Monday, January 20, 2014

Advice Needed: Putting Together My Sold Pieces

Two quick questions.  Any advice offered would be appreciated:

The owner of a local boutique has offered me the chance to have a book signing at her shop.  I've had a few pieces published, and the rights have reverted back to me by now.  I've already requested 25 copies of a snazzy-looking magazine that one of my stories appeared in (Spring 2012 Issue #116; please go to the link here to see it), so I'll have those to sign.  But I wanted something else, too: A collection of my other works that have sold to a) online fiction mags; b) a British (and, especially with the shipping costs, not cheap) book; c) a collection of essays.

So, I thought about putting these pieces together into one little book--nothing as official as something with an ISBN or anything like that, but also not something that looks amateurish or cheap.  I thought I'd get something with a cover, a back, a photo of me on the back in a lower corner, and an image to present each of the five or so disparate pieces in the book.  Therein lies a problem: I've got a piece of speculative fiction that sold to Space and Time Magazine, the one with the cool cover; a contemporary, literary piece that sold to; a poem that sold to the British publisher; an essay that sold to a specialized collection.  That's four completely different works (I'd add a fifth, previously unpublished story), so they'd need four completely different images to represent them (they are not closely related at all, in either content, theme or style), plus a cover image that somehow did represent the tone of them all, or the theme, or the...I don't know.

There's question #1: How do I work with these images?  Any ideas?

The other conundrum was, of course, cost-related.  My friend is too swamped to do the work (which she sounded honestly interested in and excited about, as this is exactly what she does for a living, and is currently doing a few extra jobs that pay the bills, but isn't what she likes to do best), and I would never ask her to do all this for free, anyway, as I know it's a lot of work and time, and I don't believe in asking professionals to do work for free, even if they are my friends.  But, of course, I can't afford to pay someone to do all this for a normal fee, either.  My friend said this would cost about $1,000 to do, and that's unfortunately out of the question at this point.

So that's question #2: How do I do this myself, for minimum cost, without it looking amatuerish or cheap?  Is this something I can go to OfficeMax, Staples or Kinko's for?

I was thinking of having book labels available for me to sign, and maybe one copy of the book I'm suggesting, and keeping a list of names so people can pre-order that, rather than making a lot of books that don't sell.  But I'd rather have a lot on hand, too.  And maybe I can sell the unsold ones later...Confusing.

Of course, it's possible I'm severely over-thinking things, and nobody will want anything, and I'll sob openly.

But if you're going to plan something, and dream something, why not go for it?

And, well, that's it.  Please, any ideas at all would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, readers.

I hope the new year is treating everyone well.

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