I spent five years on my photo book project. Countless hours of photographing, editing, designing, sequencing, more photographing, pushing back timelines, re-writes, more photographing... on and on it went.
When I finally gave myself a deadline I was excited and nervous.
I wanted this book to be perfect - well, at least perfectly convey what I wanted to share about the retired sled dogs.
I went the self-publish route as I had done for previous books and ordered a proof copy and when it arrived, I was satisified.
So I put it 'out there' and orders came in.
I put in my first bulk order to the publisher and could barely wait the 6 days until they were to arrive.
When they did, I eagerly opened the boxes, but my excitement turned to disbelief, then anger, then sadness. There had been what looked like a mis-alignment problem during the printing and there was a narrow white band at the bottom of all the books. NOOOOOOOOO!
The people I showed it to said "it wasn't a big deal", "you can barely notice it", "it doesn't look bad" and "at least the inside was right". But it's all I could see when I looked at it. It's as if it glowed extra bright, just for me. There was no way I could feel like the project was complete sending this 'out there'. And besides, people were paying a lot of money for this book so I couldn't in good faith present them with anything less than what it was supposed to be.
So I contacted the publisher and it took three weeks of back and forths - photo evidence and emails and a futile phone call - before they agreed to reprint the order. But because they couldn't guarantee that the cover would print exactly like the single proof copy had (what I've now learned is an all-too common result of using an on-line self publisher), they recommended I take steps to create more space around each dog. This meant I had to switch out one of the photos and re-work a couple things. OK fine. But after sending previews to the company and hearing again that there could be alignment issues on a large order, the time came where I had to press that 'order' button and cross my fingers.
When the re-order arrived a day later than expected, I was afraid to open the boxes so my husband offered and I took him up on it.
I'm not a nail biter, but I was nibbling.
Finally, he pulled out the first one and it was OK! They all were OK!
I got all the books delivered to their new homes and then wondered what to do about that first order. Do I have some sort of ceremonial burning of them? Do I just put them in the attic and forget about them? Try to print out new covers?
After a few days I decided I would sell them as is... at a discount, of course. Because this book is part photo album, part documentary feature, it's also about advocacy, fundraising, education, and telling a very unique story in a very unique moment in time. And really, when it comes down to it, I want to use it to raise funds - 100% of which will be donated back to rescues helping more sled dogs into retirement. As an artist there's ego in there - it's kinda what drives us, but from time to time I have to push it aside for the big picture. So I am embracing what I will now refer to the "PUBLISHER'S WHOOPSY EDITION" for the sake of raising AS MUCH MONEY and awareness as I can for the sleddies. They work hard for the sport and entertainment of humans, but they shouldn't have to.
To order your copy of either limited edition printing of Meetings With Remarkable Dogs: the road to retirement for Whistler sled dog survivors, a 300-page, hard cover photo book containing over 350 images over five years, please CLICK HERE!
For a bundle of sleddie stories, please CLICK HERE.