Orange Frazer Custom Books

Books in the Age of Impressions: Part One

My job is to convey the message about our services to people who wish to publish a book. This includes tracking how clients come to us. I’m interested in how they find us, as it helps me adjust our marketing. When I look back at how current and potential clients have found us, the most common pathway is through one of our books. But how do you track or quantify the impact of a book as a marketing tool?

It’s more straightforward in the online world. We now have the ability to track and quantify nearly everything we put online. I can pull up the Google Analytics page for our Orange Frazer website and know how long people spend on each page, which page leads people to the contact page, which page causes people to stop reading, etc. I can track how many people are new visitors or returning visitors and how many of them visit on a desktop computer, smart phone, or tablet.

Most important, I can track the number of impressions my content may have, which means I can also create new and better content, and update its layout and structure, so that it reaches more people and garners more impressions.

But how do we, then, quantify the “impressions” of a book? This is answered through two specific questions

1. If I print 10,000 books, am I limited to 10,000 impressions? 2. Can you compare books and websites as marketing tools?

I believe the answer to the first query is no, and following is why.

Cleveland photography, Jennie Jones
Cleveland photography, Jennie Jones

We produce books for private clients all the time. These books end up on bookshelves, in stores, on coffee tables, and in gift shops, each book with a finite number of copies and a predetermined retail price. A few years ago, we worked with Cleveland photographer Jennie Jones to produce her collection of Cleveland architectural photography, Cleveland Inside Outside. While she printed a finite number of books, sold a finite number of books, and kept a finite number of books, people have interacted with her book in not-so-finite ways, and it’s led to various outcomes.

For example, I recently received an email query from a photographer living in Paris, who, on his most recent trip to Ohio, visited the Cleveland Museum of Art and saw Jennie Jones’s book. He felt it akin to his vision for his own work, so he contacted us to learn more about what we do. Someone else may have also seen and flipped through this book without purchasing—in fact, who knows how many people looked through the book in the gift shop, and who knows how many people will now remember Jennie Jones’ photography, or the unique design of the book?

Another example: we recently met with a university committee about producing an anniversary book, and we left a number of our books with the committee members to show to the board. One of these board members happened to have an entirely independent book in mind, saw one of our books, and came to us about her own project. We will now be publishing her book as well. The books, passed around to a group, and then discussed with family and friends, were experienced tenfold.

We are currently producing a memoir for a local farmer and Vietnam War veteran. How did he discover us? Through the book of Clinton County photography currently sitting on the coffee tables of local banks, political offices, residents, and community liaisons.

While each copy of a book is finite, the number of people a single book can reach is anything but.

So, to answer the second question of comparing books and websites as marketing tools: kind of. We can use similar language in our comparison: impression, as a term, is useful when discussing print materials. However, there is still the question of tracking a physical product. Maybe someday we will know when you turn a page, dog-ear a corner, or Google the author. We are coming closer to this with e-books. But for now, we’ll focus on how to leverage the potential impressions of a book for marketing—in part two.

Not Just Another Cookbook: Before and After

We don’t always have the opportunity to share a “before” image of an Orange Frazer creation. If you know our lead designer, Brittany, you know that she usually makes the magic happen with nothing but a manuscript and her own creative juices as her guide. However, for our recent cookbook project with custom client Colleen Brethen, we were given a mock-up of the book that she had been using prior to professionally publishing her recipes. It was a spiral bound collection she had put together herself, with a plastic cover (to protect from splattering, no doubt!), and cardstock pages. She asked us to create a glossy, professionally designed cookbook for her, and that we did! Colleen’s project had our creative team drooling every single day (it could be scientifically verified that our collective calorie intake quadruples when we are designing cookbooks), and we’re so excited to share the “before and after” images (excuse us while we break out the office cookies).

book publishing services, Not Just Another Cookbook
book publishing services, Not Just Another Cookbook
book publishing services, professional design, Not Just Another Cookbook
book publishing services, professional design, Not Just Another Cookbook

If you have a collection of personal or family recipes—bound or unbound, scribbled on recipe cards or typed out in chapters—we would love to help you create a professional and memorable cookbook that generations after you will cherish.

Five Things You Didn't Know Were Hiding in Orange Frazer Books

It’s not a gimmick when we say that at Orange Frazer, each book is unique. We mean this literally, because every single Orange Frazer book is totally different. Our book design services don't include templates or package-design deals, which means that each image has been individually photo-corrected, each page has been individually formatted, each cover has been individually ushered from concept to bookshelf. Brittany, our lead designer, spends weeks (and sometimes months) drafting, sketching, brainstorming, redoing…and redoing again. We’ve been known—over the course of many weeks or months spent on a particular project—to leave a few “signatures” along the way.  So here they are: the fun (and wacky) things you’ll find hiding in Orange Frazer books:

Orange Frazer PressJust a Car Salesman. Jeff Wyler is known for his numerous successful dealerships over several decades, and the parade of car models across the cover seemed a fitting way to honor that legacy (in both time and diversity). And if you look closely (and know your automobile trivia), you’ll see that our publisher’s very first car, a 1978 Dodge Challenger, made the lineup.







