This is the end – I’m stopping selling Fieldwork Fail !
The book « Fieldwork Fail » was a huge success. Hundreds of people from more than 50 country – you – made this beautiful project about scientists failures on the field happen.
Word to mouth is excellent and many people from dozens of countries told me they love the book.
Still I have an issue right now :/
I need to close my shop, where I was selling the book. With my books still in it.
After the crowdfunding, I wanted the book available later on for more people.
To distribute them, finding a publisher could have been a choice. But talking with them made me remember why I had avoided them in the first place…
Another possibility could have been to sell directly on Amazon. As a customer, Amazon makes things easy, reliable and fast.
But there were some points I had issues with: Amazon is in monopoly situation and strangle independant book stores, the company doesn’t even pay its taxes, the working conditions of employees are poor, and as a seller Amazon is complex and bureaucratic.
So, that wasn’t my favorite model either. Was any alternative possible? Amazon seems to be difficult to avoid when you talk about selling books, but I decided to run an alternative anyway, « for a couple of months ».
I opened a website, makisapa.com, and connected the store to an independant fulfillment company. I shipped a palet of books in USA and in UK so that people there could get the book faster in these countries, but with also the possibility to ship the book anywhere in the world. So when you ordered a book in my store, a guy in USA or UK was shipping the book directly to your address, and I could focus on other projects instead of having to ship myself books every two days.
This alternative that was just an experiment worked actually for one year! Hundreds of people bought the book in my shop (thank you!).
Ok, it worked with the exception that for many other people, there is nothing outside Amazon. Your book doesn’t seem to even have an existence if it’s not listed in their platform.
So, after this experience, is it possible to make a book ignoring Amazon?
It may but it’s difficult. This independant distribution worked well for selling the book “word of mouth” but killed the idea of promoting it outside this word-of-mouth area.
Still, this independant distribution was effective, and allowed to hundreds of people to order the book !
…Just enough to make me do a second print.
A few months later, the sales of the store were just covering the storage fees.
I could live with the status quo, but the fulfillment company contacted me two weeks ago.
What is worse than having a huge pile of books on your hands ?
Having a big pile of books on your hands… thousands of miles away, without any places to store them. With a countdown.
Sure, there are others fulfillment companies, but in the long term, I’m not sure that the sales will cover the storage and others fees anyway.
I contacted again publishers.
Printing wasn’t that expensive but it was great quality, printed in Belgium, the specialists of comic books. As the Kickstarter was successful, I made sure to have the best printing quality I could get. And I don’t regret it, they made an awesome work!
The conclusion right now:
I have the urgent need to reduce this huge supply of quality-printed books to make everything easier to handle!
Thereafter, I will close my shop, end international shipping, and will just keep some copies (at the regular price) in Amazon.com (not many alternatives – I want to keep the book available and show that it does exist! If you have an Amazon account, of course don’t hesitate to leave a comment about the book.
So, if you know colleagues, friends who could be interested, if you have a point of sale and want to sell the book, if you want to offer a copy to your school’s library or at the cafeteria of your university… The book is available for 10 days for just a quarter of the original price.
Shipping won’t be free but will be the same whatever the number of copies.
I want to finish with better news:
I may have been a bit too optimistic or ambitious on the English version but luckily all other versions of the book are doing great!
– The book in France is simpler to manage! Here too, I printed a lot of copies, but as they have been distributed in book stores with a proper release, unlike his English-speaking cousin, new readers are buying the book over time, month after month, thanks to a great media coverage and excellent word of mouth. It’s the opposite: I arrive soon at the end of the stock and need now to make a new print!
The book has even been selected for two French awards: La Science se Livre and Le Gout des Sciences. Ok, eventually I didn’t get these awards but it was already awesome to be selected – the book was even finalist in these two prizes!
– The book is also now in german and portuguese! Published by Verlag Ludwig in Germany, and Blutcher in Brazil. That makes an happy family of books!
Also, I have several ongoing projects that I will likely talk about in the next news.
Thank you for reading me this far!
Books have been shipped!!!
You should probably receive them in the next days/weeks.
These last days have been pretty intense. Logistic takes a lot of time!
