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Creating Books From Your Artwork

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Artist Kelly Pelfrey
Artist Kelly Pelfrey

What would it be like to see your artwork beautifully printed in a coffee table book? A perfectly placed coffee table book can serve as a functional piece of decor and your collectors can enjoy multiple pieces of your art at one time. If you're like me, the idea of publishing your own book can seem a bit overwhelming - where do you start, what financial considerations are involved and how do you know if you'll make money from it? I recently spoke with artist Kelly Pelfrey who is about to release her first book and what her experience was like. Turns out, it's not as daunting as I imagined.

Based in South Carolina, Kelly's dreamy southern landscapes and still life paintings make you want to jump inside and spend a day lounging around. She has a fine art degree and spent time as a children's art educator before making the leap to a full time artist in 2020. With the encouragement of an artist friend, Kelly decided to try her hand at creating her own coffee table book "Delight" in 2021. With over 300 pages of paintings, quotes and personal thoughts, Delight is quite the ambitious project.

After doing some research, she found a local publisher who specialized in self-published art books. Their quality was not only top-notch, but they also offered lots of flexibility and a low minimum purchase that minimized the upfront financial obligation. She shared the advantages of self-publishing, how she organized her ideas, hired editors and a designer and other considerations for putting the finished book together.

One idea that I thought was particularly strategic was using a pre-order phase to determine the print quantity. She promoted the pre-orders to her email list and social media followers by pairing it with several bonuses like free prints. With these orders she could then calculate her breakeven point and have more confidence in the final quantity to print.

Kelly was so kind and extremely generous with her advice. If you want to get the full scoop on her process for creating the book, watch our full conversation here. And be sure to follow her on Instagram to get inspired by her gorgeous artwork.

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