Indie Author Book Fest

Hey Everyone,

Hot off the presses. Blurb is throwing down an indie author book fest. And soon. Here is the link. I will be there as well, doing whatever it is that I’m supposed to do. Speaking probably. And loitering around the Blurb compound. I plan on shooting a few portraits and recording a few interviews. Come talk to me, or just come and say hello.

Blurb Indie Book Fest
Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PDT)
Brooklyn, NY

On September 21st, we will be hosting the first ever Blurb Book Fest for indie authors at the Makeshift Society in Brooklyn.
Start the day with a relaxed author breakfast followed by a series of top-notch workshops, speakers and panels. Up for discussion are topics ranging from publishing in installments, navigating the world of book reviews, building blocks of a successful book launch, and much more.
In the afternoon we will host an indie author fair where we invite our current Blurb authors to showcase and sell their books. It’s a chance to meet current and future fans—plus other authors and artists who are self-publishing with Blurb.

Please let us know how you’d like to participate…There’s no need to RSVP just to attend the Marketplace—it’s open to the public—but you will let us know if you want to sell. Authors are required to supply their own Blurb books to sell.

1) Breakfast + Author Workshop + Indie Book Fair (and I have a Blurb book to sell)
2) Breakfast + Author Workshop only
3) Indie Book Fair (and I have a Blurb book to sell)

We’ll review applications for the marketplace on a first come first serve basis, as space is limited. You’ll need to bring at least 5 copies of your book to sell.
Event Details:
Where: Makeshift Society Brooklyn, 55 Hope St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
When: Sunday, September 21st
9-10am: Author Breakfast
10am-1pm: Speaking Program and Workshops
1pm-2pm: Author Lunch & Networking
2pm-5pm: Indie Book Fair



Near and Fargo: New Mexico 20140907

Some don’t make it back. I smelled this poor little guy before I saw him. Coyotes and cars don’t play well. I was climbing slowly, rising sun in my face when the whiff of death became apparent. Only the sound of my breathing as I stopped to make this little tribute.
The road continued to climb for several miles then topped out with a view of a small mountain village. The road turned to dirt and the mobile had no signal. Keep pedaling. A low road along a dried up river but the soil was damp with recent rains, a small column of dirt spraying up from the front wheel. Switchbacks began and were loose, dry and laden with washboard. Up and up and up. Small sprocket, looking down between my legs at the rear ring, never wanting to surrender to the low gear. A photo, ya, that’s it. Reason to stop.
At roads end was a gate blocking my movement, but oh what a gate it was. It is claimed that 75% of all Fortune 500 CEO’s have property in or near Santa Fe, and this baby looked like one such compound. Every trip out here I find a new paradise..owned by someone else.
There was no choice but to retrace my step. Miles of downhill back to Two Trails and then I drop south into the high desert. Miles of downhill tarmac, nice shoulder, no shoulder, glass, debris, etc. And then single track along the rails all the way back to town. The trails changes to improved trail and I realize I’d ridden five difference surfaces on this little gem. Right at forty, perfect, solitary miles. RIP Mr.Coyote

Book Subscription Newsletter


Dear Smogranch Reader:

Testing something here…..and I’m hoping you will play along. I’m thinking of starting a quarterly publication, a magazine I’m guessing, and am attempting to figure out not only how many people are interested but also the best way to communicate with those people. The idea is when I hit “Publish” you will all be notified of the arrival of said publication. Not that you have to actually buy the damn thing, although that would be nice, but at least you will know about the happening. In the future I will offer one-hundred print copies, but there will be an opened ended number of digital copies available. So, if you are so inclined, sign up and take the ride. Like I said, this is an ongoing test. I was hesitant to do this, but I think this ability is critical for anyone seriously wanting to independently publish, something I find myself wanting to encourage. Also working on a way to “spiff” one of the hundred people, randomly of course, but I’ve got some ideas.
photo 2
Here is your mission if you choose to accept it. The test magazine is here. I never intended to go public with this, which is ironic considering the title and content. Shot with Leica, and Hasselblad, and shot on location in Utah, California, New York and the United Kingdom, “Whistleblower” is a look at the terminology of modern warfare hidden in the language of everyday life. This is a mere twenty-pages and is only a first taste of the project. Subsequent magazines will be a higher page count with more content.



As for now, I’m only going to offer this as Ebook. When it’s done, sometime in 2055, I’ll offer the print version. Thanks people.

Songlines of Family

The torch was passed. Long ago. She to me, and so on. “I’m done.” “Now it’s your turn” she said walking away.

Life gets in the way, nearly every single day, and before long the calendar reads a foreign date and the wind of winter blows the short grass flat. How can it be? So soon.

When I return now I return with a new, lesser vigor than before. I realize now how little time we have. Soon we, and I, and they will be gone. So why bother? Does there have to be a reason at the end of the rainbow?
Older now, face making stages and “I can’t be bothered” looks. Expected. And yet I still soldier on because within the mess and blown opportunities are a few moments that feel like they need to be saved. But for who?

