Behind the scenes of a couple of kids making a dream come true!
[If you want to order the book, please visit our book page on Etsy. Otherwise, read on!]
As of publishing this post, our books left Eagan, MN, around 10pm and traveled to Milwaukee on an overnight journey. This means sometime this afternoon they will arrive on our doorstep, which means let’s get these orders in!! But first, we’d love to give you some background behind the book and the printing process, so here are a few facts and figures:
- Total number of pages – 160
- Total number of Polaroids – 275
- Total number of Chris’s personal Route 66 stories to accompany the Polaroids – 23
- Chris has been taking Polaroid photos of Route 66 since 2006, so in a way the book is five years in the making!!
- After a truly exhaustive (in all senses of the word!) search for a printer, we chose Brio Publishing in Minneapolis, MN. They were absolutely amazing throughout the entire process. Obviously neither of us have officially printed a book before, so there were a few newbie hiccups along the way. Our contacts at Brio, Katie and Courtney, were so helpful, sweet and best of all, totally patient with us as we learned the ropes.
- Finding a publisher was the easy part! It’s nice to have a self-publishing guru in the family. Diane Lau, an author herself, has operated her own self-publishing company Living Beyond Reality Press since 1998. She has published 14 of her own books, both fiction and non-fiction. Polaroid Photos from Route 66 will mark her first book from an outside author as well as first photography book. She worked as our editor too, and her over-four decades of writing experience were indispensable throughout our process!
Since 2006, when his Route 66 travels officially began, Chris found he was taking more and more Polaroids of what he saw, so eventually it only made sense to make a book. And, in fact, he did…its title was the namesake of this very website! A small 7″x7″ 80 page paperback book printed from one of those popular DIY printers was Chris’s first ode to Polaroid and the Mother Road. More of a personal project than anything, Chris knew it was incomplete, and that he had to take the whole thing to the next level in order to be taken seriously. For one, this version didn’t include the entire stretch as he had yet to make it all the way to the end! It would take TWO more trips for that to happen! Secondly, Chris wanted to do more than just a photography book. By including some narrative a more personal undercurrent within the collection would surface, as these images aren’t supposed to represent a “guide” to Route 66, but what struck Chris the most along the way. With that said, writing proved to flow quite easily as these stories are very close to Chris’s heart: unique and impressionable experiences, from the places he saw to the people he met.
Self-publishing a book proved to be a very challenging and yet incredibly rewarding experience. From finding a printer that we meshed with, to designing our own templates, to taking the Metra from Kenosha to Chicago’s Route 66 to take a few last minute Polaroids and the book cover background image, we anticipated ALL aspects of the process would be tough; sometimes they proved more so, sometimes less. We both admit that our most harrowing, but favorite part of the process was late one night, when all 160 loose Fex-Ed Office-printed pages were lying in long rows all over the dining and living room floors. We threw on a pot of coffee and began the seven-or-so hour process of redistributing pages of Polaroids and pages of narrative so the flow of the book would make sense. At 3am that early morning (a Tuesday at that!) we completed the final layout and truly felt triumphant! Between all the proofing and proofing and proofing again, we were a perfect combination of nervous and thrilled to see the printed book and share it with all of our friends, old and new! Chris is particularly excited to share it with all the Route 66 fanatics out there and hope he has done them proud! This entire project truly is a dream come true, something he always feared would stay stuck in his head. Now it’s here…on paper!
If you’re here because you’ve read the book, we would absolutely love to hear from you! Email us, comment on this post.
Interested in wholesale pricing for your Route 66 gift shop? Likewise, send us an email and we’ll get back to you right away! We thank everyone so very much for your support!! We truthfully couldn’t have finished this project without our friends, family and Fading Nostalgia supporters everywhere!