For months I have been engaged in a labor of love. Myakka River State Park: A Small Tribute is a project that began as a 20-page booklet first published at Blurb.com. The goal was simple: to share with others, through my pictures, the peace and beauty I have found over the years at Myakka Park. I printed several copies to give as gifts and the response was wonderful. I thought of selling the booklet via the Friends of Myakka gift shop, located in the ranger station at the Park. The response I received was heartening and a bit surprising. They suggested I take the book to the Park’s main gift shop. It seems the two gift shops have strict boundaries and what is carried in one shop cannot be displayed in the other. “The main gift shop gets much more traffic,” the volunteer explained, “And you can probably really sell a lot of these.”
Floating off to the gift shop I found manager and she definitely wanted to display the book. But there was a problem. As anyone knows who has created an online book, they are not necessarily cheap. It became clear very quickly that ordering more books through Blurb.com was not economical for the purpose of selling numerous copies to the public.
Back to the drawing board.
That was nine months ago. Like any gestation period, the product has gone through multiple and sometimes dramatic changes. It was logical that the book should become larger. It has expanded from 20 to 52 pages and the number of images has quadrupled from 20 to more than 90. Layout changed too, abandoning the small, square format to one that is more in keeping with publishing standards. I scoured the Internet for printers, gathered quotes and got my new, expanded book ready. In between I was working my regular 40-hour a week job and time ticked away. By the time I got everything ready to go it was the first of May.
I confidently sent the revised pages to the printer and that’s when I hit a huge glitch. The pages that I had created in the software program called Aperture were not working with the printer’s specifications and I discovered , to my horror, that Aperture is not very flexible. I could not make the small, necessary changes that the printer needed. I was forced to engage in a crash course of graphic design options, none of which looked easy or cheap. But there was no option. By mid-May I set my new course and got at it. The printer was very patient and helpful. I learned a lot, especially about the elegance of Adobe InDesign. And the beauty was that the book got stronger with each iteration. Typos were found and corrected, copy was re-written, photos were replaced or re-adjusted.
Remarkably it is now complete and in my hands. Now comes the hard part…making it sell.