atx // my book that may not be

book cover atx michael lindaburyphotography book cover front ATX michael lindabury

i was hoping today would be a joyous day…the day i announce that my book is out…i’ve been working on this book for about a year. hardcover, 72 pages, 8.25 wide x 10.75 tall. all full spreads of my favorite photos taken in and around austin, texas during 2013. nature, landscapes, and around the south congress area… the best of what you may have seen on my site.  this is my austin and i want to share with it with you. there’s plenty of austin to go around for everyone.

but sadly i got a version of it from the printer and to say i’m a bit disappointed with the results, well that wouldn’t even come close. I used a printing company that shall remain nameless but that i have used before in the past with excellent results. This time however as i opened the package that i had been eagerly awaiting for, like a kid waiting for christmas morning…i literally let out a rather a sigh of oh…no…what is this? where has all my hard work gone?

the pages were unbelievably thin, see-through thin, all the blacks and greys were dull and muddy, the bleeds were way off and pages cut incorrectly with white spaces on some but not others, the gutter i had set was not even taken into account….ugh…i should mention i work as a graphic designer so i know all about proper document set up and used professional software (indesign) to layout this book. yes i know, i don’t use caps or proper punctuation…it’s my way of being less formal…relaxed if you will on my down time.

well, i’m putting this out there to hear from all of you…what have your experiences been with some printing companies? any recommendations for printing houses? self publishing or submissions to publishers? positive or negative….i know print is difficult these days with everything going digital, i researched all the options available out there.  but i’d love to hear from ya’ll.

i’d eventually like to get this printed at some point..but for now i’ll just concentrate on taking more photos…which is the most enjoyable aspect anyway.



    • i do, and that was going to be my next attempt based on what i’ve read…personally were you happy with the results? the image print, paper quality, binding etc…i’d love to hear what you thought about them

      • It was a while ago; but yes it turned out to be good. Check out their specs, I don’t know if they have different quality in paper, but thinking maybe not. But I do recommend it. Let us know what happens and what you decide. I’d say take some time to research.

      • i have and they have some decent options, better than what i was offered before with the other company so i may give them a try..i’m glad to hear you were happy with your results and i will keep you updated!

  1. Michael, I’m so sorry. I haven’t had a book printed, but I can tell you that I’ve been sorely disappointed a time or two, just with prints!! Check out SmugMugs print companies they partner with. From what I understand, they are supposed to be the very best. ~v. (and let me know, if you do, the results.)

    • Forgot to say, “Congratulations!” on putting together the book. That’s a whole lotta work, worthy of praise all unto itself! And, just remembered, HONY, Humans of New York. It’s great quality printing, but i was a little more than disappointed when I borrowed it from the library, to discover it had been printed in China. =:O

      • thanks again! and yes it was lots of work, editing…moving this image over here…then back again…which order? should i put it back where it was again? should there be a theme? but to be honest i had fun putting it together…i do so much editing and design with my day to day “job” it’s a pleasure to be working on something for myself. i will check out hony as well…

    • i will check out smug mug…i’ve looked into a whole mess of printers but haven’t heard of smugmug thank you for the recommendation and i’ll keep you updated for sure!

  2. That is depressing – at least you still have the files that can be reproduced elsewhere – although not much of a help right now. My wife has used XLibris and Author House for clients – both on demand printers/publishers. Let us know how this turns out and if you get any better suggestions for printers.

    • yes..i was surprised especially since i had used them before with great results (say great because one copy of a previous book had a page that only printed the red plate, but i called them and they fixed it)..albeit was a few years back since i have worked with them…maybe things have changed and they changed printers due to higher demand…i dunno. luckily i am using a print on demand and not held into any contract and still retain all my © rights. xlibris & author house i have read good things about and may look into going that way…it’s a little more pricy, but the choices and quality look superb. thank you very much for the recommendations

  3. Well that just bites entirely. So sorry to hear that.

    Here’s the good news: keep your manuscript in tact: resubmit to a new publisher.

    Voila. And I’m not even going to charge you.

    ;0) Seriously though, I published a book back in 2004 (my children’s book) and was super happy with the results. POD is the way to go, because you get paid with every new order and don’t have to pay for unordered inventory that might sit on a shelf. Self-promote (we all have to be promo-whores at the end of the day if we ever want to sell anything, and well, being our own product means we have to dance to the fiddle playing- like it or not) and set a dedicated time slot out of your day- whatever you can afford, but like 2 to 4 hours of focused, intense, book promos online- that’s the way to go, and you’ll recoup your startup money within a few weeks. It’s tough, laborious work! You should know: we have to work our butts off to sell a few prints, eh? But yes, the long and short of this is, keep your original manuscript and all of the rights and simply resubmit to a POD self-publisher (like Blurb, etc.) and then promote the crap out of it.

    Way to go on that, too. ;0) Great cover.
    I wish you all the best with it!


    • right? well the good news is i am using a print on demand and not held into any contract and still retain all my © rights etc..and this is the second recommendation i’ve gotten for blurb so i may give them a try. they have a landscape format and thicker matte paper choice option that looks perfect. i’d have to reformat the page orientation but that’s not really an issue as i think it would be an improvement. as far as promoting goes i’ve got a game plan together already to be a super promotion whore..i even have a cape. i’ll have to check out you book is it linked on your site? i’ll check…if not send me the link. thanks for your feedback!

