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Thread: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Really happy that Graham has weighed in for you. What wonderful, specific, timely advice. Obviously he has been through the self publishing process fairly recently, and I was proud to be part of the Kickstarter campaign that brought his fine book to fruition. The result of his efforts is a reference work that will serve fretted instrument enthusiasts for years to come.

    Graham makes a great case for self publishing versus going though a publisher. It’s way more work but the bottom line is much better. I did want to give a +1 on proofreading. You can not proofread your own copy. You become blind to your own mistakes. Even after multiple proof readings things somehow sneak in. Even Graham’s fine book has a few examples of errata. Sorry Graham, but it’s true, and I’ll bet you know where they are and what I’m talking about! But perfection is elusive and can be the enemy of excellence.

    Alison, you say you don’t have a lot of time to put into this, and you want to put the profits into the building. You may have to compromise a bit on that. I submit that the hardest part is already done- the writing. What you need is an editor. Someone to sift through it, pick and choose the best, and organize it into a professional looking end product. Ideally, it should be someone who has an interest in vintage instruments, is familiar with the store and Stan, and has professional editorial skills. Does such a person exist? I don’t know. But to get someone to do this, it won’t be gratis. A true professional will expect some payment up front and a percentage of the action down the road. That will reduce your bottom line, but would most likely be worth it in the long run because a professional looking product will sell better than a homemade looking one.
    Don

    Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    Weber Bitterroot A
    Fender Octave Mandolin

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  3. #27

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Alison, First of all, good luck on your project it sounds like it could have potential. Having published 2 books (plant related topics, not music) I thought I would see if I could add anything to this discussion. First of all, you might want to ask yourself why are you doing this? Preserving memories, making money? Be honest. Seems like an obvious question but writing and publishing a book is a tremendous amount of work. Think in terms of a thousand hours rather than a couple of hundred. I know this seems like a lot, especially if much is already written, but the hours will add up. I believe that almost every book written has had the author saying "if I had known it would be this much work I never would have started it".
    The second question is related to the first one, what do you want to get out of it? Finding someone to publish it, if you can, saves a lot of work. It also, unfortunately doesn't pay very well. Publishers that I talked with told me I would be lucky to clear $2. for every $20 book that was sold. That was before returns. Most publishers won't touch a book unless they are certain they will sell a given amount. For a small publisher that might be about 2500 copies.
    You can make much better money self publishing. Also, you have complete control of its contents. The drawback here is that your sales will be in proportion to how much time an hustle you invest in it. If you decide to self publish be prepared to hire professional editors and graphics folks. You will also have to learn to deal with the on line sellers and that presents its own challenges.
    A compromise might be to farm the project out to someone who has publishing experience and familiarity with the subject. A deal could be worked out to split the proceeds. You and Eric could write the forward. It all comes down to how much time, energy and money you want to invest.
    Hope I don't sound like a wet blanket on a very worthwhile project but wanted to inject some true life experience into the discussion. Good Luck Jim

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Where should you go, who should you contact for such a book project?
    Here are two names
    Nacho banos, who published the blackguard, a coffe table book about early tele casters, and a beauty, self published, gorgeous print and binding
    Jonathan kellerman, author of With strings attached, a gorgeous book about his coolection of instruments, ballantine books,
    And
    Tom van hoose, author, the gibson super 400, gpi books.

    Send a letter with your info, ask to pick brains on if and how to sell a book.

    No i dont know them. I did exchange posts with tom about super 400s.
    I think you can find kind help.

    Yours will be a niche book, and these authors have all been there.
    Best of luck.

    Ps posted while above was being posted.

  6. #29
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    I would be interested in the book (who doesn't love "eye candy" with a little humor thrown in,) but I have nothing to offer as to how to get the job done, other than the idea of a possible college/university project.

  7. #30

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    I love the Blackguard book and the Bigsby book and really there have been so many great coffee table books with great photographs -- but do we need another big $100 book? (or whatever big coffee table books go for these days...) Like Mike said, I think Stan's writing on the subject is enough to stand alone, without the pictures. Agreed, we already know what a Les Paul looks like, etc. It is a collection of humorous writing on the subject of vintage instruments. I'm thinking something about this size of the Charlie Louvin book. Small and affordable, and you can pack it to read on the plane, unlike most coffee table books. Keep the size and photos to a minimum and you might actually make a profit!
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Feb-15-2018 at 10:04pm.