Will they take the torch or will it have already burned hot and then out? Time. Passage. I move in and out of their lives, mostly out, but have these little things to cling to. Moments I will never see again, or experience, but now with these I can remember in detail. I’m not an every moment guy. I don’t believe in that. I pick and choose when I shoot, and the rest of the time the camera is away, lost like I never had it in the first place. Most importantly out of mind. Otherwise life is always filtered and you forget to actually be somewhere, with someone, at a specific time.
With camera to eye I miss the male Painted Bunting perched on the link fence, one eye open for larger birds and the other on the feral cats circling at his feet, waiting for the right hesitation. The Rufus hummingbird battles with the Broad Tail. The doe licks the fawn near the edges of the property, silent, backlit tongue. Mom talks to my right, tries to edge in with politics but I can’t go there. Ever. Religion too. Nope. My religion is the light I so patiently wait for, the light that fills me with apprehension when it’s right and I have nothing in front of me other than the light itself. At that point there is only appreciation.
These images make me sad. Perhaps I’ve not yet learned to just be with them. Be happy I have them, and that I was the one who made them, but I can’t help thinking of them as fleeting. Soon there will be fewer pieces of the puzzle. Others will come but they will never be the same.

Mom wears a shirt with a photograph I made of her years before, fishing, as the Medicine Stick hands in the her hand. Dirt roads, dust and the alluring protection of cloud cover. Before long the layer will burn off and we will be left with only ourselves and that which surrounds us.

Blurb Advice

Make the right publication.

It sounds simple, but Blurb has become a truly diverse offering, so the options are exponentially what they were a few short months ago. With new additions like offset printing, Blurb to Amazon and Blurb Global Retail Network the user has many choices to make.

But I don’t want to talk about these things just yet because LONG before these decisions are made you have to have a serious conversation with yourself in regard to who you are, what work you actually have and what your audience will truly consume. You have to make the right publication.

I say this after several years of working for the company, and after meeting with thousands of people across several continents. I’m going to narrow this advice to the photographer world for several reasons. First, most of those reading this blog are from that world, and also because I’ve met with more photographers than any other genre of the creative world. Today is another story, but historically this has been true.
Philip Vigil, artist, in his studio in the Jemez.
(I need new bio pic so bad I’m reduced to this. A selfie from a bathroom near the Jemez Reservation.)

I still see a fair number of photographers making publications that feel historical, expected or in other words publications that look like something they think they are supposed to make. Look, making any publication has the potential to teach you copious amounts in regard to your work, your design skills, your typography skills and your ability to move this book if moving it was part of the original plan, and remember, not all publications are made equal or even to be sold for that matter. I’m currently making a magazine for someone else, and they don’t even know I’m making it. (Yes, I’ve lost it.)

I ALWAYS start with a goal. Experimentation? Portfolio? Catalog? Sell it? Don’t sell it? Sell it to those I already know? Sell it to those I don’t know? What is the work? What book does the work demand? (Not the other way around!). What about a magazine? What about a series of magazines? Do I have audio for an Ebook? Do I need an Ebook? Do I even understand how an Ebook works? Folks, these are just a FEW of the things that go through my head upon making the decision to put more publications into the world.

I don’t know you personally, and I don’t know your work necessarily, but I can almost GUARANTEE that NOBODY you know wants to look at 400 photographs. Or 300. Or 200. Or even 100. Not unless you did a book of nude celebrities, and if this is the case then ignore this entire post. But for the rest of you, myself included, we need to realize the world is a very different place in 2014, and the one thing that is unequivocally in short supply is attention. I simply can’t take in that many images. I’d rather see ten great images in a clean and powerful pub than a 250 image opus on your trip to India.

The first question I get from a lot of photographers is “What is the biggest book I can make?”

Not a good place to start actually. Good for Blurb? Yes. Quite. But we want you to have success, to be happy, and certain books demand the largest size, the highest page count and the top-of-the-line materials, but many do not. Most deserve a very specific set of ingredients, all of which start with the work.

Ask yourself what the work feels like. What size compliments that feeling? What materials? Uncoated stock? Coated? Landscape format? Portrait? Or does a magazine better suite your story? What price point does the publication need to stay under for it to be viable to the audience you are searching for? Would the work be better as multiple books? A set perhaps? Chapters? Or maybe the EPub will open your work up to an entirely new, global audience who may or may not be able to purchase a print copy?

Resting on my handmade bookshelves at home are over 350 monograph style publications, most of which were published traditionally. The truth is I rarely spend much time with these publications. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with them, I do, but life gets in the way. I spend more time with the odd balls, the one-offs the publishing orphans. They FEEL different. They feel wildly personal, almost as if the photographer or artist did ONLY what they wanted to do, and consequently these publications have a resonance.

So you have some choices ahead of you. Make the most of them, and enjoy the process. These questions, this exploration is what makes all of this so much fun. And don’t worry about hitting home runs. They will happen if you just focus on plot and swing easy.

I’d like to continue this Blurb advice theme over the coming months, but more specific to certain topics. Also, you people interested in podcasts? Hit me back and let me know. I’ll continue the other content as well, but these two things are interesting to me.

For your listening pleasure I’ve included a link to the interview I did in regard to magazines.