Exercise 1

What is your role?

This brief asked me to consider the two publishing models in the course materials and think about my final assignment. I needed to think about what my role would be in this assignment, as well as what other people would need to contribute as well. For example, I am keen to get some copies of my final book printed professionally, so I’ll need to outsource this to a company.

Model 1 (conventional – perhaps more likely to be a larger publishing house)

Writer – Publisher – Editor – Designer – Production – Printer – Distribution – Retail

Model 2 (places the artist/designer in the role of the author, closely aligned with artists’ books)

Artist/Designer/Author – Publisher – Editor – Production – Printer – Distribution – Retail

From looking at these two models, I feel like my final assignment process will follow the second model more closely, apart from the ‘retail’ bit, because I’m not planning to sell my book at this stage. I’m excited to create something inspired by other artists’ books.

I was keen to be thorough in this process of figuring out what I would need to do, to ensure the work leading up to the assignment would be smooth and organised. I have Andrew Haslam’s ‘Book Design’ and in Chapter 2: Creating a Book, he outlines the major roles within publishing.

  • Author/writer – I will be creating the written content for my final book, drawing on inspiration from other sources and other artists’ books.
  • Agents (literary, illustration, design, photography) – Agents represent a writer, illustrator, designer or photographer and their work to potential employers. For this final assignment, I’ll not be needing a publisher (I’ll be representing myself!) as I won’t be focused on a larger distribution process.
  • Publisher – At this stage, I won’t be publishing my book, but there’s certainly the potential to self-publish at some point.
  • Book packager – Since I’m going to be taking on this project, I’ll be “putting together” my book. My roles will be design-focused and editorial.
  • Commissioning editor – This is about selecting the books that will be produced. I guess this will be me again, on a much smaller scale, as I’ll be choosing my own book to produce!
  • Editor – It will be my job to read through my content and look at the design and make any edits.
  • Proof-reader – I think it’s a good idea to get someone else to look through to check for any spelling or grammar errors, so I’ll probably send a draft to fellow students and/or share with my friends and family to see if they spot anything and check it reads well.
  • Consultant – This person is an expert in a particular field and helps the writer with the content. For my book, I don’t think I’ll need a specific consultant, but if I have any queries, I will check back through my artist research and inspiration and I also have my tutor on hand to advise me too.
  • Reader – A reader is a reviewer with specialist knowledge about the genre of book; they check it before it’s properly released. I guess, in a sense, my tutor would be taking on this role, as an expert in the field who will be reading my final book.
  • Art director – I guess on a small scale, this is me! I don’t have creative control over an entire publishing house’s book list, but I will be making decisions about the design of my own book and thinking about how the design, illustration and text all come together.
  • Designer – This is definitely my role. I’ll be designing the layout of the book and also making choices about the paper, printing and binding.
  • Picture researcher – A picture researcher sources pictures to use in the book and secures any required copyright permission. If I decide to use secondary sources, I will be taking on this role, but I’m hoping to mostly, if not exclusively, use my own illustrations or photos.
  • Permissions manager – Again, I’m only planning on using my own text, but I will take on this role if I need to secure permission to use text from somewhere else.
  • Image makers (illustrators, photographers, cartographers) – I will be the image maker. I’m hoping to use my own illustrations and possibly photographs.
  • Rights manager – This role involves dealing with contracts between the creators of the book and the publishing company. This won’t be needed in this project.
  • Marketing manager – Again, not needed for this project, but if I decided to sell, I’d take on the responsibility of marketing.
  • Print buyer/production manager – This person oversees the production process; I suppose this is also me, as I’ll be writing, creating images, and designing. I think I’ll be overseeing the print process from afar though!
  • Printer – This is going to be a role that I outsource. I have a local printers that I’ve used before, but I’ve also had some good recommendations for online printers too.
  • Print finisher (collating/binding) – This could also be outsourced, although I’m not totally certain yet. I quite like the idea of binding a book myself, as I’ve really enjoyed doing that, but it might work better for the book to ask a professional to do this.
  • Binder – See above.
  • Distribution manager – If I was selling the book, this would be me!
  • Sales representative – A sales representative contacts retailers and book clubs to get them to sell the book. I’m not selling my book, so this role doesn’t apply to my process.
  • Retailer – The person or company that sells the book. Again, not applicable to this project.

It’s been interesting to consider each cog in the publishing process. I am also intrigued by the idea of online publishing and self-publishing, which I might look into. For this project, my main focus is the production process – writing, designing, image-making and then sourcing a company to print and bind some copies of my book.

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