This haunt must have an interesting story. It’s where I’ll be if I write this series! Image © Jain Lemos.

Yesterday’s post on Book Production Schedules led to a reader asking me to write a blog series on producing documentary books. I’m flattered! Well, it would be a long series and something tricky for a blog format but it’s not a bad idea. This morning I came up with 33 chapters and I know I am missing a few.

The documentary book is vastly different from publishing a solo photographer’s images in a large format book. I’ve done both and can assure you that documentary titles have unique parts that require a professional, experienced producer. In publishing lingo, this role is also called a book packager and I’ve learned from the best in the business.

The Ultimate Guide to Producing Documentary Books

by Jain Lemos

  1. Getting Started
  2. Shaping the Subject
  3. Planning Distribution
  4. Planning Sales
  5. Figuring Timing
  6. Setting Absolutes
  7. Determining Specifications
  8. Developing a Budget
  9. Organizing Systems
  10. Scheduling Production
  11. Building a Team
  12. Assigning and Structuring Photography
  13. Hiring a Printer
  14. Finding Design Concepts
  15. Creating Marketing Materials
  16. Editing Images
  17. Sequencing the Book
  18. Writing a Manuscript
  19. Writing Captions
  20. Licensing Supplemental Content
  21. Designing the Pages
  22. Designing the Cover
  23. Reviewing Layouts
  24. Dealing with Changes
  25. Proofing Everything
  26. Getting Approvals
  27. Submitting Mechanicals
  28. Going on Press
  29. Shipping Books
  30. Launching
  31. Managing Fulfillment
  32. Coordinating Publicity
  33. Starting the Next Book

While we’re on the number, here is a list with 33 ways to stay creative. Naturally, “finish something” is last!