Book Subscription Newsletter

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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.
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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.

LINK TO THE NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

LINK TO THE EBOOK

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.

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.

Discount Code from Smogranch

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Photo: Napper

I’ve included this action pose for your viewing pleasure. I’m doing PRECISELY what I tell people never to do…….CHIMP.

You didn’t ask for this but I’m giving it out anyway. For those of you about to order something juicy you an use this code to save 25%.

the code: SMOGRANCH25

the details:

to save 25% on print book orders $75+**
Offer good through August 31, 2014
**Offer valid through August 31, 2014 (11:59 p.m. local time). Valid for first-time customers purchasing printed books only. A 25% discount is applied to your product total with a minimum purchase of USD $75, CAD $75, AUD $75, EUR €60, or GBP £50. Maximum discount is USD $100, CAD $100, AUD $100, EUR €75, or GBP £65 off product total. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders

Ebooks

I just got a brand new laptop. Yep, a screaming fast 13-inch maxed out on RAM. It had been a long while since I had a new machine. I got used to all the tricks I had to employ to get my old laptop to actually do the things I needed to do. No two Creative Suite programs open at the same time. If converting RAW files I had to leave the machine alone and prop it up on books to keep it from overheating, etc. etc. Not any more.

One of the things I never think about when I get a new machine is the work required to get it up to speed. I need software, programs, attachments, etc. In the process of upgrading I realized I now I have an operating system that views Ebooks. Hadn’t really thought about adding mine, but suddenly I was staring at the iBooks interface as it appeared on my desktop. I thought, “What the Hell.”
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I stopped adding my books at ten, but I do indeed have a few more. I had no idea. Over the past year it has become second order for me to just make one from any project I’m doing. Oddly enough, I have three iPads, all of which are broken, but the one I have that still retails a faint heartbeat only has ONE program that works….iBooks. But, even stranger is that most of the time when I show my work this way it’s on my phone. Now that I have the new operating system I’m curious to see if this will become a part of my routine. I’m not actually trying to show people my work, but from time to time I need examples, so this works out well.
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If you are prone to showing your work and want options you should at least give one of these a go. I do enjoy stills and audio. Video is okay, but for me three elements are one too many. I’m in the minority here I think, as usual. Have a look for yourself.
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I’m going to blow my own horn here. This last image….I love. So simple, such beautiful light. And one small audio file to give you the SOUND of that place and that moment. What could be better? Free frozen yogurt? Ya, okay, that, but not much else.

Because I Can: The Postcard Book

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Hey Folks,

This is the latest post in the “Because I Can” series about making Blurb books in an edition of ONE. Yes, you heard and read correctly. I’m making books with the intention of capping the print run at ONE book. Why? BECAUSE I CAN. We have really only had this option since about 2006, yet photographers ALREADY seem to take this for granted. I know, there is so much change on a daily basis that we are perpetually thirsty for the new, always wanting the latest and greatest. I get it. However, I for one cannot overlook the power in having the ability to make a single book. I wrote about this in a previous post, so if you want the background then go back and have a look. I pulled a selection from that prior post to set the table for this one. This is a series people. I’ve made at least a dozen books already and have eighteen more in the pipeline.

This book was created after overhearing a conversation between two young girls in a Japanese stationary store. They came across postcard material and said “Remember these? I really miss getting these in the mail.” Then they spoke about “giving up” and going with email. I asked myself “Why?” Why do we do this to ourselves. We give in, give up, cave to what is happening these days, as if we don’t have a choice. This book was crafted from found post cards, scanned front and back. Postcards were then sleeved and inserted into airmail envelopes.

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