Well, I have to submit a proposal first, but it’s a pretty good bet that I’ll be writing one of their Images of America books. After all, they sent me a packet and some books for reference, as well as financial information.
You’ve probably seen these books before, and here are what a couple of the Montana titles look like:
Looking through the 60 Montana books they have, it’s clear that most of the state’s major areas are represented. Not all are, however, and these are some areas that I feel could work:
- Canyon Ferry Lake
- Flathead County
- Flathead Lake
- Gallatin County
- The Helena Valley
- The Hi-Line
- Lake County
- Lewis & Clark Caverns
- Lewis & Clark County
- Missoula County
- Montana’s Chinese
- Montana’s War Memorials
- Pintler Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Highway
- Ravalli County
- Silver Bow County
- Teton County
- Wolf Creek
- Yellowstone County
You can probably tell that I’m looking at two things: books that haven’t been written, and books that have a potential market. I figure the Flathead area has the most potential, as that area is growing. I figured the same about Billings, but that area has already been written about…twice. I don’t just want to write books, after all, I want to sell them too. Duplicate books don’t sell that well.
Costs are a factor in all of this. Arcadia Publishing gives no advances, though I may get a reduced rate on historical society images. If I want to travel to an area, however, that’s on my own dime. And it’s not like I’ll be making bank from these books – the royalty rate is just 8%, and on a cover price of $21.99 that means I get $1.75 for every copy sold. That’s pretty low, especially considering that I get $2.06 for Amazon books priced at $2.99. Traditional publishing, what can you say – they’re dying. That means you do all the work, they make all the profit.
Nonetheless, writing a book like this allows me to become a hybrid author, one with both self-published books and traditionally-published books. Plus I’ll have a book in the library with my name on it. That’s a nice feeling. On top of it, this is subject matter that I like and am interested in, so I consider it a win-win. What’s more, we can get these awesome Montana stories out there for current and future generations to enjoy.
Thankfully this company has put out more than 9,000 titles since they started more than twenty years ago. And even though it seems like many of the main Montana areas are taken up, there are many that haven’t. In fact, there’s a lot of potential…and I saw that by looking at the Oregon books.
Oregon is a state I’ve visited a lot over the years, and they have a lot of books for that state. Actually, they have a lot of series. Yeah, Arcadia Publishing does a whole range of series, as you can see here:
- Legendary Locals of Ashland: The Legendary Locals series is great, and I find it hard to believe that one of Montana’s many cities hasn’t put one of these together yet. It’s a shame, actually. Will all of our aging seniors, some of these stories need to be told…and soon.
- Lighthouses and Life-Saving on the Oregon Coast: This is a great example of how you can take a common theme and profile areas all over the state. In this case it’s lighthouses up and down the coast, and probably a lot more. There’s a lot of potential for statewide Images of Montana books.
- Columbia River Gorge: Here’s another one that profiles a wider, more fluid area as opposed to one that’s more specific and static. This book is also part of what may be a larger series focused on the Oregon Trail. This is where I think the Hi-Line has potential.
- Oregon & Northwestern Railroad: This book is part of the Images of Rail series, and with Montana’s rich railroad history, I’m again wondering why one of these books haven’t been written. Can anyone say the Milwaukee Road?
- Portland Speedway: Images of Sports is the series that this book belongs to, and it’s yet another that Montana has no entries in. Are there sporting areas or events that Montana can do? How about the Cat-Griz game? I’m sure there’d be plenty of images for that, and the book would sell.
- Area 51: Alright, this one is in Nevada and not Oregon, but it’s a good book to profile what we could do for Malmstrom Air Force Base. In fact, there are probably a few areas we could do in the Images of Aviation series…but this one sounds interesting. I really think there’s a lot of potential for a Montana UFO book, considering my current UFO post gets so much traffic. Are there enough images, however?
Well, those are my thoughts. I’d love to hear what you’re interested in, so if you can think of some areas that might work, let me know. Thanks for reading!