Give a gift, give a yearbook…

20141212_140433The countdown to christmas has begun which means it’s about to get hectic. Before you start fretting about your christmas shows and what outfit to wear to the end of term party, pop over to your finance office and ask them to add your yearbook collection onto their ParentPay system before the holidays. Tell them it’s your christmas wish and you’ve been good all year!

Christmas is a time for giving and most parents (mine included) will get a little stuck for gift ideas. Now is a perfect time to ask for a special gift, one that you’ll treasure forever – no not that scratchy xmas jumper- but your yearbook! Think about it guys, ok you might have to wait a few months till you get the book itself but you’ll know your deposit is paid and you’ll have more cash to spend on your prom tickets later in the year πŸ™‚ Bonus!!!

From an editors point of view, this means you can be collecting payments over the holidays. No need to go to the finance office or chase your editing team around the campus! It’s just a suggestion but it could make life easier in the long run πŸ™‚

Getting ready for Christmas!!!

xmasWhere did this year go?! It’s just a few weeks until Christmas now and I expect you’re all looking forward to the Christmas holidays πŸ™‚ For those of you collecting payments for your yearbooks already, do send in your deposit ASAP if you can. We’re offering an additional early deposit discount of 5% for people with deposits in before the end of December so don’t miss out on extra savings!

It’s great to see so many of you have really worked out a page plan for their books this year and it looks like you’re all getting the grips with the new system changes πŸ™‚ If there are any features you would like to see added, please do get in touch to see what’s possible. Development of our system is an ongoing process and your request may be on our to-do list already – we’ll be able to give you updates as to when new features come available if we know what you’re looking for!

Tutorial video playlist

With the addition of our new page designer, and with lots of features coming all the time, we’ve added some how-to tutorials to help you get started.

A playlist of short, easy-to-follow tutorials is now visible within your yearbook on the “Design & Manage” tab, and you can also view them on our YouTube channel.

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So far the playlist includes:

So, log into your yearbook now and check them out πŸ™‚ Let us know of any specific tutorials you’d like to see!

Getting Started: Planning

We’re so excited it’s that time of year again! Β With Halloween and Bonfire Night coming up, not to mention Thanksgiving for our US customers …why not throw a Yearbook Planning Party?

Now is the best time to think about getting started with your yearbook project. It’s early days, but you can:

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  • Choose your yearbook committee: Main editor, finance, promoters and hunter gatherers
  • Plan your pages and set a budget:Β Decide on a budget and use that to determine how many pages you’d like. Think about what you want to include on each page.
  • Plan your dates and set deadlines:Β Working backwards from your handout date is helpful way to see how much time you can allocate to planning and building your yearbook.
  • Nominate your staff proofreader:Β Your organisation needs to be aware of the project – ask them sooner rather than later!
  • Start your online yearbook:Β Free, and no obligation: Create your online yearbook now! We’re on hand if you have any questions πŸ™‚

 

More happy customers!

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It’s great to hear so much positive feedback from our lovely customers- it really makes our day and we’re so grateful to all of you for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Many of you who have finalised your books may have received our little survey and thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time to suggest new features and share your experience as a member/editor in 2014. We use all this feedback to help us develop our services and products for future years so we can make even more people happy!

For those of you still working away on your yearbook project, check out our last post on how to finalise your book. With the end of the academic year looming, make sure you visit your staff proof-reader to check they will available to proof-read over the summer. Your teachers look forward to their summer holiday too so don’t just presume they’ll be free to read the final draft at the drop of a hat- they might be sunning themselves on a beach somewhere with no access to your online project! Another tricky situation to avoid is the clash of payment schedules vs finance office hours. Your finance office will most likely close over the summer holiday so you will need to ensure you pass along any invoices due over the summer asap. These will need to be processed before the end of term!

If you’re worried about term dates and deadlines, do give us a call on 01223 503259. The same issues tend to crop up year after year so we’re happy to help out where we can πŸ™‚

What’s next? A brief guide to finalising your project :)

finalisingyourproject1Hi everyone πŸ™‚ Β it’s been super busy in the office so I wanted to grab your attention for a moment or two to talk through the final stages of your yearbook creation process. We know you’ve been working hard for months on your projects and a lot of time, energy and love has gone into putting it all together! Please do keep your print deadlines in mind as this is really when we need to send your book to print- sure we leave a day’s leeway in this to finalise artwork and do our checks but we do need this time! Before your books are sent to print we have to do all sorts of pre-printing checks to ensure everything is just right. We don’t want something to go awry and neither do you so please do your best to stick to the print deadline! Another thing we’ve had lot’s of this year is late artwork submissions. Submitting your cover artwork on the day we need to send your book to print is less than ideal so do try to get your artwork in early- this will give you time to review your draft and make any changes BEFORE the print deadline πŸ™‚ This is what happens next:
  1. So once your happy that everything is done, double check! You might have a blank page that needs addressing or a photo that could be cropped differently. Check out our article about proofing the visual elements of your yearbookΒ  to see if you can improve your design in any way πŸ™‚Β When you get to the stage where you’re happy the book is ready to print please let us know; whilst we try to check in on as many of you as possible we cant always get round to everyone so shout it from the rooftop and let us know you’re done by email, chat or drop us a call πŸ™‚
  2. We’ll then prepare a confirmation email for you that is sent to both the lead editor and your staff proofreader. A common misconception is that this is a stock email that we fire out to all customers but we don’t work this way! We’re dedicated to providing you with the best possible books so we meticulously go through every page of your book and create a very detailed and personalised email for you. We’ll cover the basics such as final number of copies and pages, delivery details and also flag any areas in the book which may need to be addressed. Please be patient when waiting for your email, this process takes time and whilst your eager to get everything done, we don’t want to rush and miss anything important.
In order to send your book to print we must receive a reply from both the lead editor and the staff proofreader for your project. Failure to receive a reply from one or both of you will mean your book is unconfirmed and wont be sent to print. This can cause delays to printing and delivery dates so try to keep on top of the project until the book has definitely been sent to the printers! When this is done, take a deep breath and relax πŸ™‚

A note about reprints and some lovely comments from our customers!

