We love all aspects of publishing: We love self publishing, and we love it when people strike out and land publishing deals. This week, our Five Questions post is devoted to the latter. Christopher Logan is an actor, fundraiser, and photographer wrangler. His book, dr.a.g. (dressed as girl), is a gorgeous photo book profiling some pretty big names in drag including Joey Arias, Lady Bunny, and the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It will be published worldwide in May by Tectum Publishers, but its first incarnation was as a Blurb book. We talked with Logan about the nature of the project and how to get a book published using Blurb.
Blurb: How did the idea for this book come about? And what was your role in it?
Logan: I was originally going to do short runs of a few different coffee table books on subjects like Pro Fighters, Women in Fitness, Drag Queens, etc. When I started explaining to a curious friend who asked, ‘why drag?’, I ended up answering so many questions on the subject in a respectful, forthright and honest way, that I realized I was the ‘connection’ to make that book happen, and it became bigger than expected and better than expected.
My role was the concept itself: a book on drag to raise money for a film on drag, and I contacted, and gathered all the photos, wrote and got all the releases signed, and compiled everything for the book. I then connected with graphic designer Mamio Marais, and we put the book together.
Blurb: How many publishers did you approach with the idea, and how many books did you end up ordering and sending out?
Logan: I originally approached quite a few publishers before producing the book, but no one would open the attachments, or see me without known representation, etc. When I was researching who would be the target publisher for the book, I happened upon a note saying the Tectum Publishers was seeking ‘more controversial’ subject matter.
I sent an email introduction of myself and what I was doing with a few sample photos, saying ‘would you be interested in seeing the final book in a few months time?’ To which they replied, ‘yes, please keep us in the loop.’ And we did.
I figured we were a good fit. Between Tectum Publishers and an agent in New York, I only produced two books.
Blurb: What tool did you use to make the book?
Logan: Graphic designer Mamio and I used Adobe InDesign to produce the book. Originally, it was a smaller size (11×17 inches)… one that would have been feasible for me to print and sell online, but Philippe De Baeck at Tectum suggested if mass produced, a larger book with a higher page count would be the way to go. So we revised. He said, “the more I look at it, the more I like it”.
Philippe was great at guiding me through the process to make our prototype book into the larger full-scale model it is today. There was a lot of back and forth during the editing process, but we ended up with a book that is miles above our original, but still true to it’s feel.
Blurb: Do you think having the book in full, professional-quality presentation helped?
Logan: Very much. When trying to sell a publisher on an ‘impulse buy’ item, that first look appeal is extremely important and it shines more brightly with great production and quality on your side.
Blurb: What advice would you give others who are looking to shop their books around to publishers?
Logan: Know it’s a work-in-progress until it hits the store… and know that they know that too! The ability to constantly revise your work and go with the flow when working with someone who knows the marketplace and its needs, is invaluable.