Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Building a Publishing House Series - #1

Ok, I've been knee deep in assisting the print shop I've worked at for about 10 years, in becoming a publishing house. The shop has been in business since 1987 and for a long time is what I categorized as a "down and dirty" printing press. This is the smaller shop where I had printed my customer's business cards, stationary, envelopes, invoices, business materials, etc., when I work at my home-based graphic design business. I had not sent my magazines, catalogs or other larger projects through them because that's not what they specialized in producing.

A few years after I started working with them they had moved up to full color digital printing, which allowed a move up to full color marketing materials and full color business cards. They have moved up over the last few years to bigger and better producing machines, but not into what I would call the "large press" capable machines.

For the last 2 years we have been talking about getting into print-on-demand books, and had looked at some machines which could have produced books, but they were wary about the costs and the economy. Print shops have been closing up all around us in Phoenix, Arizona, so they would be unwise not to be wary.

What I had thought was a lost cause has suddenly blasted onto the scene. The print shop is becoming one of the "BIG BOYS!"

Even before we have the Xerox set in place we have already produced our first book order. The opportunity presented itself and the President/CEO jumped on it like a bear sighting a fish too close to the water surface.

This book order had a deadline so tight that it squeaked. This experience has led me to exclaim to anyone who would listen, "I'm writing about this whole thing in my publishing blog because I think authors or potential authors need to know more about the publishing business." I also think anyone would get something out of this retelling and maybe even a bit of an education on what it takes to become a publisher these days.

So, throughout the next few months, I will be relaying the latest hurtles, battles, joys, and exhaustive moments that we have in store for us in making this dream come true. We will be converting a mid-sized business print shop into a large scale print shop and book publishing house.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Great Sound Effects

The following link is for you to find some great sound effects you can use in all your multimedia presentations, flash projects, school powerpoint work or podcast/radio shows.

Free Sound Effects Download thousands of free sound effects from PartnersInRhyme.com

HAVE FUN and RELAX with their water/ocean sound bytes.
PJ Hultstrand

Sunday, September 14, 2008

PERCEIVED VALUE IN BOOK PUBLISHIING

Giving away your works as a marketing ploy has become a hot topic among authors and those publicity minded individuals who would give away their mothers if they thought it would create sales.

I believe there are indeed times in which giving away your work does create more sales in the long run, but the author needs to be careful not to give away the farm. I have heard of several instances where giving has led to sales.
In the printing industry and other retail/service businesses there is this marketing ploy called, "loss leaders," which are used to bring in new customers. The idea is that the customer will buy other products which offsets the loss they take on the "loss leader" draw.

The problem with using your first book as a "loss leader" is that you have nothing else to sell the reader. And when you have given your first book for free, why would a reader want to buy your other works.

This is where "Perceived Value" comes in. I don't believe in selling yourself short. If you give too much, people in their very natures, keep taking. Alternate idea: If you give a discount on your first work, reader's see value and savings.

When would a "loss leader" effectively work for an author? How about giving the first book away as an e-Book during the Pre-Sale of the second book! The reader could read the first book before the second one comes out. They will be anticipating your work and be content with the freebie.

Actually, this perceived value issue applies to anything you produce. Why sell yourself short? Really, are you in business or not? Many writers need to really think about this question before laying down too much money to publish their books.

Until next time, happy hunting,
PJ Hultstrand

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Custom made Cards

Looky, looky at the new cards I produced from Heritage Makers website attached to azpublishingservices.com

You can produce awesome 4x6 greeting cards too for only $29.95 per a 10 pack. Then you can produce each of the 10 cards separately so you can customize the pictures and message for all those special people in your life.

Here are 2 examples of what I have done.


























ASK ME ON THIS BLOG FOR MORE INFORMATION On how you too can produce customized greeting cards.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How do I use that logo I had designed?

IGNORANCE WHEN INSERTING GRAPHICS INTO FILES

This particular problem keeps arising when I give someone their artwork or logo on a CD or other media to use for various things such as on their fax sheets, invoices, or whatever. I considered adding a disclaimer with the CD explaining that I (the designer) am not liable for the customer's lack of understanding simple computer techniques.

And again, I got a call today from a customer asking why they can't use their logo in MS Word? They accused me of giving them unusable artwork.

After several run-arounds on how they are inserting the artwork in question and two people taking a stab at me for injuries they think I have inflicted, it was finally understood that they had "misunderstood" the inserting procedure.

PEOPLE -- You can't open any file directly if you "DO NOT HAVE THE ORIGINAL PROGRAM" in which it was designed or produced with. Since you had not PAID for that program, you do not have the right to use that program for any reason! You PAID for the logo design or file production, NOT FOR THE RIGHT TO ANY PROGRAM YOU DIDN'T PURCHASE.

So, how do you use that file or artwork you paid some designer or anybody for that matter?

STEP 1: PULL THAT ARTWORK FROM WHATEVER MEDIA YOU GOT IT IN AND SAVE IT TO YOUR DESKTOP OR INTO YOUR DOCUMENTS FOLDER. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE YOU SAVED IT SO YOU CAN FIND IT EASILY.

STEP 2: OPEN THE PROGRAM YOU WISH TO WORK IN
EXAMPLE: YOU HAVE A FAX SHEET YOU WISH TO PLACE YOUR NEW LOGO ONTO. THE FAX SHEET WAS SETUP IN MS WORD. SO, YOU OPEN THE MS WORD PROGRAM FIRST, THEN FIND THE FAX SHEET IN YOUR DOCUMENTS.

