Looking for Some Advice on How to Approach a Project

Good Morning, Folks! Hope your Freya’s Day is off to a great start, and you have a wonderful weekend ahead!

I’ve been contacted by my friends at the Enterprise Museum on behalf of someone who wants to tackle an ambitious project. She isn’t sure where to start, and wondered if self-publishing via Amazon was the way to go, or if she needs to seek out a smaller, inexpensive traditional publisher. I have no experience that is really helpful for her, but thought some of you might. 

In a very condensed version of her own words, this is what she’d like to do:

“I want to develop a history of Enterprise through illustrations, maps, drawings, portraits, etc. beginning with the indigenous inhabitants of the area  …  and up to today. “

This would be just the highlights of Enterprise history that would interest the general public and secondary students, not an academic record of all the history of the area  ….  It would include a series of side-by-side “then and now” illustrations … Text would be limited to captions, side bars, callouts, brief snippets, … “

Yes, it’s an ambitious project, but a worthy one, I think. Her idea  is to make this a small, probably paperback book (not a coffee table tome) that could be sold in gift shops and the like, and she’s hoping to find a way to pull it together with some volunteers for funding, etc, but that’s another topic.

What I would like to find out for her is if Amazon is a good fit for this type of book? (I’ve heard some conflicting opinions on how well they do with books that have  a lot of photos and  illustrations.) Or do any of you know of better publishers to handle this type of project?

Any advice you have, or experiences (good or bad) you can share would be very helpful to her. While she is chock full of historical knowledge about the little town of Enterprise, she’s never attempted anything like this before. The director of the museum put her in touch with me, because of my experience with self-publishing, but I write fiction novels and poetry. I know nothing about what would be involved (besides a lot of work) in a project like this, or if Amazon is even a place to start. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to put the question out there to see if any of you had suggestions.

I’d love to see this idea become a reality! Thanks for any help you can offer.  😊

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NOTE TO ALL: My new friend, Lani, is having a hard time accessing the blog in order to respond to your comments. She asked me to tell you this:

“Hi to everyone who commented! I am immensely grateful for your wonderful outpouring of suggestions and truly helpful advice for my proposed project! I will try to print them out. Maybe Marcia can tell me how to do this because each one has valuable information that I need to review. Marcia, esteemed hostess, how do I do this or can I get this page sent to my email?
 
I am bowing in humble appreciation for all of your kindness and encouragement! Such nice people!! You have all made my day/week/month. Sorry for the delay posting this message. I had tried to post several times over the past two days, but I had huge problems with WordPress which dear Marcia has since resolved.
 
The most important thing I got from your posts is encouragement, that so many writers(!) no less think it’s a good idea. Wow. That in itself is priceless. I will start (as many of you suggested) by checking out similar local history publications and see where and how they were published. I am also going to check out the links to the online publishing websites/aids you so kindly provided. This is SO helpful! I have been totally in the dark. You each turned on a light for me. Endless thanks to everyone, Lani

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24 thoughts on “Looking for Some Advice on How to Approach a Project

    • I have no clue, Jeanne. But it sounds reasonable. I’ve sent her the link to this post, so she can read any comments that might come through, and hopefully there will be some ideas and suggestions she can take away from them. Like yours!

      Thanks so much for taking a moment to respond! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  1. What a wonderful project! If this was my book, I’d go with a small publisher like FreshInk because photos/graphics add too much complexity for me. But…what do I know? Not much. 😁

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, you know more than I about this already, Gwen, just by the fact that you know about FreshInk. I didn’t even have a name to investigate. Thank you so much for the input, my friend! It is, indeed, a wonderful idea, and I hope we’re able to help her find a path to making it come true. 🤗💖

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If she goes the self-publishing route (which might be easier and faster, but not necessarily less expensive), she would need a formatter who is familiar with laying out photos like that. And her better bet than Amazon might be Ingram Spark. Does she just want a print book? No ebook, correct?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, no ebook, Kass, and I really appreciate the Input. Now we have at least one name to check out. And yes, she’s going to need an editor and a formatter, I’m sure. Because this is being done to help museums and the like, she’s hoping to find some experienced folks who would donate some time and/or funds to the project. Hoping she gets lucky with that!

      No matter how she decides to approach it, it’s going to be a huge project, but it would be lovely if she can find a way to pull it all together. Thanks so much for your suggestions!! I knew some of you folks would know more about this than I do, and again, I appreciate your response! 🤗💖

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re very welcome! Ingram Spark is the self-publishing branch of Ingram. You upload a formatted PDF and cover. I’ve heard they do a better job with photos and illustrations.

