire a designer...

Take some time to think about your book before selecting a designer. This process will really help you establish what exactly you want to create and will also enable the vendor to give you a quote based on your true needs and not on a “guesstimate”. And keep in mind that hiring a vendor to design the book does not in most cases include the cost of purchasing and shipping the book. Be sure to verify that with any vendor you hire.

What format shall my book be in? has several book size selections to choose from as follows:

Blurb books come in soft cover, hard cover with a dust jacket and hard cover with an image wrap. (An image wrap allows you to print an image directly on the front and back of any hard cover book.

Deciding right away on the size of your book is important to begin the design process. You may already know what you want, or you can consult with your designer to determine the best size suited for your project.

Blurb offers great flexibility with ordering your book when it is completed, you have the choice of either soft covers or a hard covers. However, for design purposes, you will need to know if you want the book to have the option of a hard cover with a dust jacket or a hard cover with an image wrap. The reason for this is the designer will need to “lay out” the inside flaps of a dust jacket, and will also need to meet specific design parameters if the cover is to be image wrapped.

How big will my book be?
This can often be a question you find hard to answer and the book designer understands that. However, you may have an idea of how many pages you would “like” the book to be, or you know how many pictures you have or pages of text. This will help enormously when asking a vendor to give you a quote.

What are the elements in my book?
This is important to know for the designer to determine the needs and time required for designing. While your concept can change, a basic understanding of what materials will be included will help the vendor determine pricing.

Most importantly, know what is the content of your book – is it photographs, text, or a combination of both.

Know approximately how many images you have.
Can the vendor use a selection of the images, or must they use them all.
Indicate if the images are in digital format or printed format.
If not, will you require them to be scanned by the vendor.
Do the images required editing (such as color enhancement, editing background).
How many of your images require editing.

What format do you have the text in now. (i.e. a Word document)
How much text will you have. (Is it captions for the photographs, quotations, dedications, or the entire book consists of text.

It is important as a client for you to convey any deadline for your project. In most cases this determines if and when a vendor can take on your project. Do not assume that because the vendor is a professional, your book can be completed in two days. Be sure to allow enough time for the designer to create a design for you to review and revise and deliver a polished finished product. Most vendors can and will work with you on your timeline but may need to charge you a “rush” fee if it falls outside of the normal time it takes to design the book.

Not all vendors offer additional services, but here are some to consider.

Additional Design Elements
Enhancing your book to complete your vision may require additional photography, illustration, or text. For example, you may wish to add quotes to the book, or customize a front cover. You may desire specialty design treatments, such unique backgrounds or typography. These things require additional time and services from the vendor.

Color profiling. This assures your images will get a truer contrast and more accurate color consistency in your printing. For most individuals, this is not a service you will require. Usually, a professional photographer wanting to assure absolute color consistency would use this process.

ISBN Code.Will you require as ISBN Code. If you are unsure if you need an ISBN code or not, please read my post. If you need an ISBN Code for your book, you can either do this yourself or ask if your vendor can perform this service for you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Picturia Press had the pleasure of working with noted artist, Jerry Gotkin on his latest project, a book of photography and artwork for Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Florida.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with an artist such as Jerry and his images were so beautiful it was actually difficult to choose from all of them! I wish all projects were challenging in that manner. The book is beautiful to view and is a wonderful tribute to the people who do such good work at Hospice by the Sea.

This is the first of several books Jerry is putting together to showcase his art and his talent and we look forward to being able to work with him on his next project.
Click here to view the book.