You may ship a few dozens of packages without real organization, but for 1300 books you’d better be accurate because anything multiplied by 1300 can take days!! So we (myself and my family) spent some time to prepare an efficient organization. A few days spent, but a good investment, our system turned out to be effective enough. A label for each envelope, an information tab for each book, and a document to rule them all!
Signing all books took a while, but not much more than what I was expecting. It was an opportunity to discover who was behind all these books! (Also, some of your comments for the book signing were very fun to read). I made some stamps to brighten up the signatures.
On the other side, the packaging has been very time-consuming. We tried our best to protect the corners of the book, with cardboard corners (but if by any chance the envelope is mishandled and the book arrives damaged, please contact me!). I had printed a lot of different prints and extras, maybe too many to manage them quickly (note for next time: simplify extras!).
We had enough boxes to fill a little room up to the ceiling. But phew, everything has been sent yesterday!
70 boxes… Of course we had to rent a moving truck…
…and go not in the post office, but directly to the postal sorting center…
…where we started to filled seven big transport trolleys.
“What? We have to sort all envelopes by continent?” Luckily, a postal employee helped us for this final task. In the rush, do not confuse Australia and Austria!
Now all packages are in the big postal center of Paris. I hope like you that everything will arrive fast enough! (note: envelopes for France are sent separately, I will ship them at the end of the week)
What I’ll do next
– The booklet
I sent only books, cards, and prints. The booklet will be shipped later (I didn’t want to delay the whole shipping). I’ll also add the watercolors and sketches for those who had in their sets.
This crowdfunding allowed to bring this book to life, but I hope the book will continue to live after this big delivery. I printed more copies than what I sent, my challenge during the next months will be also to deal with the rest!
I hope the packages will arrive fast enough and you’ll enjoy the book!
Now please, postal employees of all countries, treat all these little packages with care and velocity, so they can arrive safely and quickly to their destination!
I love books, but I don’t think I ever had so many books at home. A bit less than two tons. I could build a fort made of books!
Unpacking : good news, the printing is great. Our Belgium friends did a great job!
I also received the prints. No concerns neither.
After testing 6 or 7 different envelopes looking for the best weight / price / resistance, I bought something like 1000 reinforced padded envelopes. If you think that’s a lot of envelopes, you need to know I still wait a few hundreds more 🙂
The end of the “shipping cost” suspense : I was able to deal decent international shipping costs. Whew! Shipping costs, with printing, were my main concern! Luckily the fact I send a lot of packages allow me to get attractive postal fees. That’s a big problem solved.
With this special fees, there are a few minor inconveniences though – I hope it won’t bother you too much:
- Books will be all sent independently, in separated envelopes. The Post office asked parcels of the same size/weight to benefit this special fees so it’s not possible to send multiple books in one parcel.
- Sorry, tracking won’t be possible! I’m going to repay your €5 to all those who took the « tracked shipping » option in the survey, I’m so sorry for having it recommended! Anyway, if there were any concern with your book, like parcel damaged or lost, I would send you another one.
Also the little booklet with sketches and illustration process is not finished yet. To avoid to delay all the shipping process, I’ll send it later, separately.
I’m not alone, all my family offered their precious help for the logistics, whether for carrying books, Excel manipulations to create labels, placing the labels on envelopes (or just taking photos)!
(if you wonder, I’m the second from the right)
I’ve signed and numbered 950 illustrations prints. One thing out of the way! And an appetizer before the 1200 books I’ll sign this week 🙂
That’s all for now!
Here is a recap of important information for busy people:
- I received the books \o/
- Books will be all sent in 7-10 days!
- Due to some postal constraints, books will be sent in separated envelopes (eg. for two books you’ll receive two envelopes)
- The booklet will be sent afterwards
- I’m closing the surveys. From now, if you want another copy or else, you can go to thepre-order page
- People who recently changed their address or never gave it (see names above), please hurry up to update your informations!
Huge thanks everyone!
This news is for paper and ink lovers! We’ll talk about the book printing process!
Because, yes! The book is now printed, and last week, I went to Belgium to see this delicate step =)
I know, with online print services, the process is simpler (but often, not so good) :
But when you spent more than a year on a project, you don’t want to have the book ruined with random colors, so the process I’ve been through was a bit more complex (but much more reliable!).
