Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Projects Update

Those of you who follow my blog regularly -- and there are a a few -- might have noticed that my “On This Day” postings have been a bit late the past couple of days. Problem is, I grinched my back, somehow, a couple days ago. Coddling that has bummed my concentration, and made it difficult to sleep. Hence, I slept later and ended up posting later.  It’s slowly getting better, so that should improve.

Back on October 22, I commented about the package I received from Arcadia Publishing. Their representative suggested we (I and Skip Myers, a friend/collaborator in Idaho City) put together a proposal for a book about Boise County for their “Images of America” photographic history series.
(See the "Projects Progressing" blog item for Oct 22nd.)

We did have our meeting with the Idaho City Historical Foundation, parent organization for the Boise Basin Museum. While some Foundation members were enthusiastic, they need some idea of what we want from them -- which is access to vintage photos. Trouble is, we don’t know at this point what pictures we need, nor do we know quite what photos they have. The Boise Basin Museum has a good selection on display, but that’s clearly only part of their inventory. (Museum photo, Library of Congress, Duane Garrett photographer.)

So at the moment we’re reviewing the photos we already have, and studying Idaho Gold Country history to figure out what the book should be about. The Idaho State historical Society does have an extensive inventory of vintage photos, many of which relate to gold and silver mining.

There, the cost issue is a problem. Their fees are not at all unreasonable, but they add up fast when you need a couple hundred photos. From the looks of things, the up-front cost would eat up whatever revenue we, as authors, might make on the first several thousand book copies sold. (So far as we know, they do not offer an advance.) As some of you probably know, such “regional history” books sell mostly to a relatively small “niche” market -- moving 3 to 5 thousand copies would be a major challenge.

Anyway, we can’t really decide until we know what photos are available, and what they might cost in procurement and usage fees. More, when we know more.

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