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.

 




2 thoughts on “The story of Sectioned

  1. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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 »

9781863956932

Carody Culver

Charmless lives: Helen Garner’s This House of Grief and Erik Jensen’s Acute Misfortune

How do narrative non-fiction writers who dare to dissect the darker aspects of humanity keep their readers engaged, rather than simply horrified? Read more »

KrissyKneen_credit_DarrenJames

Carody Culver

‘As if the top of my head were taken off’: The digital possibilities of poetry

‘When Emily Dickinson says, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” I can’t help but think she would be stupefied by the possibilities of digital literature.’ Read more »

tumblr_n9hftkebsr1tfwx0xo1_1280

S.A. Jones

‘Fool the Axis, Use Prophylaxis’: World War II’s anti-venereal disease posters

Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II gives a fascinating insight into one of the ways the United States ‘managed’ servicemen’s sexuality: through poster art. 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 »

Clara and Doctor

Julia Tulloh

Doctor Who’s gender dynamics: a mid-season evaluation

In some ways, Peter Capaldi was a problematic choice for the newest regeneration of Doctor Who. How on earth were the producers going to pull off a successful friendship between a middle-aged man and a twenty-something woman, without it seeming at best patriarchal and at worst creepy? Read more »

blue-ombr-speckle-liner

Julia Tulloh

From the outside in: the beauty vlogger phenomenon

A current cohort of beauty bloggers are helping to break down distinctions between internal and external expressions of self in ways that allow them to generate new ideas of beauty on their own terms, rather than according to society’s expectations of what women (or men) should look like. Read more »

Whiplash-Damien-Chazelle

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Whiplash: bloody fingers and broken drumsticks

Whiplash is one of the year’s most exciting and electrically charged films. Admittedly, that’s a large claim to make for a little movie about a New York music student, his abrasive teacher, and a whole lot of banging and yelling in band practice. Read more »

Gone-Girl-Ben-Affleck-Rosamund-Pike-Entertainment-Weekly-cover

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Marital Crises: Gone Girl and Force Majeure

You can share your body, your bed, your bank account, and even your toothbrush, with another human being. But each mind contains a private world that can never be fully understood or examined, let alone shared with another. Read more »

theskeletontwins1

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Suicide, Laughter and The Skeleton Twins

Even the best parents can inflict some form of lifelong damage upon their children. But when parents are outright mad, bad or dangerous – or in the case of the funny, bittersweet comic drama The Skeleton Twins, so depressed they commit suicide – the damage can feel impossible to bear, even decades down the track. 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 »

6289302147_38e8035680_z

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Jacqui Lambie and the limits of Remix Culture

The combination of Google Image Search, Photoshop, and Facebook is a powerful one, providing web users with the ability to seek out swaths of copyrighted visual material, rip and manipulate these pictures so the original source is obscured, then share the freshly “remixed” images to a broad audience with no real fear of legal action. Read more »

Streisand_Estate

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Don’t Look: The emergence of Streisand criticism

In the wake of the recent nude celebrity photo leak, I noticed something strange about the ways different publications skewed their coverage. Tabloid-style publications tended to be honest about their motives. The behaviour of left-leaning broadsheet-style outlets, however, was more complex. Read more »

9780062211194

Danielle Binks

Nepotism, bullying and stalking: When online reviews go bad

The tangible power author Kathleen Hale wields, evinced by her numerous connections and Guardian platform, enabled her continued harassment of her book’s 1-star reviewer. The vocal support and defence put forward by Hale’s influential friends and family appears to be a case of privilege feeding narcissism. Read more »

nonaandme

Danielle Binks

Race, growing up and Nona and Me

Nona & Me beautifully explores female friendship amid cultural and political upheaval. It’s a tender portrayal of two girls who have so much in common, but are worlds apart. Read more »

7183815590_de3f64bca6_z

Danielle Binks

‘YA-bashing’: sexism meets elitism

Another month, another critic who doesn’t read YA literature but still feels superior enough to dictate to those who do. And with this latest instalment of ‘YA bashing’ comes critique of the critics – as many start pointing to a patriarchal undercurrent that runs beneath such articles that claim young adult and children’s fiction is unworthy. Read more »

PEREZ_3©yann_morrison-546x364

Chad Parkhill

The not-so-universal language of mankind

Music is, demonstrably, not the universal language of mankind: if that were the case I could make myself understood in Paris’s cafés and boulangeries by carrying around an iPod full of songs titled ‘A Coffee, Please’ or ‘A Baguette With Duck Rillettes To Go, Thanks’. Read more »

homepage_large.9419e472

Chad Parkhill

The music of exhaustion

The War on Drugs new album Lost in the Dream is the startling sound of exhaustion – both a personal exhaustion and a broader cultural exhaustion – transformed into art that is thrillingly and paradoxically vital. Read more »

free-u2-album-on-itunes

Chad Parkhill

The Perpetual Undeath of Rock

 ‘Hey hey, my my, rock and roll can never die.’ Depending on your own tastes and cognitive biases, Neil Young’s famous lyric will now seem more prophetic than ever before – or profoundly misguided. Last week saw the release of U2’s Songs of Innocence in what Apple … 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 »

images

Stephanie Van Schilt

How To Talk Australians and the rise of web series

How To Talk Australians has deservedly garnered widespread praise both locally and internationally. With close to two million views worldwide, it could be deemed our first truly successful locally-produced web series. Read more »

please-like-me

Stephanie Van Schilt

Mental illness and Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me

While the jury is still out on the success of Please Like Me’s efforts to address ideas around mental health, the discussions both its seasons have provoked and continue to encourage are incredibly important. That, I definitely like. Read more »