Do you love movies? I do! My husband and I go out to the movies at least once a week and watch several more a week at home. Okay, full disclosure – if the weather is really bad, we’ve been known to do a triple-feature . I’m not necessarily proud of that but it is kind of fun when there’s a winter storm raging on the other side of the windows!
There’s one couple though that I believe has watched more movies than anyone else around in the past couple of years. Susan Winlaw and Alexander Law have recently published three terrific books for movie buffs.
Movies About Weddings – A guide to 700+ movies with weddings
Movies About Christmas – Naughty or Nice? (400+)
Movies About Women – Reel women share stories of life and love (500+)
Can you imagine how much popcorn they must have consumed? I can’t watch a movie without it! Seriously, the amount of time and effort put into these books is phenomenal. They would make wonderful gifts for a wedding shower, birthday or Christmas for anyone you know who loves to watch movies. One-stop shopping right here! Take a look!
I recently had a great chat with Susan.
What was your primary inspiration for publishing books about movies?
Alex (my husband and co-author) and I have always been interested in movies and we’ve shared our favourite films with friends over the years. This project is an extension of that sharing to a wider audience.
Basically, we wanted to help women find movies they’d like to watch and saw there was nothing like this out there. Sure there are huge books that come out every year from famous movie critics but they are enormous. We started with 3 areas that interest many women. We wanted to bring forward some excellent movies that have been forgotten or are completely unknown and shine a light on them.
So far you have covered movies about Weddings, Christmas, and now Women. Which was your favourite book to put together?
Each one had special moments, particularly when I’d watch to review a film that moved me. The more I got into the rich mosaic of Women, the more I enjoyed that theme. We’re working on volume 2 of Movies About Women and are asking all of our contacts for suggestions. So far there are enough to fill that volume and continue into number 3.
The books contain an incredible amount of information! What sort of a process do you use and how long does each one take?
The process continues to evolve. Basically we are watching movies all the time from many different sources (in theatres, on TV, through Netflix, from Rogers DVD mailing service, from the Toronto Public Library, etc). We’ll either do a review right then or mark it for a future book theme. This also makes it impossible to answer how much time each book takes, as we’re always working on more than one book at the same time. But our first book in the series took us about 18 months of research and writing to get it to the press copies.
It’s important to know that each one of the films covered in our books has been watched by either Alex or myself and often both of us.
Now for the technical side, I had to learn Adobe’s InDesign to do a professional assembly for our printer in Oshawa and that was quite the challenge. Our first book (Car Advice for Women, And Smart Men) was a slightly smaller format than the movie guide books and we decided to make the Movies About… series a bit larger but no thicker. We wanted them to feel good in the hand. I didn’t know much about the program then, but I’ve learned more with each book, so it is a bit easier now – especially for indexing and categorizing of the movies. Categorizing involves our own personal categories and adding the basic ones that are inside the International Movie Database (IMDB). These categories help readers find the movies that appeal to them.
We have kept the number of pages to a maximum so the book fits into the letterbox and has a one price mailing cost in Canada and the US. We felt that was important and also simpler for us to handle. We also thought it was important that our Canadian purchasers did not have to pay more than our American buyers.
Was there anything that came as a great surprise to you in the journey from the spark of an idea to the final product?
Yes. There are so many different pieces to put in place to produce the book and the amount of time it takes is staggering. Each piece takes a lot longer than you expect. Crosschecking the spelling of names that you know from seeing them a million times on the screen takes a very detailed hand and has to be done continually. The editing and proofreading is no simple matter and even after 10 times through, you still miss a few things. There are some parts of the publishing process that are outside my grasp, but I am trying to make the contacts to learn what I need and want to be able to share this with other authors who wish to publish their own works.
There is very little written in sufficient detail for the author/publisher who is in Canada who wishes to publish physical books for the North American audience, let alone publishing to sell to a global audience.
How do you market and promote these editions? It strikes me they would be very good gift ideas!
Right now our marketing and promotion is through all of the social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, GoodReads, etc) and with our websites and Press Releases that are sent out to all levels of media in both Canada and the US.
I also participate in shows where our audience would go – Word on the Street, Women’s Expo events, women’s networking events and anything that is reasonably priced. I’ve done a few author signings at local coffee shops and Chapters (Bayview Village in Toronto). And I’ve been invited to participate in internet radio/TV shows both here and in the US.
