Some notes about my charity book '3 Balls £2.50'

December 08, 2013  •  1 Comment
I decided to write this post to help myself remember what I did as much as anything, but it may be of use to somebody else. To start with the inspiration for producing a small book came after seeing Nigel Rumsey mention his book of photography from his trip to New York. For a mere £3 I couldn't resist seeing what he'd produced and when it arrived the quality of both the photography and the printing really impressed me. My problem then was that I had no reason to actually produce a book, but a timely newsletter from NASS came through my letterbox and gave me the idea I needed. I'd never raised any money for them so this seemed like a good opportunity to do so. For some background on why NASS is close to my heart please read the book promotion page.
The next issue I faced was that I didn't want to use photography that people had already seen on my web site, but luckily Bonfire Night was coming up and I knew that there would be public displays aplenty. Fireworks don't really interest me but the funfairs that go with them do, they haven't really changed since I was a kid and I thought it would be interesting to try and document a typical visit to them.
After visiting the first fair my initial reaction that I'd got nothing worth using, but that proved the point you should never edit your work when you're tired! When I looked again and converted the images to black and white I knew I maybe had the start of something, so decided to go to a second local display a couple of days later. This was better as I had a purpose and knew which shots I needed to try and get; luckily I came away with some images that I was happy with and when added to the first batch I realised the book could become a reality.
After editing I had what I thought were 19 fairly strong images, including one that was perfect for the front cover so I then moved to the design stage. My initial title of just 'Funfair' was annoying me with it's dullness so I was glad to spot the new title in the cover photo. I'm fairly proficient at using InDesign and the technical advice on printing on the Inky Little Fingers web site gave me everything I needed to proceed. They were recommended to me by Nigel and although my first printed proof wasn't good due to a PDF problem and a poor choice of paper stock, the second was fine and I told them to go ahead with printing. If you print a book do make sure you pay extra for a printed proof, it stopped me having £90 worth of recycling! A week later they arrived and considering the low cost I'm very happy with them. I also ordered card backed envelopes and clear cellophane inner envelopes from eBay, designed some stickers (printed by as a finishing touch to the package and wrote and printed a small insert thanking the buyer for their donation to NASS. My thinking is very much that the buyer is donating to NASS and they're getting a free book from me as a thank you, rather than them buying a book.
After talking with NASS I looked into using Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving but neither are really geared towards people selling things to raise money, they're aimed more at events. I can't for example set a target of £300 (50 books) and have the page stop taking donations at that point so keeping track of stock would be tricky. The last option was the charity facility on eBay - if you donate 100% of the sale price to charity they waive 100% of the eBay fees which I think is very good, but I was very disappointed but not at all surprised to see that PayPal would still charge their fee. However NASS would still get £5.60 from each £6 book sold so although not ideal it was the best option for me to use them. It was easy to set up the listing with multiple items for sale, and I knew the money would go directly to NASS. There is a sting in the tail though as I found out yesterday that basically I am expected to pay to the charity what PayPal stole - I sold 76 books for £6 each, PayPal took £30.40 but the charity still has to be sent the full £456. I won't be using this system again and I think I can make Justgiving work for me next time with some careful planning.
In case anyone was wondering how much it costs to do a project like this, here's a breakdown. 
75 x A5 board-backed envelopes £13.39
100 x Cellophane inner envelopes £4.59
90 x Stickers from £5.06
85 x Printed books £90.38
76 x 1st class stamps £45.60
76 x 40p stolen by PayPal £30.40
1 x Mystery cost by PayPal I can't work out £17
Total costs to me: £206.42 (nearly £50 more than I expected, all due to PayPal!)
I've not included boring stuff like any expenses incurred shooting the project itself as I wanted to go to the funfairs anyway.
The most important thing in all this of course is that £456 has been raised for NASS and I can't thank those that donated enough.
Update about eBay and PayPal:
I phoned PayPal to complain about their charges and their attitude stank as I suspected. It doesn't matter if you're a charity or not, they will charge for their services. What a truly horrible company they are. NASS are very kindly refunding the £30.40 to me.

3 Balls £2.50 (Blog)3 Balls £2.50 (Blog)


Andy Spencer(non-registered)
Great work Tim...a book is on my list for 2014 so great to see the process you took.
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