KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Books

The story of Sectioned

by Anne-Marie Reeves , July 25, 20112 Comments

Self-publishing your first book can be a terrifying prospect, even when you know what you’re doing.

When I was a child I wrote a story about a polar bear, typed it up, added pictures, designed a cover and bound it into a rather crude-looking book. Little did I know that it was the precursor to a varied and interesting career in the world of books that has recently culminated in creating my own imprint and publishing my first book.

Twenty years ago I made my entry into the publishing industry. I’d dropped out of my science degree after spending much of my first year sitting in the library writing bad poetry and avoiding chemistry lectures. I’d chosen science but thought perhaps I really wanted to study the arts.

As the months rolled by, bringing no money and no direction, I finally decided to do something about this and grabbed a copy of the Yellow Pages, flicking through looking for industries in which I might like to work. The plan was to save up and put myself through university doing what I wanted to do – when I finally decided what that was.

My eyes paused at the heading ‘Publishing’. I loved reading. My mother, who worked in a library, brought home lots of interesting books for me all the time, but I’d never considered following in her footsteps. And until that moment I’d never given much thought to what publishing might involve. I mulled over the idea for a moment, then chose a publisher I’d heard of and typed a letter ‘to whom it may concern’ offering my services free for two weeks.

To my amazement, a letter arrived saying that if I was still keen, there were plenty of things this publisher could find for me to do and that I should make a time to drop in and have a chat. So I did.

Excited, I went to work and at the end of the second week I was told they were so impressed with my work that they would create a paid position for me. My career began in the marketing department because that’s where the most help was needed at the time. Very quickly I learned about the different departments that operate within a publishing house: editorial, rights, production, design, marketing, sales, accounts, customer service, distribution. Even better, the publisher allowed me to return to university part-time to do an arts degree.

It was during this time that I decided I’d really like to work in design. I’d studied graphic design at school, and I was teaching myself PageMaker and Photoshop in my new job. I designed catalogues, brochures, posters, point-of-sale items, postcards and advertisements, but I really wanted to design books because, like authors, designers put so much of themselves into their work. To my mind, it’s the next most intimate part of the process.

This desire was stifled for several years because I showed great skill at marketing books and my career kept getting pushed in that direction. After five years in my first job, I moved into other publishing roles. I worked as a marketing manager, then moved briefly into sales before returning to marketing and publicity. Then, a stint as deputy editor of a magazine was followed by a very brief period as a development editor. During those years I’d started to think maybe I wanted to be a publisher instead, but the desire to design books was still strong so I went back to university, where I studied graphic design. After this, I returned to publishing, working for several years as a book designer/studio manager before leaving to start my own book design business.

About a year ago I decided to make use of those years of experience and put into motion a dream I’d had nearly my entire publishing career: to have my own imprint, publish what I wanted to publish and not worry about relying on it to make a living – but hopefully make enough to publish the next project; to be motivated and creatively inspired, but also to explore ideas and work on projects that might not be commercially viable but were worth doing for their own sake.

My first book, Sectioned, is a limited edition photographic essay on the theme of mental illness. I had several hundred photographs that I had taken at a disused mental hospital two years ago as part of research for a novel manuscript. I hadn’t intended to do anything with them until I started sifting through and realised I could create a visual narrative of these atmospheric images, using this decaying group of buildings as a metaphor for the loss of identity and sense of abandonment felt by generations of people committed to asylums.

After choosing the images that best illustrated this, I decided on the format of the book. I designed the cover and internal text and set the images. I wrote a small spiel explaining the content of the book and created a mock-up that I showed to publishing colleagues, friends and family. They were impressed by the photographs and immediately understood what I was doing.

I registered a name for my imprint and opened a bank account. I designed a logo and whipped up a basic website for online selling. I applied for an ISBN and CIP data, and set a retail price. I received quotes from printers, tweaked the design and sent the files to print. Easy. I’d done it so many times before.

Then my stomach dropped. Would the proofs give an accurate indication of the final output? Should I not have chosen matte on black for the cover, knowing from years of experience that it scuffs easily, even though it was the look I wanted? Would the size be too small? Would the logo show on the spine? Would this be a complete waste of money? Was I mad?

