Sorry for any errors on the tips & how to pages. I'm doing this fast.
I'm making this page for everyone. You might be a big publisher, or a writer / editor. You might be a former agent who lost your Manhattan office, or a digital desktop designer who might want to get into publishing books.
Because of self-publishing, the smaller you are, especially if you're a one-man operation, the sooner you can decide to get into all this and begin partnering with artists and other people. You might already know other talents to partner with. Look into the conditions included in what I call #valzubiriagenda, experiment, get everything down to a manageable science. If you don't profit at the beginning, try again. If you give up, you would at least have helped one or two artists to go up one level in life.
I had this "duh, I should have known that years ago" moment at Book Expo America, when a publisher of art books casually told me that they publish copyright free images of art by long-dead famous artists. This can still be done, but there are lesser bookstores now.
I am proposing that we all publish living artists who have yet to become commercially viable in our vicinity, or within our manageable reach, local to global, now that print on demand is possible.
You can come up with books featuring one or more artists. It's all fair game. However, no standards have been set. I would think that while this is a fairly new idea for promoting artists, I would suggest you either expand to sell art or partner with a gallery to sell art. You probably used to come to a gallery for artists to publish. This time, make your own rules! Don't just depend on book sales while the gallery makes the millions from selling original art!
If you discover the artists yourself, you can have some of their art to dispose of for your own profit. You can come up with a series of books based on a theme.
You've made people famous for their writing, and you know how to write and make books. You already have skills. Instead of making a few cents per book and selling a million copies, you make the books, use print on demand, and make a lot of money from a few pieces of art.
I was at Book Expo America in Washington, DC, in 2006, when Lulu.com announced that they made $10 million dollars from self-published authors, up from $1 million dollars the year before. Some time later, I went to a large gallery that occupied at least three store fronts. I explained to the lady the latest trend in publishing, and that she can probably produce a few art books, credited to her name and her gallery, if she published all the art in the gallery.
She said one sentence that struck me like lightning: "That just sounds like too much work." Her gallery closed by the time I returned to walk around that suburb.
Once again, this happened at BEA. The game board printer from China told me something I made sure to remember, just in case I had an idea for a game: He said his factory will entertain all game board jobs as long as the final product includes at least 51% paper. He said his company will take charge of coordinating with other makers for other game pieces that are not made of paper--wood, metal or plastic. All he needs is the prototype, he knows companies which will produce the non-paper components, he will propose a wholesale price and ship everything in the end.
What I want to say is, if you used to depend on book sales for 100% of your earnings, ease into bartering for original art and publishing new artists. Save on the cash advance. If your budget used to be for promoting a book title, use the same budget to directly sell original art for a premium. Make it a publisher's, writer's, editor's, book designer's and professional photographer's market. It's all fair game. Anyone can take charge. Your prestige and ability to package and produce books have worth to an unknown but soon to be great artist.
When you make press packets, or press kits, you sometimes mention the budget you will spend for promoting the books. You know this factors in the decision of the booksellers. You know booksellers don't even need to read the books, they trust that if you will have such a bigger budget for a writer, the trust translates into the trust of the readers. You have a budget for newspaper ads, billboards and postcards--all this to sell copies of the book. You can spend less convincing a few art collectors and investors.
You can almost tell that investors and collectors will trust you. If you publish the memoirs, biographies, artistic essays of artists, and even those of investors and collectors, more investors and collectors will buy the books and even the art that the artist bartered with you. Don't think this might be tasteless. I'm already saying this might and will happen. You're riding a trend.
When a book gets published, you prefer that the author already have a little fame. President Obama has to be a president first before you take over to publish a book. A business book author should already be successful in business. This is like profiting from the second tier.
Big publishers also only entertain agents. It sounds as if you want all the limitations and restrictions in place just to produce a book. Now, Amazon.com and other online booksellers have taken charge of the fate of big publishers. Seriously, if only you married Jeff Bezos, you should have seen this coming. Basically, not marrying Jeff Bezos cost you a lot. An established writer once gave me the email of an agent. By the time tried to get in touch with her, she had to close her Manhattan agency and she was nowhere to be found. Now, Amazon.com's CreateSpace.com has taken over self-publishing.
This happened twice when I passed by the print on demand printers at BEA before 2006, in separate years. I overheard the same comment: "I can't imagine making money from just printing one copy of a book at a time." This was when the BEA directory of exhibitors was thick. Everyone did not see the decline of the book industry coming. As a programmer, I have also seen a disconnect with programming books. Publishing has not caught up with the constant change in programming and software versions. E-readers are everywhere, but it is difficult to look for the exact page a programmer needs to look at. It is also difficult to memorize what needs to be memorized using e-readers.
