So you and your company are thinking about publishing a book. Maybe the book is to help you commemorate a milestone or anniversary, or maybe you want to share your story with your community or create a permanent record of your legacy. Whatever the reason, publishing a book is a significant financial investment, so all companies want to put their best foot forward.
After decades in the book industry, it still amazes me how many people find it surprising to learn that publishing a book to professional standards requires expertise. Many people assume that experience in editing or designing short documents is transferable to editing or designing books. Similarly, many are unaware of the unique legal and administrative requirements of book publishing, such as ISBNs, barcodes and NLA classifications. Not to mention the intricacies of editing, proofreading, briefing designers, printing specifications, paper stock, colour proofs, delivery and distribution. Making books takes specialist knowledge in terms of both their content and as physical objects. Unfortunately, many companies only discover this after going it alone. They suddenly find themselves over time and over budget on a book that doesn’t reflect their aims or their organisation. It’s at this point that I often receive a panicked email or phone call asking for help – but it doesn’t have to be this way!
As publishing specialists, Fremantle Press can be engaged by organisations wanting an impressive bespoke book created for them. Our custom publishing clients are incredibly diverse, ranging from community organisations like the Royal Perth Yacht Club, the National Trust of Australia (WA) and the Rottnest Channel Swim Authority; Aboriginal groups like Mowanjum Aboriginal Community and Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation; prestigious art collections like Wesfarmers Arts and the Kerry Stokes Collection; corporate clients like Treasury WA and FJM Property; educational bodies like Curtin University and Perth College; and local governments like the City of Bayswater, the City of Perth, the City of Fremantle and the Shire of Perenjori. What our custom publishing clients all have in common is they have benefited from four decades of publishing expertise in project management, editing, proofreading, indexing, design, print management and, if required, distribution.
While hiring a publishing consultant can seem like a big expense, it’s an investment that ultimately saves any organisation time, money and resources. As the old saying goes: If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.
Every publishing consultant may work a little differently, but here are my recommendations for organisations thinking about producing a book.
Professionally published books take time to produce and the closer you are to your deadline, the more costly they are likely to be. If your organisation has a major anniversary in three to five years time, is thinking about publishing a book or is already in the process of writing it, then start your engines now. Contact me to discuss the project so we can look at what might be a realistic timeline and a realistic budget.
Building your team
Books are made by people. Once we’ve signed an agreement, at Fremantle Press we appoint a project manager to help get your content ready for production. But you’ll need to appoint your own people too. Think about whether there will be one point of contact at your organisation or a team of people. Who has the final say or sign-off on the project?
Think also about your content. Who will write the copy? Will that be done in- house or do you need to hire a professional writer? If your book is going to photographic then who is going to source, sort or scan your images into a suitable digital format? Who will be in charge of writing the captions?
For Fremantle Press this is when the fun (and hard work) begins! Your text and captions get edited to meet Australian publishing standards. Design concepts and covers are created for your review. The content is typeset and the layouts reviewed, then the book is proofread and indexed. We will work closely with the printers to guide your book through the final stages of production and quality control. It’s a real team effort, involving our skilled team of project managers, editors, designers and printers – and of course you, our client.
How you are going to get your book into the hands of your readers is something you should also consider early. We can deliver your glorious books to a destination of your choice in Western Australia – anywhere from Perth to country WA to Derby – but where will the books go from there? Think about who your readers are and how many people will want a copy of the book. Is the book a giveaway or do you want people to buy it and, in that case, where do they buy it from? If you want your book to go into bookstores, talking to us about a distribution deal might be the answer.
Finally, a reminder that all income from Fremantle Press’s consultancy work goes right back into our core activity of publishing talented new Western Australian writers and artists. So our clients can benefit from our expertise while knowing they are supporting local Western Australian stories.
I hope this helps and good luck with your book projects!
Jane Fraser, CEO, Fremantle Press