Orange Frazer PressRevealed: Columbus: The Story of Us. In 2012, Columbus celebrated its bicentennial year with all of the celebratory fanfare befitting a prosperous and growing Ohio city. We were commissioned to publish the book honoring this celebration, working with Jamie Greene of ACP Visioning + Planning to make it a reality. Fun fact: Jamie loves bison, and for his Halloween costume that year, dressed as bison for the “bison-tennial.” In honor of Jamie, we included a small bison on the OFP logo on the back cover.







Orange Frazer PressHarriett’s Homecoming: A High-Flying Tour of Cincinnati. This book, by Susan Levine, boasts illustrations by Columbus-area artist, Erin Burchwell. Her layered watercolors lend depth and vibrancy to each page. As a tribute to the Queen City (once the pork capital of the USA), Erin included a pig in every single illustration. Don’t believe us? Try finding all of them (it’s not easy).





Orange Frazer PressChad: I Can’t Be Stopped. Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals worked with us on his memoir, I Can’t Be Stopped. For the cover, we used a profile shot of Chad, in which you see his chin resting on his hands. After this photo was taken, Sarah (our production manager) noticed that Chad’s fingernails were in terrible shape. She insisted that they be cleaned up for the cover. It was too late to reshoot, however, so our designer went to work trimming—and reshaping—them on Photoshop.






Orange Frazer PressStirrups. It’s not often that you are asked to publish a gynocologist’s memoirs. The cover for this one was particularly challenging. Putting actual stirrups on the cover would be provocative (and off-putting). And no one wants to see a WebMD-style stock photo. A conceptual cover was key. Brittany took a brief field trip to a local jewelry store for inspiration, and came back with photos of charm bracelets and the willpower to design (from scratch) her own symbolic charms. She successfully did this, and I bet you won’t guess which charms are real, and which are her creations (she’s good).

Preparing Your Manuscript for Publication with Orange Frazer Press: Less is More

The book publishing process, despite its romantic underpinnings and great aspirations, is also a production process—one involving design, formatting, printing, shipping, warehousing, and a number of other lesser known (but very important) procedures. Of these, formatting a manuscript for publication is often the most confusing part for our authors and clients. 865021_84329536

To preface, there are many book “publishing” services that are essentially printing services. They operate as “publishers” but will ask that you format your manuscript as a PDF and design your cover and interior pages. They will print and bind your book, but you will be doing the hard work of putting together a professional-looking book that reflects the integrity of your work.

Orange Frazer Press, however, is a full-service publisher, in that we cover everything from page formatting, design, and e-book conversion to warehousing, shipping, and order fulfilling. Because services like ours are a bit more detailed (and thus a bit rarer in today’s industry), we are sometimes faced with manuscripts that are already designed by the client, which, surprisingly, makes our work more difficult. Sounds counterintuitive, right?

Here’s why. As a professional book publishing service, we use a variety of design tools and programs to make sure that images are sharp and print-ready, pages are correctly formatted and designed, and covers are compelling and elegant. Some clients format and design their own pages before even reaching out to publishers, and by the time we receive their manuscripts, we are actually faced with the prospect of undoing many of their (labor-intensive) hours of formatting work. This is a truly heartbreaking process (believe me—telling a client that you have to remove several hundred inserted photos in a Word document is painful for all parties involved). We could print your book as is from a PDF, but we really care about the quality of your work, and we want it to look as professional as possible.

To save our clients time and energy, and to make the production process more efficient (thus saving our clients money along the way—less time spent reformatting means less money put into the production process), we have put together a pre-production guide for getting your manuscript ready for publication.

  1. Create your manuscript in a Word document. For better or worse, Microsoft Word is the industry standard for word processing and is the most easily transferrable to other programs. If you don’t have Microsoft Word, you can also use Wordpad (for a PC) or Textedit (for a Mac). Wordpad and Textedit are stripped down word processing programs, and they are both free and easy to use. Using Word Perfect, Microsoft Works, or other Word alternatives can actually make the formatting more difficult for both you and our production team.
  2. Save your file as .rtf (rich text format). Rich text format is the only way (aside from a PDF) to truly preserve any underlined, italicized, or bolded words and phrases. And it is easily transferrable for us.
  3. Keep all image files and text files in separate folders. When it comes time to insert your images into the manuscript, we will sit down and go through placements with you, and you will have the opportunity to approve or nix each one individually. Microsoft Word was not built to correctly place and align images for books, and images inserted into these documents will negatively affect text wrapping, margins, and image resolution. By properly labeling your images (not by page number, as page numbers will likely change when we transfer over your manuscript and determine the paper size) and keeping all images in separate files, we can very easily format and insert each one individually.
  4. Allow us to design the cover, if at all possible. We have spent twenty-six years designing covers that will stand out on shelves, in sell sheets, and as Amazon icons. We have a design team that makes each book a unique reflection of its client and story, and we check with our clients to make sure that the cover is what they envisioned for the book.

