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Publishing for Creatives

Lesson 1 of 10

Class Introduction

 

Publishing for Creatives

Lesson 1 of 10

Class Introduction

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

This is Publishing for Creatives, and the reason that I like to teach this class and wanted to teach this class to you is to demystify the publishing process. Because a lot of people would like to publish a book, have a book idea, or wanna come up with book ideas, but the publishing industry can feel intimidating and opaque and it shouldn't. So we're here to get rid of that feeling and make it accessible. So the things we're gonna cover today are demystifying the publishing process and the publishing industry, how all kinds of visual creatives, artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, can in fact be authors of books and how that works, how to brainstorm book ideas and come up with the best one and then how to put together a proposal and pitch it to publishers and basically how to empower you to get the knowledge that you need to move forward with your publishing dreams. So, here's a table of contents of all the lessons that we're gonna go over today. I will not read you the tab...

le of contents because that would be boring and you can read. But just to give you a sense of where we are and where we're headed throughout the class. The first thing I wanna talk about with you guys today is how I work with creatives. Because when people think about editors and authors, they often picture a sort of traditional writer, editor dynamic and what I do is a little bit different. So I wanna explain that to you. So who I am and what I do. Jim already explained a little bit of this, but I'm an Executive Editor at esteemed independent publisher Chronicle Books. I've worked there for 15 years, so I have literally edited hundreds and hundreds of books with authors who are visual creatives. I'm also a writer and an author and an artist myself. So I can kind of speak from that side of the equation as well. The authors I work with are artists, designers, illustrators, photographers, I do work with some writers, and also brands, people like Pantone, Marimekko, design-focused brands. This is important and I'm gonna iterate this throughout the class because again, it's not only writers that write books. It's not only writers that are authors. So the types of books I work on, almost every editor specializes in a particular category of publishing, and my broad category is just called art, but when you drill down what that means, includes fine art, design, illustration, photography, a little bit of fashion, a good deal of how-to and instructional art publishing, as well as self-help creativity, so how to improve your life through creative practice. So all of these categories fall under this large umbrella term that I'm gonna refer to going forward as art books. When I say that, I don't only mean a book of Monet. I mean all of these things. So the difference between an author and a freelancer, I'm gonna talk about this in a good deal more detail later, but I would like to just mention it now because often people who are visual creatives, especially designers, lifestyle photographers, illustrators, have also may have interest in being hired as a freelancer by a publisher. An author is paid in advance in royalties and retains copyright to their work. The publisher has the publishing rights, but the author retains the copyrights to the intellectual property they've created. A freelancer is paid a flat fee upfront for the work they're going to do, be that photography for a cookbook, illustration for a humor book, anything like that. And they may or may not retain the copyright to their work, depending on what kinda deal they make with the publisher. If they do a deal that's called a work-for-hire or a buy-out, that means they are effectively selling their copyright to the publisher as well. And that's reflected in their fee. So these two different types of work often can kinda get conflated or confused, which is why I like to really draw a distinction here. While I'm on this topic, I will explain briefly what an advance in royalties is. I think we again may touch on this again later, but I'll just, since I'm here I'm gonna mention it now. An advance is effectively an upfront fee paid to an author to help offset the inevitable cost in both time, energy, and money of writing their book or photographing their book or whatever the case may be. It is not an hourly rate, it is not a flat fee like you would get as a freelancer. It just helps contribute to the fact that this is gonna be a big project. That advance is in a effectively like a bank account with the publisher. So you start in the red because you've been already been paid. Every copy of your book that sells earns royalties. So you slowly ooch back up with every copy sold until you get to zero, and then at that point, you earn more and you start seeing royalty checks. This is of course assuming the book sells well, which we all very much hope it does. So the different ways that visual creatives author books. I'm gonna dive into this in a lot more detail shortly, but basically, again, I think people hear author and they're like well I'm an illustrator, how is that gonna work? So there's a bunch of different models. One is authoring a book of your own work. And the next is authoring a book featuring the work of others. The third is co-authoring a book with a writer or artist. So an artist and a writer getting together and making a book. And the fourth is working as a freelancer, either hired by the editorial department or by the design department at a publishing house. And I also wanna mention always thinking beyond the book. Book publishing is not the end all be all. At Chronicle Books, we have a long history of publishing non-book things such as stationary, which is blank things like postcards, notecards, notebooks, and content-rich formats, so journals that have content, guided journals, decks of cards with content, a lot of things that might be made out of paper or might not be but are not books and carry content and carry art. So this is another area that people don't always think about that I like to mention and more and more publishers are getting into this arena, so it's really something to think about.

Class Description

Are you an artist, illustrator, or designer with a great book idea but no idea where to start in publishing? The publishing world can seem opaque, confusing, or daunting from the outside, and many creatives can feel tempted to give up before they even start. But, you can do it! Bridget Watson Payne is going to give you all the information you need to create a book proposal and get your work seen by publishers. Bridget, a published author and artist herself, has more than 15 years' experience inside the publishing industry and is currently Executive Editor of Art Publishing with Chronicle Books. Learn from the best!

This class will cover:

  • How to brainstorm book ideas and choose the best one
  • How to put together a great book proposal
  • How to reach out to publishers
  • How connecting with your audience supports your publishing dreams
  • And more!

Reviews

Kimberly Sienkiewicz
 

Bridget knows her stuff! And she's a whole lot of fun to listen to. She is engaging, smart, and very personable. Thank you so much for such a fun and informative class.

Stephanie Laursen
 

Bridget has a great perspective of the publishing industry from a creative standpoint, and it was so easy to follow. I got both inspired to come up with ideas to pitch, and terrified that they might actually be picked up! This class is a must-see for anyone interested in dipping their toes in the creative art publishing world, but with no idea of where to start.

Yanique Sappleton-Birch
 

Amazing class!! Magnificent instructor with experience and know-how and she's also very encouraging. To quote her "It may be hard but we can do hard things"