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A lot of you are now having your books delivered and whilst everybody is celebrating the arrival of their lovely new yearbook, there are often a few people who regret not ordering their own copy! Whilst we can do an additional print run for you after the original order has arrived, these do tend to be more expensive so really push for sales before your print deadline! Often staff members like a copy to remember you by or for the schools records so don’t forget to ask them too πŸ˜€ Around 30% of the people we work with order additional copies after the first print run so try to get ahead of the game and perhaps order a few extra copies as spares!

We’ve had some wonderful feedback from those of you with early deliveries so we were keen to share this with you all! You might also find some inspiration from the awesome covers that Lee has created this year πŸ˜€

Selling advertising space in your yearbook

girl_c3There are lots of projects on the go now which is awesome and a lot of you are in the process of collecting orders and payments for the yearbooks. If a sponsored silence, car wash or bake sale isnt for you then a good way to raise funds for your project is to sell advertising space in your books. Β Here is a quick guide to help you get the ball rolling πŸ™‚

Approaching a business can be a scary thing, especially when you’re going to ask for money which is why it pays to be prepared. First things first think about your year group, your community and the sorts of places you like to go/ things you like to do. When a business can see you’ve invested some time in learning about them you’re much more likely to get the results you hoped for! Being able to discuss the benefits of promoting their product in your book will help you to get sponsors on board and will add those all important funds to the kitty! Remember, when approaching a local company or society for sponsorship, it’s best to know who you’re talking to! Always try to speak with a manager a.k.a the decision maker- they will be able to give a definitive answer as to whether it’s of interest and you can continue on your quest for a sponsor should they decline.Β Most of the time you’ll be making a few calls but if you’re going to meet with anyone obviously be cautious and always be safe! Ask a parent or a staff member if they can attend too! If you’re emailing companies, perhaps set up a generic yearbook email account to use. That way your enquiries will be accessible to your editing team and lets face it, AYByearbook2014@gmail.com sounds much more professional than sparklyunicornsandhearts@hotmail.com!

Sponsors can vary depending on your age group and sometimes you wont have to look far! If your school, college or university have an alumni, start here! A lot of schools want to keep in touch with past students so you might find the Old Boy’s Society for example want to promote their group and encourage sign ups from the new leaving class. You might find that including a single page ad will subsidise your yearbook costs and in turn make the book more appealing to the year! More sales, means the price is lower so it’s win-win for everybody πŸ™‚

If your part of a university project, you might find sponsorship from larger, national companies. Medic yearbooks often get sponsorship from specialist insurance providers for example. If you’re part of a secondary school, perhaps look to nearby colleges, driving schools and more local companies. Perhaps set your year group a mission to speak to parents about the project and see if their workplaces would consider offering sponsorship. If everybody in the year gets one parent to enquire with work then you’ve already targeted 100 companies and that’s a pretty great start.

Also, remember to leave yourselves enough time to liaise with your sponsors. No one likes to be told “we need you to give us money, right now” as this puts pressure on the companies you’ve approached. Leave yourself a few weeks so people can go away, think about the opportunity and prepare any artwork they will need to provide you with. If you’re successful in selling ad space, hooray and congratulations πŸ˜€ You’ve just made your books cheaper! If you have any questions about page sizes and dimensions for artwork, just get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through this and help out where we can. Sponsors will need to send their payments through to you at school, or to you as an individual, as we usually don’t accept payments from third parties. Again, if you have any questions at all just give us a shout πŸ˜€

Import pics from Facebook

Now it’s even easier to add your favourite photos into your yearbook πŸ˜€

You will need to be connected to Facebook for this option to be available – you can manage your connection settings by clicking on the Facebook button in the top right of the page, or by following the instructions in the pop-up.

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  • Simply click on the “Pics” tab, and then the “Add pics” button.
  • You can upload photos as normal, or choose to import pics from Facebook.

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  • Select the photos you would like to import. Only photos that you have been tagged in will appear as choices.

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Get creative with our new online collage tool!

collagetoolHi guys, I know it’s late on a Friday afternoon but we’re super excited about the new collage tool that has just launched so here we are shouting about it! It’s literally just launched this afternoon so whether you’re just getting started on your collages, or you’ve Β been eagerly waiting for the arrival of this awesome new feature, get online now and give it a whirl! If you have any questions about it, or feedback (we’d be glad to hear your thoughts too!), you can leave us a message in the chat box and we’ll get back to you asap πŸ™‚

Not sure where to start? Check out this handy support article!Β We’ll be talking about collages in lots of detail on Monday and you’ll also be able to check out our shiny, new video tutorials to help you create the best collages ever! Happy Friday everyone and we cant wait to see what you create πŸ™‚