What would you tell other people about publishing your own book? Do you think it’s for everyone?
Absolutely go for it! I think publishing your own book gives your work, whether it’s a design portfolio or a storybook, that extra amount of professionalism. People I show my book to are amazed. They say it looks so professional and gives my work, and myself, that edge over others.
Details: Do you have four tips you’d give to someone about to lay out their own book?
One: Don’t rush! Think about how you want your book to come across and who is going to see this book. This is the mistake I made with my first book four years ago. I didn’t think about it, and I got so excited at the thought of making it, that I didn’t really focus on what was important. I made mistakes and I don’t get that book out to show people anymore. However, I learned from these mistakes and, as a result, created the book you see now.
Two: Think about the size and orientation. For me it was a no-brainer. Most of my drawings are set at landscape, so that was the orientation sorted out. Next was the size. As I said before, I had already tried out the Large Landscape, so this time I went for the Standard Landscape. I wanted something that I could happily place on my coffee table, but also be able to carry around easily in my lag, as well as being a decent enough size to post.
Three: Try out different covers and cover options. I changed my mind so many times that I lost count. In my opinion, leave the front and back pages until last. Only once I was finished did I realize how it should look. I spent so much time doing things like changing the front and back page or changing my mind from dust jacket to ImageWrap covers. It was only at the end that I realized what it should be. Create the whole book first and this should determine the final outcome.
Four: Keep the cover simple. I see many books in the bookstore that basically drown their front covers in photos. Personally, I think this is too much and too “in your face”. The front cover should entice people to explore the book. Keep it simple, but make it stand out so that people want to see what’s coming next.
What do you use your book for? Does it fit into your career or was it more of a personal project?
A bit of both—it was kind of a personal project. I wanted something that showed off my final project, but without having to make one of those A1-size portfolios. This book basically compresses everything I drew into a small book, which I could place on my lap and have a good look through. I added text, photos, and sketchbook pages, something you can’t really do with a large size portfolio. It gives the person looking at it a better understanding of what you’re trying to put across. Having the freedom to do what I wanted with my book, I didn’t stick to a “typical” portfolio layout.
This book allowed me to put my personal touch in to it and incorporate each of my interests. As well as being a personal project, the idea of the book was to show it off, send it to companies for possible jobs, and take it to interviews. The first place I sent it to was a large architecture firm and the process was quite incredible. I posted my book to them on Monday, and on Tuesday I got a phone call saying they loved the book and had never seen anything like it before. I was offered an interview, which I attended on Friday, and got the job there and then. I later found out that the book pretty much got me the job instantly. I couldn’t believe how much impact a single book would actually have on my career.
What is the best part of publishing your own book?
There’s nothing more special than seeing all your hard effort and work turned into your very own book, in my opinion—books are special (and can be sentimental). The feeling of opening the package and picking up the book you’ve created is really quite something. Having your own book published allows others to be able to see your hard work in a more professional form. Today, there is so much technology and there are so many websites that it’s pretty easy to go unnoticed. Your “online portfolio” just becomes another amongst many these days—nobody really expects you to have a book. When people see mine, they’re amazed, not for just the fact that I got my own book published, but how anyone can do it, afford it, and access the software to create it in the first place.
Any last thoughts about publishing your own book?
There’s no other simpler way to say it, but … DO IT, whether it be for personal use or to showcase your work. I feel Blurb has a fantastic platform for people like myself, to help us to be able to create something professional and affordable. Blurb gives you the freedom and accessibility to create something completely unique that you can keep forever.
Thanks, Terry. If you're interested in contacting Terry, please email him at email@example.com