February 18, 2015

My Self-Publishing Journey

By Gabrielle Songe

Publishing a book with more images than words requires considerations unnecessary for a 50,000 word novel with no illustrations.

Since my book, Whippoorwill Calls, has 22 sketches and drawings with only 900 words of poetry, I sought a publisher specializing in the presentation of images.

Initially planning on producing an eBook followed by a print version, I researched and selected an author service. Stumbling blocks arose with the eBook format which allowed free flowing poetry content to meander without defined endpoints across pages.

Simultaneously the author service with its personnel layers kept me from speaking directly with the image handlers during pre-press after I had spent months photographing and adjusting the images.
Through working with the author service I discovered all my photographs were in a size too small for sufficient resolution to produce a quality piece in even a small print edition. Pulling the project I returned to re-photograph all the drawings in a medium size format.

Six months after beginning my publication journey I hired a printing company in my town to prepare the pre-press layout and the staff allowed me to spend a couple of hours at a time going over the production process. Together we submitted the final cover and interior to the printing and global distribution company, a firm headquartered in Tennessee.

The process is entirely automated and I received electronic proofs within a few days. There were a few revisions and finally a paperback proof copy was ordered. After receipt of the paperback Whippoorwill Calls was approved for publication, distribution and sale, and a hardcover edition in premium color followed which is now available in Europe and Australia.

Friends, who received gift copies, asked if they might purchase prints of the drawings. Several prints in 5x7 and 11x14 were given as Christmas presents. Since then I have spoken with the company that prepared the pre-press layout about offering prints in the gift sizes plus an 8x10.


Starting as a stringer covering local politics for a niche press, Gabrielle Songe branched out becoming a general assignment reporter and photographer. She covered government and law, and wrote occasional features. As her charge of rescued domestic animals grew Songe moved further out into the countryside. After accepting a position as the feature editor and photojournalist for a small town newspaper she began writing a weekly column in which she described her life on a farm. Years later the weekly column evolved into a blog as her care of livestock and domestic rescues expanded to include 10 cats, two dogs, two horses and three pet cattle. Songe has had several short stories published in anthologies. In retirement the poet artist posts essays and photos at her blog site: The Brahma and me. Most of the drawings in Whippoorwill Calls are available for purchase. For information about the drawings people may contact me through my email address: 

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