I was listening to a podcast when one of the guests said something about Chat Books. They said they print off all of their Instagram pics into a book that way they have a record of taking the pictures. While this isn’t a new idea, I decided to check it out. Only this year have I started to scan all of the collages I send to folks. I scan and then add them to a folder on my computer. From there I make them into all types of other things, most notably Xeroxed broadsides. I reused the images over and over, put them into different contexts, and mail them out again. It’s a practical process. For the first book I made I put a bunch of these collages for about forty dollars. I accidently made two of these. I got the book back and was immediately impressed. Like an idiot I begin thinking about how I could use this to make other stuff besides simply keeping a record of old work.
|The front cover my visage and a light Richard C. reference.|
The first thought was to make a book of collages, just some of my favorites, and see if people were interested. Thankfully the site is order as you go which helps to keep down cost. Buying a bunch at once that no one is ever going to buy doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I put together a book of 30 collages I thought were interesting. These 30 were out of about 200 I’d made throughout the year. The total for each book was around $15.00. I ended up getting 12 people through Facebook that said they were interested in buying one. Honestly I thought I’d put it out there and no one would care. Normally this is how things work, get excited about something you’ve made and then watch no one give a shit. Unless it’s stickers or some decorative piece there’s generally little interest.
I directly asked the first people that said they were interested in a copy about the price. Most thought that $25.00 was too little especially considering it would cost about $5 to ship. Before I ordered 12 books at almost $200.00 no one had paid. Once I ordered them I contacted everyone and thankfully some of them sent me money through PayPal almost immediately. I was honestly nervous. Asking people to give you money is even harder than asking them to give you a little attention. Nine people came through in the first couple of days with cash. The three people that didn’t pay are folks that I know well and see every week. I know where they live, I can steal things form their porches if they don’t pay. While I’m only going to make about $40.00 on the whole print, I’m not going to lose money which means it’s a total success. Breaking even was the only goal. Someone even contacted me about a copy after I’d sent in the order, second press!
|Some of the pages...so much red.|
Seconds before I clicked “order” I had second thoughts. In my head I expected to lose so much money. A little voice appeared and said, “Don’t worry about it…go for it” and then I clicked “order.” I’m cheap, I don’t take big swings, so it was nice to make an effort and have folks to respond positively.
I had to mail out seven of them and then I dropped off the other five. One of my favorite things is to drop off packages to people’s houses without them seeing me do it. I hate when people come out of the house to see me scurrying away. I left one of them on someone’s front door that lives on a somewhat busy road. When I pulled away I immediately thought someone was going to steal it as they walked by. I could imagine their disappointed faces as they opened the package and saw a bunch of random bits of paper and a wrapped 6x6 book of random collages. Getting an add and pass from a robber would be my greatest achievement.
|I wrapped all of them in this old wrapping paper.|
The second book is already planned. I doubt anyone will have interest in this idea, which is to compile my favorite circular reflector pictures. You know the ones you often see in basements of parking decks, yeah those. I take a lot of them and from all around the world. Putting them together would be interesting visually…I think. If no one else is interested in the book at least I’ll have a copy for myself. I might have to wait until the New Year until I offer it to folks, considering that the people who bought the first one, would be the people probably be the ones to buy the second one.