Pre-order Explore & Discover ESSEX by Justin Minns
Pre-order Explore & Discover THE INNER HEBRIDES by Chris Swan
Pre-order Explore & Discover THE OUTER HEBRIDES by Chris Swan
Pre-order Explore & Discover THE INNER & OUTER HEBRIDES (both books) – a better deal.
Pre-order Explore & Discover LIVERPOOL (later in September) by Geoff Drake
First I must thank you for buying fotoVUE titles. Your support is invaluable and your feedback. Number one in our priorities is how can we make the books, not only beautiful and inspirational to look at and useful to plan trips whilst at home, but how can we make them more useful so that when you visit an area you have a great time and get the best opportunities to take great photographs. (No guarantees about the weather and light of course, although information in the books about weather and where the light falls in an area will help)
CHALLENGING TIMES AND A SOLUTION
The last several months I have been working things out as well as working on new titles. As we all know these are economically challenging times for most. Publishing has become especially challenging with costs increasing significantly, and there have been some casualties recently with some publishers closing up shop and even National Geographic have ceased their paper editions. Add to that the increased complications and expense with shipping and then there is artificial intelligence (AI) – see below.
Just before lockdown we published George Johnson’s Photographing London Volume 1, and printed more than usual in anticipation of strong sales with Volume 2 to follow soon after. Then lockdown occurred and no-one could go anywhere, London was a ghost town. We had to delay Volume 2, and discount Volume 1. We published two titles, Robert Harvey’s Photographing Wiltshire and Anita Nicholson’s Photographing Northumberland in the midst of the lockdowns, then Alyn’s Photographing Night Sky in August 2022 (seconds sale here of that title), plus we have had several title reprints.
All this put some strain on cash flow and I have had to do some sorting out as regards production and the publication schedule. Several authors, with a great deal of hard work, have completed their books and we have a backlog of titles to publish. BUT we now have several people engaged in editing and preparing these titles for layout, and several are being laid out right now.
Nathan Ryder is our principle designer and he works with me on book design and layout, we are continually improving our books. We have recently produced a new book template (no major changes) and also have enlisted several people to do layout. At the same time Don Williams our map maker has a busy schedule of map production. In fact Don is as usual ahead of the game.
One alternative was to put a pause on publication and concentrate on sales and marketing of the existing titles whilst building cash reserves for new titles/reprints. I discounted this as this would further delay publication and both authors and readers have waited long enough. We are now accelerating publication working on multiple titles at the same time. However…..
BUY DIRECT FROM US IF YOU CAN
If you can please buy direct from us, and please tell your friends or grab an image of a book and a link and share on social media.
People buying pre-orders and buying books from this website is of prime (excuse the pun) importance, consider that we only get 40% of the RRP if you buy off Amazon, for a book with an RRP of £25 we get £10 and out of that comes everything: author’s royalties, printing costs, layout, editing and mapping costs, tax, investment in new titles and running costs of the business ( I pay myself minimum wage). If you can, please buy direct from us, and please tell your friends or grab an image of a book and a link and share on social media.
EXPLORE & DISCOVER
We are also rolling out the new title for our books starting with reprints and new titles. The titles have changed, but the content remains the same.
Scrolling through Outer Hebrides.The music playing along with the video is from the album, Black Cuillin by Duncan Chisholm (website), who along with Julie Fowlis (website), have written the forewords to Chris’s Hebrides books.
SO WHAT IS NEXT?
The next four titles are: Explore and Discover Liverpool by Geoff Drake, Explore and Discover Hebrides (two volumes) by Chris Swan and we have a curve ball in there, Explore and Discover Essex by Justin Minns.
As regards Essex, I’ll explain, as it did jump the queue. We produced a new book template in April, which was sent to Dougie Cunningham, Vicky Barlow, Justin Minns and James Rushforth, who are all doing layout along with Nathan. Within 6-weeks Justin had laid out Essex which he had been working on. Consequently Justin has been contracted to work on some other titles and his Essex will be published this year – and it is stunning.
We hope to get all four out in time for Christmas.
As regards other new titles, Dougie Cunningham will soon start to layout London Volume 2 for publication next year. Dougie is also working on our Scotland series, including two Scotland titles authored by Dougie. We also have several second editions in preparation.
After the four titles this year, the next are Adrian Hendroff’s Explore and Discover Dublin, Casper Farrell’s Explore and Discover Bath, Beata Moore’s Explore and Discover Surrey and Suffolk and Sarah Howard’s Explore and Discover The Cotswolds. Then more.
Here is the list of new titles apart from the Scotland series and second editions. I must stress, that although there is an order here, they may not appear in the order shown, but I am actively pushing each title to publication, and we have to spread them out a little to help with cash flow and make sure we are aggressive in their marketing. As we get close to sending a book to print we will announce its imminent publication.
NEW & NEXT
Out December 2023: Explore & Discover ESSEX by Justin Minns
Out December 2023: Explore & Discover THE INNER HEBRIDES by Chris Swan
Out December 2023: Explore & Discover THE OUTER HEBRIDES by Chris Swan
Out December 2023: Explore & Discover LIVERPOOL by Geoff Drake
Maps started, layout starting October: Explore & Discover DUBLIN by Adrian Hendroff
Maps to do 1, maps after Dublin maps: Explore & Discover BATH by Casper Farrell
Maps Done, layout starting October: Explore & Discover THE COTSWOLDS by Sarah Howard
Maps Done, layout starting October: Explore & Discover SURREY & SUSSEX by Beata Moore
Maps Done, layout starting October: Photographing LONDON Vol 2 by George Johnson
Maps to do 2: Explore & Discover KENT by Alex Hare
Maps to do 3: Explore & Discover YORKSHIRE DALES by Lizzie Shepherd
Maps to do 4: Explore & Discover CHESHIRE by Alan Novelli
Maps to do 5: Explore & Discover THE NORTH WEST by Lee Metcalfe
Maps to do 6: Explore & Discover NORTH YORK MOORS & COAST by Michael Cartwright
SECOND EDITIONS To be announced
As you can imagine the workload is considerable, and personally I’m making sure I get out climbing, biking or cold-water swimming regularly, practicing Gaelic whistle, daily cold showers and eating healthily, to offset the long hours in front of the screen.
APPS AND E-BOOKS
Another task is to launch geo-location apps for the books and e-books, and I’m starting the search for a company or individual to develop these later in the year. If you have any recommendations please let me know.
These are the plans. It’s risky, however with good sales and not too many external factors mucking up the economy all should we well. And on a final note….
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
Many publishers are rightly worried about artificial intelligence (AI), even if it does have some benefits. Unscrupulous individuals are using Amazon’s print-on-demand system to publish books created by AI along with fake author images and populated with hundreds of fake 5-star reviews. I got stung myself whilst researching growing micro-greens, two books were full of gobbledygook. The text is generated by AI and is often inaccurate, and in some cases dangerous (Mushroom pickers urged to avoid foraging books on Amazon) and it is particularly bad in the travel guidebook sector (fotoVUE is in this sector) with many new titles getting 100% on AI detection tests (A New Frontier for Travel Scammers: A.I.-Generated Guidebooks). Several media have now banned ChatGPT, the owner of OpenAI from trawling and stealing their content. AI can help of course, but is no substitute for local knowledge as all are authors are.
I really like what the amazing photographer Niall Benvie has done with his work labelling it with, “made using human intelligence’ and I am considering doing something similar.
Happy exploring and photography, and hopefully this warm weather in the UK will turn the tomatoes.