Well, if you follow these news and/or the facebook page, you already know I already completed 6 of these steps!
For the final one, I went to Lesaffre printer, in Belgium, to check directly the result. They are specialized in French and Belgium comics.
In this big (and clean!) warehouse, there are huge paper rolls… That’s something like 15 kilometres (9 miles) of paper!
Machines are the size of a bus. And very noisy.
When I arrived, the printer employees were analysing my pages on their work table.
English and French covers!
Several pages are put together on a big sheet of paper. If you change colors on one of these big sheets, you change the colors on all pages contained on the sheet, so the printer often put the pages of the same hue together.
All these beautiful pages were just tests and are going to be recycled (but I kept some as a souvenir).
When you agree with the result, you sign (again) the printed pages.
The printer is so fast, it can print thousands of pages in one hour.
That’s the book! Yes, your book is for now a giant stack of sheets.
As a bonus, I made a video with the images I shot :
I can honestly say the colors are just perfect for me, I didn’t expect such a good result. Every friend who has already printed a book told me you have a big loss when your illustrations go from digital to print, but I didn’t see anything like that. The printers knew very well their job!
- The printer will cut, fold and bind the pages to make a real book
- I will receive, well… a ton of books at home
- I’ll have the prints, postcards and everything else printed (but not by the same printer… The Belgium printer is specialised in comics and illustration books, not in goodies)
- Then start the Logistical Challenge
- Books shipping ! (early July I guess)
Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to see the final books with hardcover. See you soon!
Some news about the book !
Almost all pages have been finished this month. Here is the flatplan (in French we call that « chemin de fer », railroad), that’s the view of all the pages of the book.
I was aiming to finish all illustrations last week, but I need to admit I still have some pages to finish, sorry! If you feel impatient, these are exactly my feelings too… I didn’t expect this book would require so much time!
– Translation and edits
The edits are finished in French and English. The Spanish translation is almost complete. We are starting a second round of edits for all 3 versions.
Finding a title for French and Spanish was not easy to do, as « Fieldwork Fail » is impossible to translate literally, it just sounds bad in both Spanish and French. Thanks Marta for finding the Spanish title!
I had designed a temporary cover for the Kickstarter, but it didn’t stand out enough. So I made a new cover. Here are some researches, and the cover.
I abandoned the idea of having the scientist surrounded by crocodiles, because what is interesting in these stories is also the fact these are everyday failures, something that could happen to anyone. So I drawn a scientists whose stuff is stolen by a monkey. I hope you’ll like it!
I prepared a survey. Those who backed the project on Kickstarter will receive soon an email from CrowdOx. Please answer it ! That’s not a spam or some phishing, that’s the survey manager I’ll use (like BackerKit if you know it). I chose Crowdox because it was the simplest option I found, for me and for you.
You will be able to make everything you want, including :
- choosing the options and the language of the book
- updating your address
- changing the pledge
- adding options or extra copies
About extra copies : The price for any extra copy will be only 17€, shipping costs included. I do that because the shipping costs are lower per book when you ship 2 books than a single book.
I will also add the option “tracked shipping”, especially useful for shipping outside Europe. You will likely receive the survey in the middle of the week.
- Sending the survey
- Finishing the illustrations
- Another final round of edits for all three languages
- Exporting and sending the files to the printer
- Sending the ebook
- Proofing (physical & contractual printing test)
- !!!!! Launching the print of the book !!!!!
- Starting to make the rewards (including the “behind the scenes” booklet)
See you very soon for the survey! And again, thanks a lot for your support and your patience…
Hey everyone ! I hope everything is fine for you!
On the model of last month, here are some news about the book with some explanations about how I work. With more colors this time!
It was the focus of the month ! (as it will be next month)
I currently work mostly on the right-hand pages, which contain testimonies of the scientists.
How I work
1) I cut the text in blocks, leaving space between them, and I draw a few sketches in this empty space
2) I set up a color palette, from the left-page illustration colors
I make this palette to have graphic consistency on the double page. I have a custom palette system to manage colors.
3) From this palette, I make a color key. A color key is a very simple version of the illustration, that gives general ambiance and colors. It’s much easier to modify the colors of a color key than a more advanced illustration.