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  9. #31
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    What a great idea. A collection of the Vintage News alone would be fabulous. Stan's descriptions of the instruments and the recreated photos would be enough for me. Good luck with the project Alison.

    Tom

  10. #32
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Hello again Alison!

    I had some more thoughts for you. I knew your proposal reminded me of something similar but I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I’ve been working on downsizing and reorganizing my book collection lately and I found it. Another famous New York music store was Manny’s. You remember them, don’t you? Do you remember what made them distinctive? It was all those autographed pictures on the wall. I guess at some point, someone must have thought it was a good idea to do a book on all those pictures. I’m looking at the book right now. It’s called “The Wall of Fame- New York City’s Legendary Manny’s Music”. It is published by Hal Leonard, copyright 2007, written by Manny’s son and granddaughter. If you could locate a copy of it you could see what your book could be like. It’s a paperback that sold for 24.95 at the time. Paul Simon wrote the forward, and there are other celebrity rememberances. I know your father had a lot of celebrity customers and maybe some of them could be persuaded to share some memories. I think we don’t need another big expensive coffee table book on vintage instruments. There are a plethora of those. A reasonably priced high quality trade paperback would be more useful and a much better seller, in my opinion. Going through a major publisher like Hal Leonard would mean it probably wouldn’t make much money for you personally, but they may be the best choice if the main priority is preservation of your father’s legacy.
    Don

    Weber Custom Bitterroot F
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    Fender Octave Mandolin

  11. #33

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    I visited Mandolin Bros. once back in 2012 or 13 when researching The Mandolin and you father generously let me loose in the shop to take photos and document the mandolins. That kindness was a great help.

    Self publishing is quite practical, but you need a few specific skills and a fair bit of time. You have to be reasonably proficient with Photoshop and InDesign (or the equivalent) and they are not cheap and the learning curves are steep. You also need some level of graphic design sense to put together an attractive publication. You can publish a book with Word and a basic image editor, but they almost always look like that is what has been used. And it takes time, a lot of hours! You need people who can proofread (a whole skill in itself) as well as others who understand the subject to read through and offer editorial suggestions and advice.

    Printing once yoo have a finished book is relatively simple. There are lots of good printers around and modern full colour digital printing is quite cheap. They just need a high quality pdf. 2000 copies will cost $10-20K for full colour (depends on the page count of course). Kickstarter could be used to effectively pre-sell enough copies to pay for all the printing and postage for the pre-sales.

    The hard thing is distribution. Some of the bigger printing companies will warehouse the books and ship them to retailers when orders come in, but they will charge you a percentage for that service. It means you have to take orders and process them for the 'fulfilment' service. You might end with 25-30% of the retail price, which is still better than a royalty from a publisher which is likely to be around 10% of the wholesale price (that is 5% of retail and you can bet they will find extra deductions to charge which will eat away at that)

    Finding a publisher is hard. For music books Hal Leonard and Mel Bay own that market and I suspect they have many more offers of books than they know what to do with. Hal Leonard has an imprint, Backbeat Books, that Walter Carter used for his book on the Mandolin in America and it would be worthwhile making a phone call or two and asking.

    Happy to advise and help where I can, but I am a long way away. Feel free to email or PM.

    Cheers,
    Such a help, thank you so much! In fact, Graham, I not only have a copy of your book at the store but I also donated to your kickstarter. A wonderful and resourceful book!

    I think what I've previously mentioned may have been misunderstood, I don't want anyone to do any work on this FOR FREE! Trust me, I know what a struggle it is putting all your time into something that feels like it produces no results. However, I cannot stop doing what Im already doing (selling/ researching/ organizing the stuff for eBay, of which we have many thousands more things that aren't even on eBay yet) since that is the only thing paying off the overhead of the building right now.

    As I take I all your advice I'm considering going in a different direction. Nothing is final of course, but my latest feelings are something I can accomplish myself. Maybe I can make a webpage with downloadable links to Vintage News, old Catalogs and some photos. This alone would take many hours (and perhaps a class on building web pages, which honestly I wouldn't mind learning anyway). This seems easier and a burden I could take on myself... someday... maybe when some of the current burdens are fulfilled.