STEP 3: PLACE YOUR CURSOR WHEREVER YOU WISH THE LOGO ARTWORK TO BE ON THE FAX SHEET, THEN GO TO "INSERT GRAPHICS/PICTURES" IN THE MENU BAR.

STEP 4: MS WORD WILL PROMPT YOU TO "BROWSE" FOR THE ARTWORK YOU WANT. THIS IS WHERE SAVING THE FILE SOMEWHERE YOU CAN FIND EASILY BECOMES IMPORTANT. PJ'S NOTE: I generally use the Desktop to hold these kinds of temporary files until I am done with these files.

ANOTHER INSIDER TIP: If you made that cool new logo with dark colors, you really should pay a few dollars extra for the designer to give you a BLACK & WHITE version of that logo so it will look better and be more readable when printing. Artwork printed on most printers will look cheesy if you designate a black & white print when the original is a full color.

Until next time,
PUBLISHING 101
PJ Hultstrand
azpublishingservices.com

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Calling Web Designers

After writing several books in my "Time" series, I had decided a website would be a good idea. Having been a graphic designer for 18 years I also decided I wouldn't let someone else design the site for me.

Why? Three reasons really.

1) I've been avoiding delving into the web design part of marketing. Telling myself that I didn't want to get into that type of design. I finally had a reason, so I went back to school and updated my education.

2) I'm very capable of learning new things. Thrive on it even. And programming is completely out of my comfort zone. So, I dived in and I'm floating most of the time.

3) I've been hearing stories from some of my customers at the print shop, that they had a web designer drop the ball on their project and either didn't finish it, or even start it. And then there's the frequent one I hear about the designer having purchased the domain name and then hadn't renewed it or hadn't told the company it needed renewing. The customer had lost the domain name to someone else who bought the rights to use it and this let to unnecessary costs when the company had to buy all new invoices, business cards and all marketing materials that had the old domain name that went to someone else.

Then of course, they had to choose a new domain name and pay another web designer to fix their website with the new domain path.

Is it just business when a web designer decides there's no money in continuing to service the customer so they drop the ball? or don't finish a job they were probably paid for? or take a job they are underqualified to perform so they never finish the job.


WHAT HURTS ONE -- AFFECTS US ALL
There was this local vendor who fulfilled design services in Phoenix. (Just one example: drum scanning a slide for high resolution magazine printing.)

Anyway, this vendor quoted a price for a high end design service job for a graphic designer friend I know. The friend didn't get this job and was told by his potential customer who had underbid him. The vendor had taken the information on the job they quoted and underbid that quote in order to get the job themselves. They had stabbed the graphic designer in the back and had alienated not only that graphic designer, but every other designer he had told about the unethical practices of said vendor.


My point:
I don't use the services of that vendor because they had ruined their reputation for the sake of money. Just as I'd rather do my own web design than to farm it out to someone who may or may not be more qualified. And now I'm being paid by some of these customer's to fix, finish or at least start their companies' websites.

I would love to get help with especially PHP programming of databases, but it seems everyone is busy on other projects. Even if they weren't busy, I'd be wary to work with anyone who I was not certain of their business ethics.

So, how's your reputation standing?

Until next time,
Patti Hultstrand
AZ Publishing Services, LLC

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

JPG Files

Understanding JPG files: When can you use them for printing your projects?

Having worked at a print shop for over 10 years, I can't tell you how many times customers have come to me with pictures or artwork they got online, expecting me to use them on a print project.

When a JPG is used on a website it needs to be crunched down to maximize the speed in which the pages upload onto your computers. The resolution on web artwork JPG's are typically 72 dpi (dots per inch).

What looks great on a website, doesn't convert to what you need for PRINT MEDIA projects. ALL artwork used for print projects needs to be 300 dpi resolution in order to maximize the look and appeal for your printed piece. The smaller the dpi resolution, the more pixelated the artwork appears. Pixelated will look either fuzzy, grainy, or the edges of the artwork will look more boxy.

Honestly, there is absolutely nothing a graphic designer can do with a 72dpi piece of artwork that needs to be stay the same size or larger than the original file.
TIP & TRICK: If you must use that artwork you got online, it must be approximately 4 times larger than what you will be printing that artwork or picture at. In other words, if you want to use a logo on your business cards, the file needs to be the size of a 4x6 inch postcard or larger in order for the designer to convert to 300 dpi resolution.

If anyone has further questions about this, please blog me.
Until next time,
Patti Hultstrand
AZ Publishing Services, LLC

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wedding Shower Book

This is a 5x7 hardcover book designed by me through Heritage Makers. Check out my website: www.azpublishingservices.com for more information.











Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sample Wedding Book

This is a 12x12 hardcover book designed by me through Heritage Makers. Check out my website: www.azpublishingservices.com for more information.











Sunday, July 27, 2008

Who am I?

Eighteen years of print publishing experience has allowed me to see so many changes in the computer graphics industry that it really boggles the mind sometimes. Having worked on MacOS systems and Windows machines has given me a broad view on when to work on which system for whatever project you're working on. I have worked in every form of publishing there is, from web press printing, digital, offset, and more. The only exception had been e-publishing, and this has recently changed; I'm now an e-publisher as well. See weaversofdreams.com

UPCOMING TOPICS:
Understanding JPG files: When can you use them for printing your projects?
Why should an author add a blog to their website?
Why e-Publish your book?
What's spot color in printing?
AND SO MUCH MORE -- check here at least once a week for new topics or blog me a question. I'm happy to help demystify the publishing and print industry.

Until next time,
Write on.