Finally I received the advances. My heart was pounding, my hands shaking. I felt like I was about to jump off a cliff. There among the brown paper and bubble wrap were six little square copies of my newly printed book. Yes, it smelled good. It looked exactly how I’d hoped. The paper was the right weight, the finish on the cover was good, the colour reproduction was perfect. I was relieved; all the anxiety and worry dissipated.

The bulk of the stock arrived three weeks ago. In that time I’ve been revisiting my old sales, marketing and publicity skills. Copies have been stocked by some independent bookshops and an art gallery. I have sold some online and, as to be expected, my mother has been selling copies to many of her friends and colleagues.

So now I’ve come full circle. It’s too early to tell if this will be a success. I have a few advantages that other micro-publishers don’t, but ultimately it doesn’t matter whether it takes a year to sell, or ten. For me it’s about the love of creating books and using the variety of skills I have developed during my career to do what I enjoy most. And if others enjoy it too, then that’s a bonus.

Anne-Marie Reeves is the designer of Kill Your Darlings. Sectioned is published by Wolf & Owl. Visit www.wolfandowl.com for more information.

 




  • http://softech.uniquegadgets29.com/groups/how-to-get-rid-of-bed-bugs/ adt home security

    Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you
    download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Many thanks

    Also visit my web site – adt home security

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKI8uPZtqXc adt home security

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours as of late, yet I never discovered any interesting article
    like yours. It is beautiful price sufficient for me.
    In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you
    probably did, the web will be much more helpful than ever before.

    Feel free to surf to my page – adt home security

9864007066_4a196b364d_z

Tim Robertson

Fear, loathing, and the erosion of civil liberties

The hysteria currently being concocted by Australia’s political leaders is a smokescreen for the more serious threat facing everyone – an attack of the very freedoms and values our nation has been built on. Read more »

308982705_be9f94455b_b

Marika Sosnowski

Back inside: Life on the Syrian-Turkish border

In Turkey, less than 50 kilometres from the border, Syrians have chosen their favourite cafes, have opened Aleppine sweet shops and set up stores in the old city. Read more »

Frances Abbott

David Donaldson

Why #whitehousegate matters

A few days after the release of the budget, in which the Coalition government announced it was spreading the burden by increasing university fees, cutting school funding, and cutting welfare for young people comes a story that confirms what many already suspect to be the nature of opportunity: it’s much easier to come by if you’re born into privilege. Read more »

theartofasking_image

Julia Tulloh

Living on fans: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Rather than enticing people to pay for music through marketing campaigns and radio play, Amanda Palmer is interested in connecting with her fans, becoming friends with them, and creating a system of exchange within the community that is formed. This means that art is not often payed for with money. Read more »

womeninclothes-600

Carody Culver

Closet Concerns: Women in Clothes

Women in Clothes wants to tell a more inclusive story, to reveal the pleasures, hang-ups and complexities that reside in the simple act of dressing ourselves, and to remind us that we don’t perform our style rituals in a vacuum. Read more »

4285342-3x4-700x933

Kylie Maslen

The Harp in the South and other stories I wasn’t taught at school

The classics I studied at school were certainly great works, but how relevant are these books to young Australians? Yes, they were valuable to study as examples of technical skill. But they were all by men, all white and all dead. Read more »

theartofasking_image

Julia Tulloh

Living on fans: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Rather than enticing people to pay for music through marketing campaigns and radio play, Amanda Palmer is interested in connecting with her fans, becoming friends with them, and creating a system of exchange within the community that is formed. This means that art is not often payed for with money. Read more »

Taypic

Julia Tulloh

Lovers, haters, and TaySway’s 1989

TaySway is a polariser: haters really hate her. The issue for many feminists and critics is that they simply don’t like Taylor’s version of authenticity, which happens to be embodied by a blonde, white, straight, American women from a reasonably privileged background. Read more »

15115828030_526f79c515_z

Julia Tulloh

The celebrity spokesperson phenomenon

What should we expect celebrity advocates to deliver? Emma Watson is not a full-time activist, but if she inspires young people to take an interest in gender equality, is that not a good thing? Read more »

Screen-Shot-2014-10-01-at-11.22.21-AM

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Can too many parts destroy an adaptation? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

It’s a relief to feel the weight of fidelity lift off an adaptation film, as Mockingjay: Part 1 becomes a meta-exploration of fame, franchise and future. Read more »

