Hear it From Ann
It’s always fun to study the new releases, noting what staffs are doing well and how trends are shifting. Whatever time I allot to reviewing books, I always wish I had more.
During summer planning, it’s easy to imagine ambitious additions.
Gatefolds galore? That’d be cool.
Theme-related coverage strategies you know would be a lot of extra work? Might be a challenge you could accept.
Personalizing each book? Wow! They’d love that.
But then, as production begins, reality sets in and those workshop dreams can get hazy. If you plan from the start to make those special extras happen — and commit to making them important — the impact can be as significant as imagined. If your kids are excited and willing, you have the power to make those dreams come true.
If the plan involves adding pages, foldouts, special-order papers or inks, cover and endsheet upgrades, work with your rep to manage your budget. Then, your business team can determine how to offset those expenses.
Set reasonable dates for progressive goals to ensure you’re working to stay on budget. Not meeting those sales goals may mean you won’t be able to afford the extras.
If your ambitious idea does not become someone’s assigned responsibility, there’s a greater chance it will fade into the hustle of production.
Make the project a priority, and watch it flourish.
I know you face the challenge of serving many audiences. You want the students to love your book when it arrives and to cherish it more as the years pass. It’s also important for parents and the greater school community to see you’ve created a comprehensive and accurate record of the year.
You can make sure that happens by dreaming big as you plan for your next masterpiece, putting plans in place to ensure success and following through to delight your readers.
Your efforts will be remembered every time those readers grab their yearbooks — whether it’s over the summer, in five years or 50. And your staff will be remembered, not just for preserving the memories of the year, but for the extra efforts you made to create a book that stands out.
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL • Tiger
Even though its first century as a school was ending, staffers focused on the future with the theme “To be continued.” Each of the 10 sections open with a fold-out divider introducing a student profile on the following spread. In the middle of the book, a short-trimmed magazine of school history shows all 100 book covers and provides news from each year.
TOBY JOHNSON MIDDLE SCHOOL • Jamboree
Elk Grove, California
The coverage spanning the bottom margin was perfect for the theme “Eventually everything connects.” Staff members linked students to one another with attributes like “who lives on the same block as,” “whose favorite place in the world is Italy like” or “who has braces like” until the final entry, that linked back to the first name in the opening. With six students per spread, nearly 400 became part of the theme development.
WESTFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL • The Scrapbook
Themed “It’s ours and it’s everything,” this book included a personalized tri-fold tipped onto a theme-driven spread inside. Completing almost 750 individualized tip-ins meant every early buyer had a one-of-a-kind book. With several full-color images, a quote from a friend, a six-word memoir the students shared (not knowing how it would be used), the special feature pleased students and parents alike. Those who were waitlisted received a similar tip-in with spaces and instructions on how to personalize so their books had extra coverage as well.
ANN AKERS, MJE
Manager, Yearbook Customer Engagement
Read more Hear it From Ann articles:
Yearbook is for Life
In the children’s book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, a young boy searches for ways to find lost memories for an old woman who had lost her own. Through his persistent questions and vivid imagination, he inspires her to remember events from her past. A yearbook should allow any reader to do the same when it is visited years later.
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