Sometimes I also refine my rough a little bit.
4) I start to draw the illustration in silhouette. As an animator I’m used to think in “silhouette”. If the silhouette is not easy to read, the final illustration won’t be neither.
5) Then I finish, using the colors of my color key.
Also done this month
- Jessica (english editor) continues to edit the pages (and will likely finish this week!)
- I asked to a friend, Ninon, to edit the French version. Ninon is a skilled professional editor who wields the language with unique mastery 🙂
- And Marta, who is spanish, will start soon the spanish translation.
- I started to work on the french cover. English cover will also change from the Kickstarter cover.
- I presented a few pages to french distributors. And they loved the project!
- Finishing all illustrations
- Finishing the translations and edits for all languages
- Sending you a survey asking you options, shipping addresses, among other things.
See you soon !
Follow me on Twitter / Facebook (illustrator) / Facebook (fieldworkfail) / Instagram
Hi all !
I usually don’t talk much about politics, but it seems than science has never been so politic than these last weeks. Some people just don’t trust science anymore. In a world where people (and even governments) don’t understand scientists, maybe talking about science, about human mistakes and about how scientists actually work could contribute to bridge the gab between scientists and non-scientists… I hope!
Now let’s talk about the work in progress of the fieldwork fail book !
The good news, I finished all rough pages of the book!
What I call rough page is the whole content of the book, before editing and color. Here’s an example.
On the same time, I worked with Jessica Groenendijk who corrects the text. I don’t speak english good enough to skip this part!
Jessica is a scientist I met in Cocha Cashu in Amazonia. She studies giant otters and write books, including children books. And she’s a perfectionist. She was the perfect person for editing texts and make sure the whole book has a consistent style. She understands well the project and is very reactive.
(by the way, I’d like to thank all people who offered me their help for editing! I appreciate a lot).
But what about seeing more the process of building these rough pages?
How I make a page
1) First I exchange emails with the scientist to ask him or her more details about their research and the story. It can be 2 emails or it can be 15 emails, or even instant messaging.
2) When I have all content I need, I sort, select and put together into one page all these pieces of text, and I draw a few sketches for the illustrations. Sometimes it’s easy, when I have a lot of short texts.
Sometimes it’s more complicated, when I have long paragraphs of text. It’s a book with a lot of illustration and the space for text is very limited. The longer the text, the more I need to cut!
3) Then I send the rough page to the scientist for feedback
4) I correct a few details on the page and then I send it back to Jessica for editing. She corrects the content so I can go to the next step -> color !
Also done this month
– Asked and received my ISBN numbers ! I’m now officially a publisher =) An ISBN number is a number used to identify any book in the world. Any book in your library has one!
– Have been in contact with distributors for the French version, and translated some pages to present the project.
– Modify the rough pages to include Jessica’s edits and scientists feedback.
– Color ! Illustration !
I will likely finish this step for all pages in March. Here is how a page looks like with illustration:
Ok that’s all! I need to keep all other things for the next news 🙂 If you like this format of news, I’ll try to make something similar at the end of the month.
Thanks again! See you soon!
Happy New Year everyone!
I wish you all a year 2017 full of fun discoveries, amazing observations and beautiful moments.
For once, I was there! It was in Cocha Cashu, last month.
After hitting the caïman, Orlando ran back to the station. And we all went to the trail to see the caïman. He was still there. A giant, old, black caïman.
Live from the rainforest
Hi everyone! Some news from Cocha Cashu biological station, in the magnificent rainforest of Amazonia, Peru. I was invited here by Roxana Arauco, manager of the station, after she heard about the project of my fieldwork fail illustrations.
I still continue to work on the book while here. The days are long here (I wake up with the sun and the howler monkeys at 5am) so I usually draw and/or walk the morning and advance on the fieldwork fail book during the afternoon.
Some news about the book!
First of all, sorry for the lack of news these last weeks. I had no idea what I could show you as the areas in which I advanced were not so much visual ones.
Still I hope to give you a little insight. I’ll try to improve my communication the next weeks 🙂 (more…)
We made it with 1199 backers and 32 699 € pledged!!!
Thank a lot for all your support, energy, ideas and feedback, for helped me by spreading the word about this book, among many other things! (more…)