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.