The idea of book creating sounds pretty attractive on paper: documenting your studio's hard work over a period of time, celebrating just how far you've come and where you started, plus ultimately futureproofing your studio with the potential promise of great work for the future. It also seems as if everyone's doing it. ARM published Mongrel Rapture to strong acclaim in 2015, while late last year, John Wardle and his great team published the intriguingly titled, This Building Likes Me.
You're busy running the strategy and staff, which doesn't leave much extra for sifting through project images and briefs, or investing the energy required to do a book justice. So what can you do?
You need good housekeeping. That means, a filing system with every completed project neatly organised into sections to suit a variety of purposes. Got an award you want to enter? There's the design statement in easy reach, or the approved council application (with its various iterations) ready to go. Got a project to post on your website? There's the low res and high res images ready to be given to the designer. Same goes for a book. Whoever takes the reins will need easy access to all of the documentation - that's images, content, interviews, drawings - everything.
Make sure you create a publishing calendar first, to keep the project on track. As a general guide, you might like to follow this: a couple of months for content gathering, then a few more months for the writing, plus time at the end for editing and proofreading. Don't underestimate your timeline. Outline and anticipate delays, and then make sure you keep the ball rolling.
If you decide that it's too hard to self-publish, work with a ghostwriter. They're writers who take ownership of the book writing, but who don't (typically) get the credited byline on the cover. The vast majority of books are ghostwritten these days, but it pays to find someone who understands the D&A industry. They could also connect you to photography, editing and publishing. And once the content's done, you'll need to sort out how you want your book distributed. Book shop or online? Who's going to format an e-Book for you? A good writer will be able to provide you with high quality contacts.
The biggest and best reason to use a writer is to see your book actually become published. Turn a potential three-year headache into a 12 month journey that rolls along beautifully because your writer is totally across the project and on the ball, and phone, and everywhere you need them to be so you can get back to business and focus on your own work.
For design book inspiration, check out Uro Publication's Fitzroy bookstore, which stocks beautiful design books (as well as publishes their own) from all over the world. And then get your project started!