Advertisement

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

monroe

James Tierney

Survival and Contradiction: Jacqueline Rose’s Women in Dark Times

This book’s most impressive trick is in the way it pulls together seemingly disparate figures. In this fierce, insightful and wide-ranging collection, Jacqueline Rose calls for nothing less than a reformulation of feminism. Read more »

Clive-James-typical-mix-o-014

Cosima McGrath

The Unreliable Truth of Clive James

Some authors hermit themselves away and are unknowable to the public except through their writing. Clive James, on the other hand, carries his own spotlight. Read more »

9781926428659

James Tierney

Converting the Nonbeliever: Science fiction, climate change, and James Bradley’s Clade

For most of my reading life, I passed right over the fantasy and science fiction genres. As far as I was concerned, The Lord of the Rings was a decent doorstop, Dune was a prime spot on the beach from which to check out the swell, and 2001 meant only a year of once-distant promise, and now spiralling dread. Read more »

article-2301242-18FA52E4000005DC-314_470x763

Rebecca Shaw

An Inconvenient Truth: Social stigma and menstruation

If you have heard of menstruation, you would know that it is an essential process in a little tiny thing called the EXISTENCE AND CONTINUATION OF HUMAN LIFE, and it is something that most (not all) women experience for about five days every month for a large part of their lives. It is a topic (besides shopping, lol) that women think about frequently. Read more »

fx-2015-winter-tcajpeg-069cb_c0-146-3500-2186_s561x327

Rebecca Shaw

Billy, Don’t Be a Homophobe

As a non-heterosexual person who has lived my entire life in a heteronormative world, I have a finely tuned antenna for homophobia. Loaded terms, like those used recently by Billy Crystal, are becoming more common, as it becomes less acceptable to state openly that you get an icky feeling when you see two people of the same sex kiss. Read more »

B5QJwMhIYAAfjxG

Rebecca Shaw

A Tale of Two Penises: Double Dick Dude and the invisibility of male bisexuality

For the past year I have found myself fascinated by penises. If I’d been to the races, I would have created a monstrous dick fascinator to wear as a beautiful physical representation of my mental state. But let me be clear, I have not been captivated with all or even many penises. My fascination has solely been aimed at the two penises owned by the man known only as ‘Diphallic Dude’, or more casually ‘DoubleDickDude’. Read more »

girlwalkshomealoneatnight

Anwen Crawford

Bad Cities

A Most Violent Year has an atmosphere of all-pervading dread, like a film noir, as if the polluted air of New York itself was causing people to act against their better intentions. Even more haunting and more noir is A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, a memorably audacious debut feature from American-Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour. Read more »

cdn.indiewire

Kate Middleton

On the Trail: Wild and the voyage of the modern woman

Strayed articulates the question that drives so many pilgrimage narratives: ‘What if I forgive myself?’ That same question perhaps suggests why female-driven journeys are resonating with audiences now: self-reliance and the abandonment of a conventional life have long been male-dominated themes. Read more »

Film Review Selma

Anwen Crawford

An Urgent and Motivating Anger: The politics of Selma

How to approach a figure with the reputation of a secular saint? One achievement of Selma – and it is a film of many achievements – is to reanimate King as a living, breathing man; a man of politics, strategy, and absolute, underlying resolve. Read more »

video-undefined-22D54AFA00000578-784_636x358

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Insufferable assholes and grown up Girls

Yes, our girls are growing, learning, discovering. But all they’re really discovering is how toxic and unheroic they are, and how to use that to their advantage. They’re not going to grow out of their asshole tendencies, because they are actually assholes. Read more »

agent-carter-7683

Danielle Binks

Agent Carter and the future of the female superhero

Agent Carter has been described ‘a Triumph for Women, Marvel and TV,’ and heralded as an important new chapter in comics culture. If this supposedly groundbreaking new show fails, does it spell doom for the future of female-led superhero franchises? Read more »

39154_4f8f076801b89b442752af76ac226fc0

Anwen Crawford

Satire and Scandal: Revisiting Frontline

Frontline’s makers could not have anticipated the long, web-based afterlife of their creation, though they might not be surprised that their targets – the rampant egotism and moral hypocrisies of tabloid journalism – remain just as current. Read more »

ss_f6a450fbf737eb04c58b973f72e8817bb2b50285.600x338

Katie Williams

Brain Candy: Are game jams diluting the potential of video games?

In a world where YouTube gameplay videos narrated by hollering amateurs hold as much clout – if not more – than professional game critics, I worry that developers may be swayed to choose an easier, unimaginative, and more vacuous path to success. Read more »

cher_horowitz_closet-010_2

Katie Williams

Fashion Forward: How hidden algorithms are dressing up technology

Though we increasingly rely on technology to simplify our lives, we still want to believe that behind the scenes is a happy, human face, rather than an impassive machine that does the dirty work for us. Read more »

wowx5-artwork-012-full

Katie Williams

Killing Monsters and Making Memories: How virtual worlds facilitate communication

When I hang out with my brother, we joke, make fun of each other, and swap stories about mutual friends. Sometimes, we’ll each pack a bag of stat-enhancing potions and go out to kill large monsters. It’s been well over a year since I saw my brother in the flesh – but thanks to World of Warcraft, I interact with him on a daily basis. Read more »

Before Us_3

Jane Howard

Stuart Bowden’s Unfamiliar, Universal Worlds

It’s hard to classify the work of Stuart Bowden. His one-person storytelling theatre works are at once hilarious and melancholy. They exist in a particular space of fringe theatre: intricately crafted stories built for small rooms & small audiences, they lift and rise that audience, gathering us all up in the magic of stories & the closeness they can breed. Read more »

The-Rabbits-2015-1280x470

Jane Howard

Thinking Outside the Box Seats: The future of Australian opera and musical theatre

If we want to see new work and innovation grow in opera and musical theatre, we need to consider how they might develop within our culture. Read more »

MovingMusicAndreCastellucci1

Jane Howard

The (Sometimes) Beauty of Being Alone at the Theatre

I often go to the theatre on my own. One of the great joys of writing reviews is that even when I attend productions solo, I still get to talk (write) about them at length after the fact. Seeing theatre is a wonderful activity to do unaccompanied, because as soon as the performance starts, everyone is alone in some way. Read more »