Two weeks ago I wrote about my book project, the one i’m currently writing about my travel. (Joachimesque : 360in372 in English)
This article lead to a great deal of positive feedback from you all, and showed me that all the work I’m doing around my trip will find readers. I could also have very interesting discussions with people who work in the publishing industry, and who could help me on safer ways to get my book published.
a very, very ambitious project
760 pages is a lot. Such a book would measure 25 × 25 × 5cm, and wheigh about six pounds. It would cost 60€ at least to produce, which would lead the price to be as high as 100€ by a conservative estimate. Counting my parents, all my extended family and my friends, I think I could sell five of these books… and when you know that a printer has a lower limit of 500 books per batch, I would have 495 volumes to stock at my place. And think of how to finance it. Getting 30,000 euros out of my bank account is not possible unless I want to owe my bank 29,983 € (30k€ is twice the price of my trip — if I had this kind of money readily available, I wouldn’t print a book, I’d go back on the road!)
So yeah, I had to re-think my approach to this project. After all, they say that people who are right most of the time are people who change their opinions a lot…
an ambitious project, but slightly less so
While discussing with my family, friends, previous micro-sponsors who want to continue their support or new enthousiasts, I could get a more precise vision of my book project.
First off, I need to cut the number of pages. All the people with which I discussed would like to see lots of pictures, read all of my journal entries and know everything else about the trip. At the same time, the book must not be so big and cumbersome. And not too expensive, too. And so I decided to keep a third of the days of my trip.
By drastically cutting down the quantity of pages, I’ll have to select only the most interesting days. I don’t want to cut blindly two days out of three ; the days I’ll select will be the richest days, with more photos/texts/adventures and things relevant to that point in my travel.
The book will show about 120 days, which makes about 260 pages (counting the appendices, intros…). It will be way easier to think about self-publishing it, and finance it through crowdfunding (KissKissBankBank, Ulule or KickStarter), because it would cost me only around 10k Euros. Moreover, it would be quite easier to show it to a publisher with the idea of co-publishing it.
But! I hear your say, I want to see everything that happened to you! Your book won’t contain it all! Booh!
Don’t despair, cherished reader. There’ll be more to the book than just the book. There’ll be another dimension, which you’ll access through digital means, like your Interweb Compy or your ePhone. I’ll get all the travel archive available on the Internet for you to gorge on.
the digital dimension
I plan to make a website accessible with big computers along with small smartphones and tablets, and I’m also thinking of creating ePub and PDF versions of the book (more practical in the train or the plane when there’s no WiFi signal).
Of course I’ll have to optimize the contents to each medium. The paper-book won’t contain too many pictures but the prettiest, I’ll only print the most interesting texts. The website will be super-filled with stuff, browsable by day, country or contents type, but won’t be available offline. And the eBook will have mostly texts (so as not to fill the memory of your phone/tablet/eReader), and some photos that can look good in black and white… and won’t be limited by DRM.
As I’ll have different contents types, why not get them available separately? Here’s how I plan to release the book :
- 30€ : the paper-book + access to the web archive + eBook
- 10€ : access to the web archive + eBook
- gratuit : access to a limited version of the web archive + one chapter of the eBook (+ a PDF file with one chapter of the paper-book?)
The prices are not final, I’m giving them here before making any serious study, but it’s to give you an idea of what I have in mind.
As you saw, I added a third offer, a free offer. That’s for all the potential readers who want to try before they buy. We all want to see if what we’re buying will be worth our money… and I think a chapter of the eBook and a chapter of the paper-book (in PDF) can show the difference between 10€ and 30€.
The Web Archive would be available to all paying readers, but protected by a PayWall. Basically, the free readers would get access to one chapter, plus a few pages for free each month.
Let’s say for example, you bought the paper-book and you want to share a remarkable article to your Aunt that lives in NYC, you can send her a link to that day’s page on the Web Archive, even if it’s not in the chapter ; she’ll be able to read it, along with any other page you’ll send her (with a limit of, let’s say, 5 each month). That way you can share, and perhaps she’ll like it enough to buy me a copy!
before I forget about it, what about English-language readers?
Right now, most of my friends and family and potential readers are French, all the content has been written in French (though some was translated in English) and I happen to dream in French. The paper-book will be printed in French, but the Web Archive and the eBook will be available in English in the few months following the release in French.
Printing the paper-book in English is not yet part of the equation, but if I get the funding and enough potential readers why not translating it?
So yeah, no DRM on the eBook, but a PayWall for the Web Archive?
No DRM means you can send the eBook to your Aunt from NYC. Perhaps she’ll like it and buy it to have the paper-book. And perhaps she’ll show it to her book club.
The PayWall idea is a bit different. It’s a guarantee that I’ll get payed for my work as author/self-publisher/photographer/designer/manager and it’ll also permit access to potential readers.
I am very conscious that it goes against the ideal of an Open Web, and might not be as cool as the DRM-free eBooks. But nothing keeps you from contacting someone you know who just bought the book, for his access codes…
co-publishing? why you talkin so cray-cray?
Way up in this here text I wrote about co-publishing the book. I don’t know if the word exists already or if my idea was already idea-ed by someone else, but here’s what I think :
I would publish the book from two sources of financing : money from a real publisher, and money that I would have crowdfunded. It would allow a small publishing house to help with the creation/making/printing/stocking/distributing of the book without having to invest all the money needed for such a project. Cheaper for the publisher, and the guarantee that a big number of books would already be sold before printing them.
So yeah. I think I’ve written all about the state the project’s in right now in my head.
As for the project itself, I’m working on layouts and designs for the Web Archive. It’s gonna be pretty as hell.