Friday, 6 June 2014

Part 01: Mili Fay Chooses A Printing Company

Date: March 19, 2013
Reposted From: Mili Fay: An Artist's Struggle To Success

"Animals In My Hair", my first picture book, the one I have spent years working on between other jobs is finally ready for printing!

What now?

You will be amazed by all the things you need to know before you can print a book.  Thankfully, my sister found a self-help book, "Self-Publishing In Canada" by Suzanne Anderson, that gave me (what I pray) is all the information I need.

(When I was researching publishing, I found a lot of books on US publishing, but the one above is the only one I found that deals with Canada specifically.  I'm publishing in Canada, so it is helping tremendously.)

My adventures in publishing began the moment I finished all the illustrations, printed and bound a miniature version of my book.

"Why did you make a miniature version of your book?" you ask.

Because, I wanted to work out any problems the book may have before it goes to printing.

It is a very good thing I did so, because the next step--getting the ISBN number--asks a lot of question that you need to answer before the government issues a free ISBN number to you.  (You can find all the ISBN information you need at The Canadian ISBN Service System.)

After getting my ISBN number, my next step was to find a printer.

I wanted to have my book printed in Canada, so I searched all the printing companies in Canada.  Again, there were many questions to answer, half of which I had no idea what they were asking about, but research and some very helpful people came to my rescue.

Some companies were quick to respond to my request for a quote.  Some said they will give me a quote soon, but appear to have forgotten about me.  A bunch did not even respond with the simple courtesy e-mail that lets me know they have received my information.

Guess which companies I liked?

Another thing that surprised me is the cost of printing a book in Canada, as well as the lack of traditional hard cover binding.  There were so many printing companies out there that only offered binding of the kind you can find at your local Staples.

As any other publisher I need to have my book printed at the lowest cost possible, with the highest quality possible.  The quality of my book is not negotiable, because if Mili Fay Art stands for anything it is the quality of the current and future products.  If I do not want to have something on my shelf, or wall, why should I expect anyone else to want it?

Another reason I need the lowest cost possible is because I want to use my artwork to help worthy causes.  This book is intended to help wildlife conservation efforts by raising funds for the Toronto Zoo.  (I thought about raising funds for WWF, but they already have so many donors, I figured I can make more impact locally.)  After reading the report sent to me by the Toronto Zoo (I am a proud member), and realizing that they are desperate for non-government funds, I've decided to make them the beneficiary of "Animals In My Hair."  Therefore, if the cost of a single book is too high, I will not be able to raise a substantial amount of money after paying back my loans.  I'm also wondering how much retail stores will charge to carry my book...

At this time, I'm thinking of donating 30% of the profits, with the possibility of the percentage increasing with the subsequent editions.

Lower unit cost also makes for a lower final price, and I want my picture books to be affordable for the average consumer.

Above are just some of the reasons why I decided to self-publish this book.  If I went with the traditional publisher, I doubt that I could raise enough money to purchase a box of raisins.

So, to get back to printing.

I've never had so many e-mails in a single day.  I kept trying to learn as much as I could about all the printing companies so that I could pick the best one.  In the end, one of them clearly stood out.

I chose Sure Print & Design.  Their price is not as low as I expected, but for the quality they are promising I find it highly reasonable.  They promptly responded to my e-mails, patiently explained all the things a seasoned publisher would know, and made me feel as if they would value my business.  (It also does not hurt that they are a 30 min drive away from my location, so that I can save on shipping costs.)

After having my loan approved, and feeling comfortable with my contact, I decided to stop waiting for further quotes and get on with the business.

I was excited.  In a day I would hand my book in and have it printed!


Now that I have the unit price, and can therefore calculate how much I'm going to charge/book, I need to sign up for the Cataloguing In Publication (CIP).  I need this legal information to be printed on the copyright page of my book.  To my dismay, that will take 10 business days, which means that I will not be able to send my book for printing until April 4th 2013 earliest, pushing the date of holding my book in my hands to sometime in late May or early June.

However, this may be a good thing.  It gives me two weeks to perfect my layout for the printing company.

Now, I'm going to reexamine copyright.

Wonderful thing about Canada is that if you've created it, you have the copyright.  No need to register.  Reading their page, it sounds as if you really do not need to register, because they are not going to fight for you rights if you register with them.  After all, what does one need to prove copyright?  No one can take my book away from me, because I have all the original artwork and drafts dating back to 2008.

However, I may just pay that $75 to keep it neat and tidy in my records.  Maybe.

More "Mili Fay's Adventures In Publishing" to come.  Until then...


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