    Again, thank you to all who commented. I knew you guys would be best audience to hear from.

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  13. #34
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    I'd buy the book. A visit to Mandolin Brothers besides being always a good time was also a good excuse to stop by a Staten Island Italian pork store or get some pizza. Pastosa Ravioli rules!

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  15. #35

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlisonJay View Post
    Maybe I can make a webpage with downloadable links to Vintage News, old Catalogs and some photos.
    I personally would love something like that. Just reading the old ads would be super, and scanning them and getting them online is the easiest way to get this content out there.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Sigh. I’m actually sorry to hear that. Web sites are fine, and have their place. But I was really hoping for s book. I love books. I have s very large collection of the. Some are kind of rare, some are a bit unusual on some way, some are common, but all are something that floats my boat. Guess you could call me a bibliophile, or a throwback, whatever. There’s just something special about having an actual book in your hand.
    Don

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  18. #37

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Sigh. Iím actually sorry to hear that. Web sites are fine, and have their place. But I was really hoping for s book. I love books. I have s very large collection of the. Some are kind of rare, some are a bit unusual on some way, some are common, but all are something that floats my boat. Guess you could call me a bibliophile, or a throwback, whatever. Thereís just something special about having an actual book in your hand.
    Well, I definitely haven't made any decisions yet! Really the whole project (either way) boils down to how much time we have to get it all together.

  19. #38

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    I would be the first in line to buy such s book! I respectfully disagree with Steve above, in that yes, there should be pictures, but the main attraction would be Stanís inimitable prose! Your father was a walking, talking encyclopedia of instrument knowledge, with a unique sense of humor that made his instrument descriptions come alive. But mixed in with that humor was much factual knowledge, details about the features and construction that were perhaps obscure and not generally known. That is the sort of thing that should be preserved, and it would become a valuable reference and most certainly a must read for any fretted instrument aficionado.



    My only advice would be, obviously including every single instrument that came through the doors would be too big a project. Nor would it be necessary to include every single Martin D18, Gibson F5L, etc. you should be selective and pick the very best examples for each. Not the best instrument example, but the best example of Stanís prose. Thatís the main attraction, at last as far as Iím concerned.

    Respectfully, and not as push back, but so that Allison knows there are different wants, i know well the flowery descriptions, as iread them for many years, and these would not appeal to me, especially alone or with small photos. Its like loving chocolate or vanilla. No right or wrong, just different preferences. I mention it, because as a niche effort, i would think one would want to please as many as possible within the instrument "porn" niche, widening the market.

  20. #39

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Sigh. I’m actually sorry to hear that. Web sites are fine, and have their place. But I was really hoping for s book. I love books. I have s very large collection of the. Some are kind of rare, some are a bit unusual on some way, some are common, but all are something that floats my boat. Guess you could call me a bibliophile, or a throwback, whatever. There’s just something special about having an actual book in your hand.
    I hear you. I am a librarian! I just figure it's much more likely for us to get the scanned catalogs than anything else.

    Slightly off-topic, but I am at a university library, and over the past couple of years we've moved most of our print books to off-site storage. It's mostly study space now. Even if you have bibliophilic tendencies (and I do), constant exposure to this way of thinking tends to wear you down....

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    I would buy a book...
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  22. #41

    Default Re: Mandolin Brothers Book of Vintage News/ Photos?

    Allison:

    Yes I absolutely would purchase such a book. I have bought many instruments there over the years.

    On my last trip when I purchased a martin 00-15, I was playing it when your father came up from behind with a guitar in his hand and said "Does that song have words"? We then jammed for a good fifteen minutes before he was called on an order. I truly miss your store!

    Many, many years ago ( probably late 70's or 80's )I received a call to play fiddle with Smokey Warren. He had gotten my number from a local country singer that I played with occasionally. I Had never heard of Smokey. When I came into your store for new strings, there was a huge picture of smokey Warren, as soon as you walked in. I asked your father about him and he proceeded to tell me all about him and congratulated me about getting to play with him. By the time I got to the festival that day, Smokey had another fiddle player lined up. Just as well since my nerves were jolted by Smokey's picture. Such a huge coincidence.

    Hope to see the book soon!

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