To work as a publisher means in the first place handling all the different stages of making the books. That can be disappointing and exhausting, but also exciting.
Luckily, there are and were no problems in the team - I've never felt so much part of something. In a way social life and work gets mixed up, when we had sandwich parties on Thursdays, fun promotion events and trips to Berlin underground musicians.
Then there is outside communication:
For the first book, a marketing idea consisted of getting confectionists to help us with a recipe for "Harald"- the chocolate-bean-chocolate cake, the main protagonist of the children's picture book. We got two recipes, one for Harald and one for cupcakes, for the kids to bake.
Here you can be lucky or not. For our second book we employeda wonderful illustrator who almost feels part of the team. She quickly adjusted to our ideas, made different cover versions, combined the best ideas and even adjusted minor things in no time. This makes work easy and fun.
Other things can be a bit tricky, especially if your illustrator is also friends with the author and sees the project as a freetime fun thing. It's a balancing act between getting the necessary changes done and not coming across as a mean publisher who wants to destroy the original ideas behind the project. I would say there are some aspects a publisher just knows better about selling the final edition. Still, our goal was to suit the book and the author more than just making profit - being an alternative to popular publishers.
Last: the printing agency
I'm so glad we had an understanding printing agency. Otherwise, we would have been lost. There are so many things you have to learn about printing and without their help and support we could have messed up bad and be utterly disappointed with the results. (well, we don't have the books yet, but I'm confident)
Now we know how to
- layout the printing file,
- what format it has to be,
- what pdf x-3 is,
- that ICC profile are a hassle,
- what book sizes are better than others,
- which fonts are totally stupid,
- how to use a ftp server,
- which paper is suitable,
- the difference between CMYK and RGB,
- and all the other choices you have to make before your job can be done.
In the next few weeks, I might take part in a smartphone customers insights survey, which would mean that I will blog frequently about choosing, buying and using a smartphone. More daily news on my new tumblr.
It's still quite hard to believe that I spend my summer starting a publishing company in Germany. After applying at an amazing online literature magazine called "www.buchbesprechung.de" (alternative German for book review), they asked me to get involved in their second project - the publishing company: PepperBooks.
So this is me all summer:
I would say the fact that I am studying creative writing helped a lot with the books that we were planning to publish. I read several books on publishing companies, strategies and layouting. Meanwhile I edited the books to the best of my knowledge, trying to highlight the fantastical atmosphere for the children and of course working greatly on grammar and punctuation. Luckily, the author of the two books is an academic and quite skilled with the rules - only one minor problem: the author had fallen for the wide belief that a soup of exclamation marks makes up rich ingredients(!).
Editing someone elses work in a business kind of way made me struggle. There are so many sides you have to consider and be aware of. It's hard to fall into the habit of thinking about it as your own work, but it's not. You have to edit in a way that still sounds like and suits the original author. At the same time - at least in my case - I had some deeper knowledge about the needs of stories, the crucial elements and the common "mistakes" from my course.
In the end I think I managed to get good results that both pleased the author and maximized the readability of the stories. As this was my first work as a proper Editor, though, I think I tended to be more legere with things - I guess it's natural to be a bit self-critical. As a writer myself I had to take back my own desires and ideas and keep telling myself: this is not my work, I just want what is there to be a little more clear/perfect&rounded up.
We'll see how it sells.
Did you ever edit someone elses work? Next time I'm gonna talk about co-operation and managing.
Hello my friends,
so this was a long summer for me. How was yours? What did you do? I wonder who travelled the most or the farthest.
|Baltic Sea - by Susan Petzold|
Oh, and then I went to the Baltic sea and slept on the beach - yes, we had a blanket - yes, it was still freezing - no, we didn't sleep that much. From 4am on, it was more a matter of walking around and getting warm ideas than sleeping. But hey, the day was wonderful - warm, sunny, the beach was amazing and I loved the waves. (For your information: I planned to go to the sea for 4 years and never managed due to various reasons. So this was fantastic.)
So this was the best of my summer experience.
|Summer is over|
Now back to literature, the arts of writing, the experience of being a writer. All those lovely things that I didn't have to miss over the summer, even though I didn't have time to share it on here.
Yes, I didn't share it on here yet - BUT I will do so in the next couple of weeks. I will tell you about my work experience at a publishers in Germany, how I managed handling difficult illustrators, awesome and helpful Czech printing companies and layouting a whole novel. Not to forget my personal work: my new novel is getting along nicely and I definitely need to get a progress counter on here. Updates and the whole story so far to come in the next few weeks, so be prepared ...
BY THE WAY - nice to be back and have you all back.