        If it’s mostly photos, she’d only need a copy editor/proofreader, to look out for awkward wording and such, as well as typos.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Ms. Marcia, I’m not sure if this is a viable option for this project or not. An author of a memoir came across my path and his book was done through Inkshares – https://www.inkshares.com/ – but as I recall it didn’t have much in the way of pictures. However, the process they go through to get books from the idea stage to the public arena might be insightful for the person you are trying to help.

    By the way, the book I mentioned is “When Force Meets Fate: A Mission to Solve an Invisible Illness” by Jamison Hill – this is his Word Press page: https://jamisonwrites.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I wonder if there might be some local publishers who would be interested in the project, but I don’t know the place. Perhaps if she has seen any books of other regions or areas that follow similar lines, she could check the publisher, as they might want to carry a similar book. Local bookshops might have some ideas, or perhaps if there is a writers’ group nearby… I also think it might be too technically complex a project for self-publication. It does sound like a fabulous project, and I hope it sees the light.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I suspect you’ve hit on a good approach, Olga. Local publishers might be the way to go. I format all my own books, but I don’t think I’d want to tackle something is photos and captions, etc, myself, so I was hoping you guys would have some good suggestions. I like the idea of talking with a local writer’s group, too. Thanks so much for your thoughts! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Marcia, I wish I could offer advice, but I’m afraid anything I suggested would be a guess.
    Perhaps a local publisher? It seems like there are already a number of good suggestions in the comments, so I will just wish her well!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wishing her well is wonderful, Mae! That’s about all I’ve been able to do, too, other than put out a call for ideas. I’m clueless about how she should approach this. Thanks for stopping by, though, and I’m sure she’ll appreciate your well wishes. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think Olga’s advice is the best place to start. A trad publisher is first and foremost going to be interested in how wide an appeal the book might have – that’s one of the things you need to tell them in any book proposal. In this case, as it’s a small catchment, the only likely interest would be from a local publisher. She should first find out if there are any similar books on sale, and seek out their publisher. Possibly a small press? The big boys definitely won’t be interested.
    I agree this is really ambitious for self-pub, and Amazon wouldn’t be a good fit – it isn’t set up for publishing this type of book. If she can find a typesetter to do the layout, then I would also suggest Ingram Spark for turning it into a book. She’s going to have to put some capital in to get it to this stage.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You bring up some super good points, Debby. The appeal for this type of book is bound to be mostly regional, so probably not something the Big Guys would want to handle. So, local publishers might be the way to go. I like your idea of checking on similar books and seeing where they were published. And I was afraid Amazon would probably not be the best place to try to do this.

      She knows there will be capital involved, and is hoping to raise the interest of some patrons who would help with funding as a history of the local community type thing. It’s going to be complicated for sure, but I do appreciate your very helpful thoughts. They will be passed on, for sure. (With luck, she might be able to follow the blog and respond to your comments here soon, too.) Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m afraid I have no experience that would be of use. There are some excellent suggestions here and I’m interested in the comments because I have a book on the back burner that would benefit from some photos but I suspect that self-publlishing with Amazon would result in a book that was too expensive for readers to buy. The Enterprise project sounds like an excellent idea and there’s bound to be considerable local interest in it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Trish, that the Enterprise project sounds wonderful, and would receive a lot of local interest and attention. There are several places in the area that could carry such a book in their gift shops, and it would be one I’d love to have. I’m not from Enterprise, but I have a connection with it after my years of giving talks there at the museum. And I AM from Florida, so the history of a small town close by would definitely interest me.

      I was pretty sure Amazon wouldn’t be the best way to go, but like you, had no idea of where to even begin with a project like this. We’ve gotten a couple of good places to start from comments here, and might get a few more suggestion over the week ahead. Hopefully, there will be enough food for thought here to help get the project underway.

      Thanks for stopping by! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sure you’ll get a plethora of opinions here, but in my experience, it’s always best to go with your own imprint. Self-publishing is such a great option, but for distribution purposes, I don’t suggest going with Amazon. That is very limiting. Best wishes to your friend, Marcia!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems my general impression that Amazon wouldn’t be the best fit for this project is likely true. I think most of you guys agree with that, so far, and there have been some excellent suggestions as to other options, Jan. Thanks for your thoughts! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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