Maps to the Stars

Rochelle Siemieonwicz

Monsters in Los Angeles: Maps to the Stars and Nightcrawler

Both Maps to the Stars and Nightcrawler are peopled by monsters who may look human, but are actually spiritually deformed and morally repugnant creatures of the most loathsome kind. The suggestion implicit in each of these thrillingly creepy stories is that these ‘freaks’ are born out of and adapted to the hellish spiritual landscape of LA. Read more »

WinterSleep-2-poster-450

Rochelle Siemienowicz

A matter of time: very long films

It’s a fatal moment for any film lover: that instant when you look away from the screen and check your watch, holding it up to the light to judge how much time is left before you can escape. A wince of pain as you realise there are still 40 minutes to go. Read more »

IMG_0086

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Pictures of pictures: Monument Valley and the rise of the in-game photographer

Presenting screencapturing a game as a form of camera-free ‘photography’ gives rise to a conceptual issue. If the ‘photographer’ is moving through, and capturing, a world created entirely by others, then who exactly should take the credit for any images created? Read more »

IMG_4309

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Patrons and gamemakers in the shadow of Gamergate

There is a lot to unpack about Gamergate, and a great deal more that isn’t at all worth taking seriously, but what the patronage pseudo-controversy has drawn attention to is the fact that there are potentially huge issues with moving to a model of monetary transactions in which our payments are increasingly networked and ‘social’. Read more »

ST_Ello_600

Connor Tomas O'Brien

The Rise of the High-Minded Startup

Ello’s manifesto is the key to understanding its relative success, and how it has managed to sign up hundreds of thousands of users despite offering a wafer-thin feature set. Read more »

00page

Danielle Binks

Disability or superpower? Deaf identity in YA

In September this year, American author and illustrator Cece Bell released a graphic memoir, El Deafo, about losing her hearing at the age of four. El Deafo details Bell’s middle-grade life and deaf experiences: she wears a clunky hearing aid, ‘The Phonic Ear’; struggles to learn to … Read more »

Anne of Green Gables

Danielle Binks

Books that take you there: YA literary tourism

How has literary tourism taken on new dimensions and greater capitalism, thanks to youth literature – both old and new, book and film? Read more »

9781863956925

Danielle Binks

Mean girls, bullies and private school privilege: Alice Pung’s Laurinda

Alice Pung’s Laurinda is hard-edged satire cloaked in contemporary YA: exploring class dynamics, everyday racism and bullying. Read more »

2530720_1332353117589.53res_500_400

Chad Parkhill

Mo money mo problems: The value of music in the age of streaming

While music streaming services have existed for a few years now – practically aeons in internet time – it is only recently that their impact on patterns of musical consumption and on musicians’ and labels’ revenues has truly begun to be felt. Read more »

2839965900_c23f818c97_z

Jane Howard

How many women composers? Classical music’s invisible women

After receiving yet another press release for a classical music concert, I tweeted an email I’d sent to the publicist asking why there were no women composers in the program. From then it became a regular task I set myself: when I received a music press release, I’d ask #howmanywomencomposers, and post the results on Twitter. Read more »

3827910256_89135334f0_z

Chad Parkhill

Who killed Amanda Palmer fandom?

Fans and consumers tend to avoid music made by people whose actions disagree with their moral compasses, and, conversely, to reward those whose actions align with them. But are they right to do so? Read more »

Marry Me - Season Pilot

Stephanie Van Schilt

Happy Hangovers and False Starts: Happy Endings and Marry Me

Binging rarely ends well. Binge eating is how unwanted food babies happen. Binge drinking is how inhibitions and memories are erased. Binge-watching a TV show can take over your life. Which is exactly what happened a few years ago when I fell in love with Happy Endings. … Read more »

thecode_main-620x349

Stephanie Van Schilt

An obligation to be kind? Australian TV critics and The Code

When Margaret Pomeranz recently spoke out about the obligation of local film critics to support the Australian film industry, she generated an interesting conversation in the critical community. Are critics who discuss the small screen in the public sphere obligated to be critically kind in their local coverage? Read more »

bojack-horseman-exclusive-trailer-debut_bghe

Stephanie Van Schilt

Jerks, antiheroes and failed adulthood in You’re The Worst and BoJack Horseman

In addition to both being really funny, two new US comedies – You’re The Worst and BoJack Horseman – speak to a widely-held fear about what, exactly, constitutes ‘adulthood’. Read more »