11 Things to do now to make life easier in the Fall

So, it’s May, your books done, and all you’ve got left is distribution. What are you going to do with all this time? Well, there are 3 ways you can take advantage of the yearbook “down time”:

  1. Bring in some movies for the kids, call this your extra prep, and catch up on all the stuff you didn’t do all year because you were busy with yearbook
  2. Have the kids put all the skills they’ve learned this year into other areas: creating a magazine, website, etc…
  3. Start next year’s book now, and be ahead of the game in the Fall!

If Option #3 sounds appealing to you, here are 11 specific things you can do to make sure your staff is ready to roll on the first day of school:

  1. Recruit your staff now – Ask your Herff Jones rep for a “Staff Recruiting Packet” if you haven’t done so already. It’s filled with posters, application packets, and everything else you need to recruit a quality staff. If your school won’t let you recruit, ask if you can simply recruit your editors.
  2. Decide your theme and cover – The underclassmen on your staff have been waiting all year to have a real say in the book. It’s time to let them strut their stuff. Start brainstorming theme and cover ideas. Write down ones that have potential. Have the staff start collecting magazine lay-outs, brochures, etc… with design inspirations. This is also a good way for you to start choosing your editors for next year.
  3. Write down what went well and what didn’t – Do this on your own, with your editors, or with the whole class. Don’t count on remembering everything. Make sure you write it down. (Although you’re calm and relaxed now, remember how rushed you are in the beginning of the year.)
  4. Re-do any forms that didn’t work well this year – Sales letters, camera sign up sheets, etc… If there are any forms you use that need improving, now’s the time to do it. Remember to save the new version with a date or version number, in case you run across the old file again.
  5. Register for yearbook camp – Most camps have registration deadlines or early bird discounts. Make sure you have all the information you need to register your staff for camp.
  6. Train your staff – Now is a great time to work on photography, design, and copywriting skills for your staff that will be returning next year. Bring in some professionals in the community, if you can. Or use this time to beef up your technology skills. Learn some InDesign or Photoshop tricks that you might want to use in next year’s book.
  7. Review this year’s budget and make plans for next year – Make sure you know what your final invoice is going to be, or at least a good estimate. Make sure you’ll have enough to cover it. If not, what adjustments do you need to make for next year. If you’ve got money left over, think about how you might want to spend it!
  8. Plan your book marketing and sales for next year – Start planning next year’s sales now! Plan a Yearbook Sales Kick-Off event toward the beginning of the year. Come up with a sales slogan. Create video advertisements for morning annoucements. Get all the details taken care of now so that information can be ready to send home as soon as school begins! (TIP: If you sell enough books at the beginning of the year, you might be eligible for an early payment discount with your printer. You can also better estimate how many books you’ll need, so you don’t end up buying more than you can sell!)
  9. Sell Senior and Business Ads over the summer – Just because they go in the back of the book doesn’t mean you have to do them last! In fact, if you sell your ads over the summer, your staff can already begin working on pages as soon as school starts (without having to wait for events to happen). This means you will have your first set of pages ready for that first deadline! And if you’re a Herff Jones customer and you send in pages early, you can get credit for future late days! (ask your rep for more details)
  10. Open next year’s kit and toss out this year’s out – Your publisher kits should be arriving about now. Go through all the new stuff, and toss the old stuff out. There is no reason to keep old kit materials lying around! Take time to learn what’s new for next year, so you don’t get caught by surprise the day before a deadline, or miss out on an exciting new feature!
  11. Clean out your photographs and file cabinets – Start next school year on a clean slate, archive all your photographs and then delete them off your harddrives. You don’t want them getting mixed up with next year’s photos! Also, have editors clean out section/editor cubbies, mailboxes, etc…

If you have any end-if-the-year tips, we’d love to hear them! You can add your comments below…

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