  4. I can’t help you, unfortunately, but I can say the I feel your frustration. Did a yearbook almost single-handedly and was quite pissed at the print quality, which ranged from disappointing to toner needs to be refilled. I wish you luck! I love coffee table books and yours looks like a winner with the right printer!

  5. I am also sorry about your disappointing experience. I would call it maddening, infuriating. I did not quite understand if this was old fashioned vanity press, self published, on demand, or what, but I believe that when a new industry / company becomes established, the quality of services tends to drop for various reasons: make more money, sold out to others, etc. especially in a field as volatile as publishing, and so full of start-ups that must compete with each others. I have seen the work of Lulu, and I was not too impressed unless the author wants to pay top prices, and also pay foe an editor. When I researched the field for a client a few years ago it was till budding – it has now become full of everybody doing it, hence the bad surprises I think.
    My-son-in-law used Apple software from his Apple computer to publish some collections of his photos but it was not as a commercial enterprise, and he paid for top quality. He made only enough copies to give to family and friends, glossy pages, hard copy with color cover, they are beautifully rendered, perfect in color and lay out. The books look professionally done.

    I hope that your contract does not give the printer copyrights to your work, some of the less costly print-it-yourself-houses do it that way. If you retain the copyrights then you can submit your originals to another printer, but check if your contract allows you to do that, or if there are time limitations, other restrictions, etc. Many of these contracts are quite tricky in what they demand of an author.

    Good luck on your next enterprise! as an alternative you may want to consider to do an e-book….but careful with that too.

    PS: I hope that you have at least called them screaming at them, and mailed them (NOT emailed them) a formal protest for breach of contract on their part – quality is part of your contractual rights. The author generally gets to choose the size, hard or soft cover, the weight and type of paper, and other details of this kind. Didn’t you ?

    • yes i am using a print on demand/ self publisher and i couldn’t agree with you more about “companies becoming established, and the quality of services tends to drop for various reasons: make more money, sold out to others, etc. especially in a field as volatile as publishing, and so full of start-ups that must compete with each other” i believe this is what might have happened. higher demand lower quality…luckily i am using a print on demand and not held into any contract and still retain all my © rights etc..i did have some choices but because my book was in black & white i was limited in what was offered design wise. i am going to call and complain but am not expecting much…. i wouldn’t even want a free reprint it was that bad.

      i’ve gotten some good recommendations and feedback and i thank you for taking the time to reply!

  6. I’m very sorry for this Michael.

    I don’t have any experiences with printing companies or recommendations.
    The only printing company I can come up with is “blurb”.

  7. Hi, I feel your pain. I’ve used iUniverse and was happy with the book quality after a couple of go-arounds (I know that sinking feeling when you open the box and the quality is all wrong…) but they are way too expensive and I didn’t use them for my second book. (I used CreateSpace, Amazon’s print on demand. Quality = ok. But at the time, and maybe still, they don’t do hardcover.)
    I’m saving this page to my bookmarks so that I have a resource for my next two novels, which will be published in 2014 and 2015. Small consolation to you, but you’ve helped me out a lot with the collection of comments here. So, thanks.
    Best of luck with your choice of print house. I’ve heard good things about Author House but haven’t used them myself.

    • it’s the worst but i had a 50/50 feeling going into it. thanks for stopping by and your suggestions…i lit up for a moment when you mentioned amazon but darn..hardcover is a must for me…good luck with your novels…and no small consolidation if the collection of comments can help you or anyone interested in printing or general feedback/advice…i posted this with the idea that something positive could come of it, so glad to hear the comments are helpful to you.

  8. Woooww! I’m sorry for your disappointment yet a book!!!! Well done there!! I can’t recommend any printing company but let us know when your book is out for the public so we can get it 🙂

    • will do, i’ve received some great advice from others here on wordpress, so i look forward to eventually getting it printed again and will surely let everyone know when its out! thanks for your comment!

  9. Sorry for your hassles, but thanks for this post – it’s good to learn about the process. I’ve just done a desk calendar (for family) and promotional materials but had that bad-box-opening moment. I was just going to chalk it up to ‘Babow. Try another printer’. But think after reading yours here, I’ll see if they can fix it first (whilst going elsewhere next time). Good luck on the new do.

    • yes i know how you feel…luckily i received some excellent comments here and going to keep everyone updated..good luck to you and i hope you get the print you want as well. thanks for stopping by and your comment

  10. I self-published my first book at the end of August. It took me six years to write and 3 months for the self-publisher to mess me up. Once they take your money, you’re on your own. Their editing wasn’t comprehensive. I could’ve used some pointers, instead of having my tenses changed around. With the help of and fellow authors, I self-edited twice. I also found a proofreader who made corrections throughout my book. I’m doing my last group of edits next week.
    The point of this long story is to show that you can’t give up. If you make a mistake, pick yourself up and fix it. I’m selling Nooks and Kindles. And hopefully, after the next edit, I’ll sell even more.
    Never Give Up.

    • thank you so much for your comment, i totally understand and one thing for sure…i will not give up…trying a new company now and should be expecting much better results…

  11. I’m sorry to hear that. I guess it’s just a part of our artistic journey…the price we pay for expression. I wish you the best and would love to know when you release that book! Sherrie

  12. Very few things/events are worse than the disappointment of a failed project when the final step (the printer) fails to produce what you expect. I do whole heartedly sympathise with you, I deal with the printing industry on a daily basis so there’s experience there.

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