Trade and Trade Again

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For anyone who is not aware of my book fetish this post is for you. I make a lot of books. Not all of them are good, and not all of them see the light of day. I’m in love with our trade books. Easy, simple, cool, sketches if you will. These books are the perfect intro to bookmaking. You have 400 images and don’t know how to edit? Perfect, page limit for trade books is 400+. Don’t have a lot of cashish to spend? Great, books start at $2.49. In fact, all of the books you see are $2.49 pubs. My next play is to find a group of like-minded souls, scattered around the globe, and actually TRADE the trade books. Are you in? Whoever you are….

Blurb Discount


Hey Campers,

Just got this from Blurb HQ. If you have something in the works then here is a nice little nudge.

The holidays are just around the corner, so we wanted to pass on a little holiday cheer to our friends and family with Blurb’s biggest and best discount of 2014:

30% off with no minimum order.*

Just use the code FRIENDS2014 at checkout before December 11, 2014 and you’re all set to make your own one-of-a-kind books. Celebrate your year, your travels, your family, your successes—anything you want. Make a book as special as you are, and make it with Blurb.

(Of course you’re welcome to share this offer with your own friends and family—let’s keep a good thing going.)

Here’s to a great 2014—and happy book-making!

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.
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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.



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.