A while back we decided to put together a coffee table book, celebrating the first twenty years of composite drawings to emerge from the DS Art Studio. What a fun idea: fifty-six of our most popular pictures, tucked neatly into a single 80-page volume.
At the time we were advised that publishing a hardbound art book was a fool’s errand. Nobody buys art books, we were told, by several big-name publishers (some of which are still in business). You do good work, but you’re unknown artist. There’s no market for unknowns. No need to rub it in. My kids think I’m famous, and that’s a start, right?
So, we decided to self-publish. Plenty of unsolicited advice followed that consideration, too. Better start small. Print on demand. Otherwise, how will you ever get rid of a thousand copies? Well, we weren’t sure. It was an academic problem, anyway, since we didn’t really have the money to get that many books printed at all, much less have them distributed to book stores all across the country.
Enter our esteemed List of Loyal Customers. It turned out that many of the people who enjoyed looking at these funny pictures also liked the idea of seeing them gathered together in a book – so much so that they actually agreed to purchase copies before the books were printed, and even paid for them ahead of time! Their response was so encouraging, in fact, that we were able to double our initial order, and produce two thousand copies. Take that, publishers!
Book dealers remained skeptical, however. Distributors scoffed. Lacking the imprimatur of a bona fide publishing house, few booksellers were willing to take on an amateur publication by a (still) unknown artist. So, aside from a handful of art galleries and neighborhood bookstores, our distribution network was quickly limited to the DS Art Studio, our web site, and our annual tour of art shows.
It took a while, but as news of the book spread, its popularity grew, and in time the waist-high stacks of book boxes that cluttered the floors of our studio melted away to nothing more than a handful of individual copies.
Which left us with an interesting dilemma: Do we undertake another massive fundraising campaign to re-print the hardbound volume, or should we try and produce a more cost-effective paperback edition? In the end, we took the cheaper way out.
That made it easier for us, and offered a significant a price break for our customers. Since 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of DS Art, we thought it would be reasonable to price these new paperbacks accordingly, at 25 bucks each.
We are happy to report that just like before, the new books are stacked all around the studio, and they’re going fast. You can find them on Amazon, or right here at DSArt.com. (Yes, they make excellent gifts!)