If you have any questions about these or other factors as your prepare your manuscript for publication with OFP, just let us know! You can always email [email protected], or give us a call at the office and speak with our Project Manager.

Why "Cheap and Easy" Book Publishing Services Don't Always Cut It

Redefining Publishing In a recent article for TechCrunch, “How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0,” James Altucher traces the movement of publishing from the traditional, gatekeeper (or acquisition) model to today’s world of alternative, independent publishing. He also redefines publishing, arguing that it is no longer a difference between  traditional vs. self-publishing, but rather, a difference between professional and unprofessional publishing. A book could be traditionally published and remain unprofessional—with a poor cover or a lackluster marketing effort—or a book could be self-published with an excellent cover designer, editor, copy editor, and publicist and be a top-notch, professional product.

Our editor, John Baskin (right), working with custom book publishing client, Phil Nuxhall (left).

He traces the evolution of publishing through three primary stages: publishing 1.0 is the traditional, gatekeeper model (a system besieged by inefficiency and challenged by digital innovation), publishing 2.0 is the “cheap and easy” online self-publishing boom of 2010, and publishing 3.0 is the movement toward professional, well-orchestrated, self-published books.

At Orange Frazer, we welcome publishing 3.0, and here’s why.

Publishing 3.0 prizes craft, insisting that the best books require compelling and well-designed covers, impeccable editing and proofing, and smart publicity. With over three million books published every year, publishing 3.0 understands that only the professionally published books will stand out, and that traditional, capital-P-Publishers in New York are not necessarily the route to the most professional product. Altucher notes that the best of the best in the industry are moving into this new age of publishing; this is certainly what we have done at Orange Frazer.

Publishing 2.0: Cheap, Easy, Accessible, and Ubiquitous 

At Orange Frazer, we have been helping clients custom publish books for twenty-six years, and our book publishing services have evolved in that time to meet an ever-shifting demand. A few years ago, a parallel industry (publishing 2.0) emerged, an online, self-publishing behemoth with low barriers to entry and unbelievable potential. It seemed like every other week we were hearing about the latest “stars” of self-publishing. The story was always the same: they started off with a few Kindle self-published titles, sold and sold and sold until they hit the tens of thousands, and then the large, deep-pocketed publisher swooped in to pick them up and make them famous (this is the part of the story where they start selling hundreds of thousands of books, and, if you’re Penguin and you happened to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey, you are giving all of your employees $5000 Christmas bonuses, too).

Online self-publishing was, and still is, cheap and easy. You write your book in a Word document, upload the finished manuscript, create a cover using the provided tools, and that’s it. With a few clicks your book is available to the world, and you are an author.

This was an incredible move forward technologically, and it opened up the worlds of reading, writing, and book publishing to thousands that would not otherwise have been privy to them. The industry has employed thousands through various online outlets—Snapfish, Kindle Select, CreateSpace, Lulu, etc.—and it has made writing a viable career for many Americans.

Publishing 3.0: Professional Book Publishing Services

But this route isn’t necessarily for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for every book. Publishing 3.0 is a move toward a high-quality, finished, professional product. Take book covers, for example. An experienced book designer breaks down the elements of a successful book cover—the primary colors, the font, the text size, the image (is it literal or conceptual?), and even its associated genre (does it say mystery, crime, romance, literary fiction?). Book designers spend years perfecting their craft until they can create compelling covers that draw readers in and invite their questions and curiosity. Book covers aren’t just cover pages, they are artistic visualizations of a text or concept, and they tell the reader quite a lot with limited time and space.

And these kinds of book covers take time and talent. Our lead book designer, Brittany, has this graphic by Colin Harman posted next to her computer, and I think it is both humorous and fitting:

Graphic Design Image by Colin Harman

Altucher insists that in publishing 3.0 the author should curate each piece individually—the editor, designer, proofreader, publicist, etc. You can certainly go this route, but it may be time-consuming (you're doing a lot of "shopping around," so to speak). As an alternative, you can allow the publishing house to curate these pieces for you and invest in custom book publishing services. Orange Frazer has spent twenty-six years finding the best writers, editors, designers, photographers, researchers, indexers, and printers, ensuring that every book is a professional and high-quality product that we can put our name on. We insist on publishing 3.0, because we believe that authors and readers deserve the best books possible.

The pages of Revealed: Columbus arranged in our publisher's office. At OFP, each page is designed individually.

When is publishing 3.0 appropriate? Perhaps you are celebrating a milestone for your company, an anniversary, or even a family reunion. You may have a collection of stories to pass down to your grandchildren, or a portfolio of professional photographs that you would like to showcase. Maybe it is the companion piece to a museum exhibit or a novel that you hope to circulate among reviewers. There are times when you need a professional and high-quality product that represents your hard work and talent. And in a world besieged by books, you need to stand out.

What are your thoughts? We love to hear about our readers’ experiences, so share below in the comments if you feel so moved.