A few weeks ago I was part of a morning show on Rogers local cable in my home town of Woodstock, then did a signing at the Tim Horton’s close by, followed by a visit to Merrifield’s Book Shop.
The books are great gift ideas – especially when packaged together with a big bowl, some popcorn, a DVD and a card that promises the recipient that the movie will be watched together. You have a gift that keeps on giving (as the books let you find many more movies to see for years to come) and the gift of time with that person and that’s PRICELESS.
What future projects do you have in mind and when might we expect to see the next book from Bam Press?
We have over 30 themes that we’re working on at all times, and there will be 2 books coming next year. We formed BAM Press to do these projects and we know that down the road we’ll be publishing movie guide books in themes that are not of a particular interest to us that will be written by other authors using our format.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering publishing a similar type of book for the first time?
Have a lot of money set aside well in advance. Plan your social media as you are working on the books so that you have a large following well before the book comes out. Take all of your time estimates and triple them and have a lot of supportive friends around to keep you going when the going gets tough.
You’ll also need space to store the books when they come off the printing press before you ship them to your readers.
Join writers groups both in your local area and on line and take on line courses to help with the book writing/editing and marketing.
Plan for a good editor as well as good proof readers and do not assume they will catch all the errors. You must also proof it yourself. Take time selecting your printer/binder from at least 6 companies and make on site visits so you can see their operation first hand and get a feel for the people you will be dealing with.
And connect with me as I will share our experiences to save you some time and perhaps some money. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn and through our web site http://bampress.com
Susan Winlaw – President BAM Press
Movies About Women – Reel Women Share Stories of Live and Love – Pre Press copies are available now.
Movies About Weddings – A Guide to 700+ Movies With Weddings
Movies About Christmas – Naughty or Nice? A Guide to over 400 Movies With Christmas
and in the safety line…..
Car Advice For Women (and Smart Men)
Coming Soon…………Safety Advice For Women
One Yonge Street, Suite 1801,
Toronto, ON, Canada, M5E 1W7 VMail & FAX 416-981-3404
Are you a movie buff? What type of movies do you most enjoy?
While I’m on this topic, I want to suggest that you visit Jillian Dodd’s entertaining blog where she reviews movies on Fridays. Last Friday she reviewed The Ides of March which we just happened to see today. Her comments are spot on! She’s good and she is hilarious!
Angela Wallace says
Very interesting! I used to love watching movies, but I don’t know if my tastes have changed, or if Hollywood really has deteriorated in quality, because I just don’t seem to enjoy movies much anymore. Now, I mainly go see ones that are based on books I’ve read, or are sequels to ones I already loved. Actually, time might also be a factor. I prefer 45 minute television episodes rather than 2 hour movies.
I find you have to pick and choose carefully these days, Angela, but there is still a lot of fine work. Time is most definitely a factor!
Barbara Conelli says
This book series about movies sounds absolutely fascinating! I grew up loving books and movies and it’s very interesting how books and movies deliver emotions in a different way. I look forward to “Movies About Women”. Just thinking: Wouldn’t it be a great New Year’s Resolution to watch all the movies in the book? A huge, yet very entertaining task! Thank you for this interview, Patricia!
Barb! I know for certain you would never have enough time to take on that resolution with everything you have going on! Perhaps you could watch one a week … take a break! LOL
Fantastic post. I love watching movies and had no idea there were books out there of this nature. These are wonderful and you are right, would make fahhbulous gifts for the family movie buff. And I really appreciate that you took the time to interview the author. What an amazing insight to have. Really appreciate both of you putting your time into this post. Such great information to take away!
Thanks Natalie. I love your enthusiasm! I can’t get my head around the amount of time it took the authors to watch all of these movies … and watch them they did! I’ve just taken care of a few people on my Christmas list though!
Tameri Etherton says
What a fascinating idea! I love watching movies – whereas I’m a bit of a book snob, I’ll watch just about anything (except horror or slasher/psychological thrillers). I can’t even imagine the time commitment for a project of this scale, but I applaud them for doing it!
Fabulous post. Thanks Patricia!
Thanks for dropping by Tameri The time factor involved is quite unimaginable and then they have the writing, social media, etc, etc, on top of it all. Yikes!
I love movies, but I don’t know if even I could sit and watch that many so often! Good for them! I wish them much success with this very marketable series. I’m one of those people who can never remember the title of a movie I’d love to see again. These books would be like Bibles for me!
LOL! You have to commend them for the hours (years!) of movie-watching that took! And they are finished yet … yikes!