Thursday, November 06, 2008

Business Day Thursday: Publishing In Paradise - Publishing Your Own Travel Book

Good Morning Everybody,
Last week I received an email from one of our DPT readers asking if I had any advice on a book publishing idea she wanted to pursue. Here's the deal. She and her husband own a villa in Italy - lucky dudes - and she wanted to approach the other owners in the area about doing a project to feature the beautiful surrounds, flavor and locale in Italy. The end result being that the villa owners would want a copy of the book for themselves but she wasn't quite sure how much to charge.

Let me say, right off the bat, that I am not a book publisher and have little experience in that department, but I put on my "thinking cap" and here is what I came up with.

If I was the villa owner and came up with that idea, this would be my plan.

1. I love taking lots of images when I travel - somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000/week. I would plan a week at my villa shooting the villa and villas, the locale, the people, sunsets, sunrises, colors, scenery, markets, close ups, anything that moved and didn't move. But I would want this to be more than just snap shot vacation pics . I'd want to add a sense of impact to the entire series. It's easy to take a picture, it's much more difficult to get that great image. Anyway, keep working at it. Early morning and late afternoon allows for the best light.

2. Load those images up in Lightroom, edit for the best, strongest, most impacting 100 images. Tweak where necessary and be sure to slide that "Vibrancy" slide about 50% to the right.

3. Select who you want to publish your book - Blurb is a big favorite. Their quality is good and they will even resell your book for you on-line at their bookstore - here is the Blurb link. Another publishing service is offered by My Publisher [link]. These guys have been around a while, actually one of the first on the block. And yes, they do a good job too. Unfortunately, they don't quite have a cool bookstore like Blurb provides. The third, and currently the "Editor's Choice", according to PC Magazine, is [link]. These guys are at the top of the heap with the huge variety of products and service they offer for the self publisher. They also have an amazing robust way to promote your products too.

4. PC Magazine has an article entitled, "10 Tools For Your Best Seller." It's a great read and lists several other resources as well. Check it out if contemplating such a project. Here is the article link.

5. Decide what you want to sell it for. These books typically cost from $16 to $26 depending on hardcover or soft cover versions for a 20 page 8.5x11 inch book. I think I would be looking at a minimal 50-100% markup and would plan to sell it directly on line through say the store. I would then be promoting the book to all my villa owners through any means possible to get the word out. Heck, maybe even a villa neighborhood book signing with a limited number of books on hand. Perhaps suggest that the Villa owners provide a copy for any weekly renters that use their homes. As I said, additional copies should be available and purchased on-line.

6. Now book your next vacation to Cabo San Lucas, shoot some great pictures, publish your book, and write if off - I hope the IRS isn't reading this right now ;~) Good luck on your new project.

Anyway, those are my quick thoughts on the subject. Anybody got any more - why not leave them in the comments section below.

Hey everybody, that's about it for me today. We have another double header this weekend and I'm meeting with one of the clients shortly. See everybody tomorrow for Gear Bag Friday: The Long Reaching Canon 70-300mm DO IS Lens. Adios, -David


  1. Predict the future. Do everything David says, AND, also put it into the digital format so people can view it on DVD. Put some music in the background, and have it playing on the big screen.
    Good practice for what we envision is the direction of photography in the future.

  2. David,

    I'm working with this company to publish a coffee table book. Each project is different, but the books shown on this page cost $10 - 12 apiece in multiple copies.

    Most of their books are pre-sold before publishing the book, that's how they keep the cost down. Don't know how much a single copy or two would cost though.

  3. David, you are so super nice to have put this on your website. I am so grateful to you and the already 2 more comments given. Very helpful. My project, by the way, is for Villas on Virgin Gorda, BVI, although I could easily extend it to Italy, where we "dudes" are having the tough life of spending so much time. Thank you all!

  4. Oh, one more point. My big quandary is to determine how much to charge a villa owner to produce his/her photo book, so that the villa owner can use the book to either promote their villa (for rent) or give as a gift to clients, who stay there, and/or friends and relatives!