When I made a one-shot publication in 2009, I asked publishers of business leadership books to send me some evaluation copies that I can include in the publication. I kept in touch with a few contacts. I learned that some big publishers have decided not to participate in Book Expo America anymore, because it had become less profitable to participate.
When BEA came back to Chicago in 2016, its attendance was thinned down. The show's directory had less pages. We may never see the book industry as it once was in the 90s and earlier.
A friend of mine joked about the book industry. He said, "What's wrong with the book industry? If only they followed the advice in their own books. Also, if the bookstore employees read the business and leadership books they sold, they wouldn't be there for a long time. Now the stores have closed, they don't have the chance to read the books anymore."
We can make print on demand publishing work for us, and at the same time, look into acquiring art that can be collected and resold, by helping unknown artists come up with their books. The more established artists might have more conditions in place.
My contention now, is that while you used to give a $5,000 advance to 1 to 20 unknown writers, whom you hope would produce bestselling books, you can now barter with artists who can exchange 1, 5, 10 or even more works with your company in exchange for producing high quality art books and memoirs. You can look into the possibility of reselling the art pieces for a lot more profit than the sale of the books themselves. Maybe this will become a stable business approach, but even if this only becomes a temporary trend, we are still hoping it is profitable right now.
A lot of publishers, editors and writers are known art collectors. You already have art experience, exposure and tastes. You already spend a lot of free time and money at the art shows, all you need to do now is look at it as part of your current businesses. Don't care if you stop getting uninvited to the art openings. Look for your own unknown artists and publish them.
You know online stores took over brick and mortar. There was a year when you were praising Amazon.com for providing a new outlet for your books. Then you were cursing Amazon.com for lowering the prices of the books. You were surprised to see that Amazon.com allowed readers to compete with publishers by allowing the readers to resell their used books.
A few years ago, hollywood agents also got into representing visual artists and matching them with filmmakers and other influencers in Hollywood. They say this is new territory.
I'm encouraging both small and big publishers, editors and writers to look into helping and publishing unknown artists. End up with a collection of their art. Take over the business of art, just like others took over your business of publishing. It's all fair game. It might just be a temporary trend, but if you get in early, you'll profit from it. If it's more than just a trend, then you have begun to establish yourself.
When the music industry lost sales from cds because of free file sharing, they made money by having more live concerts. They adjusted. So I'm suggesting that people in the publishing industry discover visual artists whose art can become bestsellers. The book becomes a necessity and part of the prestige, but majority of profits just might come from original art.
Did you ever notice that as bookstores have been closing, there are still some comic book stores open and thriving? Now, there are movies and tv shows based on comic books and superheroes. There's something to be learned from here. The comic book publishers produced their own fictional celebrities. They had full control over them. Meanwhile, the rest of the huge publishers will expertly tell would-be writers they will "only deal with agents" for publishing one or two books.
My sister is a writer and editor, while my brother-in-law is a book designer who also takes charge of the printing orders. The reason they keep thriving is that they partner with huge corporations to be in charge of their coffee table books. They are in business, and are okay, even though they don't always produce coffee table books for publishing houses. They had adapted.
If you want to publish artists, make your own rules. This is all new territory. You need to make sure you make a profit for your company.
You can require one or more works of the artist in exchange for your input. You might discover that bartering your publishing skills for art would be the most profitable. You might partner with investors who also have something at stake with the same artists.
This is similar to the story of the ant and the grasshopper. I'm from the Philippines, all kids learn about this story. There once were two friends, a monkey and a turtle. They were walking by the bank of a river, when they saw a banana tree floating. The turtle swam to bring it to where the monkey was. The monkey, thinking he was the smarter one, proposed to split the tree in half. He chose the top part because it had bananas and gave the lower half to the turtle, who planted the tree. Months later, the lower half grew and produced new fruit. The monkey came to the turtle, and volunteered to climb up the tree to pic the bananas for them both. Once up on the tree, he ate the bananas and threw the peels at the turtle. The turtle, angry, planted thorns at the base of the banana tree. As the monkey climbed down, he got pierced. Angry at the turtle, he chased the turtle, who went into the river to swim away. The monkey chased the turtle, forgetting he didn't know how to swim. He drowned. The turtle lived.
I just want to say that we all make decisions for ourselves because we think they are the best recourse. Economies, businesses and individuals don't fail because people set out with the intention to fail. Couples don't marry with the intention to separate. Friends don't partner with the intention to fight. We all want to succeed. I hope we all do. If you are one of the people in the publishing industry that I had interacted with, and that I still care about, I hope and pray you succeed. The best I can give you, right now, are my prayers, hopes, good intentions and this idea of art and publishing.