After creating my own doodles I decided that I liked them enough to want to use them as a basis for creating my own little Book of Doodles! I definitely wanted one for myself, but these humorous little books do quite well in book stores now, so I wanted to try and see if I could make more than just one to either give to friends and family, or one day sell. I have a few books by Edward Monkton and love the Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley, so I knew great art wasn’t a must, but dark and funny cartoons would work well just drawn simply.
By Andy Riley
So after drawing all my doodles I set about looking at the different ways you can make and distribute your very own books!
For a previous project I had created a batch of 15 mini photo albums with my own illustrations inside. They took time to make, even though they were only bound by staples, and didn’t sell at any of the local craft fairs.
Maybe if they had been bound properly they would have sold, but binding your own book takes a very long time! If you’re practised at it you might get one done per hour say, but if they prove popular and you want to sell them, you’re going to spend a lot of time sewing and glueing paper together. This means you would have to sell each book at a tidy profit for it to be worth your while. Here’s one example of book binding a tried myself:
As you can see it isn’t exactly perfect; I used a guillotine. But this rough effect wouldn’t be a bad thing if you were making an arts and crafts or scrap book say. For a book that has simple clear images like mine, I would prefer something more clean and crisp; giving it a more graphic and expensive feel. There are many other ways of binding your own book though; saddle stitching, thermal binding, spiral coil binding, and some arts books are simply held together by the bending of the paper. Again, these methods would take time but there’s a few pictures of what they could look like on Squidoo.com here .
The only alternative is:
Online Printing Sites
This is the first method I used to try and reduce the time involved in actually making my doodle book. There are many sites out there, but I happen to have an account on Snapfish. It’s a very reliable site and can print your photos, and the pictures that you upload to your own profile page, onto all manner of things: mugs, calenders, photo books, posters and canvas. They even have an app for the iphone so you can pop your photos online while your travelling. Obviously I wanted a photo book, and the cheapest. Prices start from £2.99 for a mini book and go up to £39.99 for a “signature” hard back photo book. You can choose from a variety of covers and inside page layouts, and it’s very simple to use; you simply have to drag your photo and drop it onto the page you want it.
My first purchase was a Mini Book (as a new customer I was able to get one for free):
Unfortunately the pages weren’t quite large enough to fit my pictures. I could have shrunk them I guess (something to try again later), but instead went for one size up; a 7 x 5 “Every day photo book”, normally costing £9.99, but I got mine half price in one of their special offers.
The mini book comes at a great price, but with p&p at £1.99, you’ll end up spending £5 on a very small book that some people wouldn’t spend £5 on! I prefer the quality of the bigger photobook, but again, prices would be at just over £10 per book; I doubt you could earn a profit from selling these as most people wouldn’t spend that much on a softcover book that’s smaller than the average book found in stores. Also, these prices reflect the minimum amount of pages you can have in the photo books; the 7 x 5 holds 20 pages, if you want any more you have to pay extra, imagine how much it would cost with 100 pages!
There are other sites that do the same, but their prices are very similar, and some require you to download software or PDF files onto your computer before you can even think about uploading your pictures. So printing your work, having it posted to you, then trying to sell it on will not generate a profit.
The third option is:
There are now many sites where you can create your own book, but instead of printing it and posting it to you, they put it online for people to buy. This means they only print it when someone buys it and the profit gets sent to your account, and as they specialize in books alone they have more choice when it comes to design, layout and binding. Easy. Hopefully. Here’s a list of a few sites that look to me to be the best. I have yet to try one myself though…
The most attractive thing about Lulu is the low prices and the fact that you can distribute your book worldwide to third party sites like Amazon.
Blurb - Blurb is pretty similar to Lulu; you download their free software, create your book, then upload that PDF file to your account on Blurb. Your book is ready to sell. However, the cheapest book starts at £8.95, say you want £5 profit per book, Blurb sells that book for £13.95. (You can only start selling once you’ve bought a copy of your own book.) If I was to try and sell my doodle book at that price, it wouldn’t sell often. Blurb does have a BookShow though; a virtual copy of your book that’s free to share with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Blog or WordPress… but that’s not really the point of making a profit.
Wordclay – Doesn’t support picture books.
CreateSpace – This is a site owned by Amazon and does not have a UK based site. It doesn’t give much information away, but can make your book available on Amazon and Kindle. It must be pretty similar to Lulu and Blurb.
Xlibris – Again this website doesn’t give much away, but it does say you can start publishing once you’ve paid $99 (no thanks) and from what I can see doesn’t support pictures.
Unibook – This site does do photo books, but again, the site is hard to navigate and doesn’t give much away!
And that’s a wrap! Out of the sites I’ve seen most Lulu definitely looks the best. There were others that I did not list merely because they don’t support picture/photo books or they ask for a whopping fee up front (some were asking for nearly $1000!!). My next step will be to see if I can create an account on Lulu and perhaps make a book from my other illustrations so that potential customers will think it’s worth the money I will need to sell it at to get any profit.
The alternative would be to learn how to bind my own books very quickly and sell them on sites like Etsy.
Would you buy my doodles if they were in a book?