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A few notes on self-publishing my new photography book – This Land

Posted on Aug 4, 2017

A few years ago I finished a project looking at cowboys and the landscape of the American west. I’d always envisaged getting the work published as a book with a mainstream publisher, but time, resources and the odd rejection letter got the better of me so I decided to put it on the back burner for a while. However, during the last few years I’ve seen a great boom in the self-publishing scene where photographers and artists are producing books and small publications relatively cheaply, and crucially finding a broad and receptive audience to show their work.

The benefits of self-publishing are obvious. The artist has complete control over just about every aspect of the book; the edit, design, layout, stock and text. Everything is their decision and that’s what makes it so appealing. I decided now was the perfect time to self-publish my book ‘This Land – Cowboys and the Landscape of the American West’.

Once my decision was made the rest wasn’t really quite as difficult as I imagined it would be. Having seen many publications over the years, I already had a very basic idea of what I wanted the book look like. So, my first task was to find a printer. I wanted someone who understood my ideas and was willing to work within a relatively tight budget but who was flexible enough to give me the same time and resources as someone wanting a high end body of work. I went to see Pressision Printers in Leeds and was extremely impressed with their attitude, quality of work and importantly their desire to work with a more creative clientele working on a relatively small print run. My decision was made. During my initial meeting we went through all the aspects of production, from the book size, paper type and weight to the method of printing. Many of these aspects were decided by budget restrictions but at the end of a couple of meetings where various different connotations were thrashed out we agreed the following details:

240 x 170mm.
Printing – Offset
112 pages on 150gsm Munken Polar Smooth Crisp White by G.F Smith.
Cover on 350gsm Colorplan Adriatic by G.F Smith.
4 different wraps.
Exposed section sewn binding.
Copies – 300

I then teamed up with a fantastic book designer Daniel Benneworth-Gray who came up with the design, layout & type.
After one or two amends, re-edits and various changes of mind here and there Daniel came up with the final design. Before going to print I had the option for an offset proof, but as the cost would have been too prohibitive I went for less expensive option of a digital proof instead. They aren’t quite as accurate but will give a reasonable likeness to the finished product. Again, after seeing the proofs I made a couple of small amends and signed it off for print. It took about three weeks from submitting the final design to the printers to receiving the books. A very nervous trip to pick up the books followed, but of course I was chuffed to bits with the result. Now comes the tricky part – now the book is printed and I have several heavy boxes cluttering up the spare room, I have to sell them. Hopefully that shouldn’t take too long!
You can buy the book here or you can take a trip to Colours May Vary in Leeds where the book and accompanying exhibition is currently on show until the end of August.



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