Black Tie Book: The Last Word

Posted on December 30, 2013


As I reported in the last update on a potential book version of the Black Tie Guide, I was taking a final kick at the can by investigating self publishing.  Specifically, I was determining what it would cost for a self-publishing company to provide all the services of a traditional publisher with an eye to paying that cost through crowdfunding.

Well it turns out there is no such thing a full-service self-publishing company, only ones that provide printing and rudimentary layout services.  Nevertheless, I continued my research if only to satisfy my curiosity about the cost and process of  hiring a separate editor, layout designer, photography team, copyright and researcher in addition to a printing company.

As I began to calculate the book’s primary parameters such as page count and paper stock I soon realized that every detail centred around the most fundamental question of all: what would distinguish this book from the web site?  If the book’s written content was already available for free on the site what reason would consumers have to pay for the book?  The answer soon became clear: its visual content.  The photographs in the book would have to be largely original and entirely stunning which meant working with an experienced fashion photographer and presenting the final results on oversized, heavy paper stock, much of it printed in colour. Not surprisingly, this kind of quality doesn’t come cheap.  The total estimate for creating the book adds up to approximately $125,000 and the cost of printing 500 copies would be an additional $28,000.  And that doesn’t take into account the wages I would lose by taking at least two months off work to to write the manuscript and manage  publication.

Ultimately, the cost is largely irrelevant because I have no intention of taking off the time required to act as my own publisher.  The pride in seeing the book become a reality just isn’t worth the enormous amount of work required and the significant inconvenience it would cause to my employer.  So barring an unforeseen offer from a traditional publisher, I am closing out the year by laying this project to rest.  I will instead use 2014 to focus on improving the Guide for its next edition in 2015 and expanding the role of the blog.  Perhaps these improvements will include a spin-off of much more modest ambition such as an app or an eBook.  We shall see . . .

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