I think I'd like to spend some time today talking about production. The creative aspects of the business are great, that's why we get into these picture books in the first place. Getting these stories into an actual book has required nearly as much planning and work as creating them in the first place. I've been thinking about how best to collect my first book of Public Education. I'm hoping that it will be ready around the end of this summer, just in time to sell to teachers as we come back to work. To help me make the best decisions on this book, I've been going over the harder parts of producing my last book Mera.
I've said many times before how I think Mera was a hard story to start my self publishing career with, and now I'm going to complain a little more. The fact that Mera comes with a cd makes distributing the book much more time consuming and closes a lot of revenue streams. Completely discounting the time it took to record the songs onto a cd, I have to have every copy of the book sent to me. Burn discs for each one and then affix them to the back. Then mail this package back out when an order comes in.
Not that any one thing is too time consuming, but I had to find ways to make this work. In fact I'm still making this work as I just completed assembling book 70 of my 100 print run. It's definitely down to more of a science than when I started. The original markers I was using on the cd's rubbed off, cheaper Sharpie markers were the way to go. Glue wouldn't hold cd sleeves on the glossy finish of the back cover, double sided tape wouldn't hold on as the cover bent. I had to find these little adhesives called Sticky Squares before I felt I had an adequate solution. I've now used up all my excess cd sleeves, and my next challenge is to find the cheapest avenue for aquiring more of those.
With the book needing a cd attatched I can't sell the books directly from Lulu or Amazon. Not that I think this would make my sales sky rocket, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. The Public Education collection is going to have extras in addition to the comics, but everything is going to be a part of the book. No doodads or trinkets to leave me fussing over months after the book has been printed.
Sorry if this Comic Curve sounds negative. Mera was a great experience, and I don't honestly think I would have changed much about how it works with the music. I'm just greatful that my next idea for a book is going to be a little more straight forward, and I'll be much more prepared when I want to try my next music strip.