Creative: ESSAY Issue One Goes Live

Deep breath. Where to start.

Essay Issue One Trade
Essay Issue One Magazine

Content is exactly the same for both formats.

What I’ve learned. (This post was written months ago, and I’m about to begin issue five!)

1. I’m grading myself a “C” on this issue. MUCH room for improvement. Frankly the grade is attributed to the actual images, story, copy etc.. I’ve got better work but need to figure out a long-term strategy. My designs are simple. I want people to look at this and think “Hey, I can do that too.” I designed different versions of these things, much more complex versions, but scrapped them in the end. It’s interesting for me to see what I think looked good at a particular time, and then looking back on it at a later date I’m not as happy with it. Such is life.

2. This is the most fun I’ve had with Blurb in a long, long time.

3. There are serious possibilities with this system. If you have goals to truly self-publish and sell this is a perfect place to start. Having said that I will never look at this as a revenue stream. For me it takes the fun out of it. In fact, I’m not marking these up at all, so no attempt to make a profit from them. If you are thinking of this as a revenue stream just know you need to have a full system in place. I know people who self-pub successfully. All of them are business people first and foremost. There is no magic pill, and self-publishing requires FULL commitment. Think of a pie chart with all the pieces filled in.

4. The process works unbelievably well, but that does not guarantee great content, or great look or great feel. That’s on us to make the best imagery, copy, artwork we can possibly make. Again, I’m giving myself a “C.”

5. I LOVE having two formats, and with the “change format” option it’s ALMOST effortless. I still don’t know which version I like best. I’m doing two formats because it’s easy but also because it provides a different look. The materials are different so each trim size gives the work a different feel. The magazine is what you expect while the trade is something different.

6. This is a wonderful collaboration tool, which is something I will be investigating further as soon as possible. I’ve got a few friends picked out.

7. I thought forty-pages was a huge amount of real estate but it’s not. It goes REALLY fast, especially if you are running double-truck images.

8. I can’t do the behind-the-scenes AND the project itself in the same issue. What I can do is an “On Assignment” page ala the Nat Geo who has been doing that for decades. Including the BTS and the project in the same issue just looked busy.

9. The writing takes the most time.

10. Damnit if the film images don’t look like the cat’s ass.(Redneck language used here to keep the mood of this post in check.) I’m totally screwed because I’m still in love with film.

11. I ordered and paid for five sets of proofs. Five sets of trade versions and five sets of magazine versions. The together person could do this in two, easily, but I’m a mess, so five it was. This is probably, all said and done, about $100 of tests. This is NOTHING in the grand scheme and doesn’t guarantee anything, but printing test books is what is required to do this kind of thing. Don’t sweat it. Take your time, be patient and maybe you only need ONE test copy.

23 Comments on “Creative: ESSAY Issue One Goes Live”

    1. You might be the only one! I think it’s starting to get good at Issue Three. Just finished four, which is almost a straight essay. Little copy. Issue One is more story. Two is a blend, and three and four are leaning more toward being mostly about the images. Thought Five would be Miami but don’t think so now. Not enough work.

        1. Sean,
          I have learned so much, but like all things modern, I find myself with bits of intense time to dedicate. So what comes out is whatever I was feeling at that moment. If I was smart and together I would work with a designer, come up with an overall feel and then stick to it, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be that guy. Someone asked yesterday “How many have you sold?” This is an expected question, but I actually don’t know and don’t care. The fact that I’m slowing taking my entire career and editing and printing it into a known form is so exciting for me.

          1. I wouldn’t ever take you as the guy to do something like this just to keep tabs on how many you’ve sold. I know that isn’t the reason. The best part of this is your willingness to share snippets of your career in a format that is so easily accessible.

          2. Sean,
            Cash. It’s all about cash. All I know is that this is the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time.

  1. Hi Dan – just went to order but sadly Blurb won’t let you order a trade and a magazine together on one order. Shipping both orders separately pushes price up to $45 so sadly bit out of my reach for now. Good luck though, sounds like you are making great headway with this you great big overachiever you 🙂

    1. Mick,
      You don’t need both. They are the same content. Get whatever is cheaper. Or wait and maybe I’ll do a special raffle or something. First five or something…..

  2. Having heard about ESSAY for quite a while and even seen a draft back when we hung out in your hood, it is really awesome to see it launched! We shall order a few once you have more for sale so we can bundle the shipping cost.

    ESSAY is definitely inspiring me to try out Blurb magazine printing soon.

  3. I shall definitely be picking up a copy of this, I’m just not sure which version! 🙂

    Like Flemming though, I will hold off until a couple more issues are available so there is less shipping costs to Germany!

    Really looking forward to reading about the other upcoming issues…

    1. Paul,

      Just know the content is the same in both formats. No need to get both versions. But, waiting for the first few is a good idea too. The issues are getting better….at least I think so.

  4. So happy that this is finally out! I will wait until you launch issues 2 and 3 just to save money on the shipping (Blurb is outrageous in this regard, I don’t mind paying whatever for the actual piece of work but then I feel I’m screwed when I want to order the same books in different formats — testing with my own stuff for example, it maybe due to the fact that both norway and italy are considered strange countries or something). Good stuff anyway, so happy for this!

    1. AADM,
      Yes, shipping is pricey, but to Blurb’s credit, shipping is insanely complex, especially when moving so many different products to so many different countries. Personally, I don’t know how any of it works. Far too complex for me to understand.

  5. Just placed the long anticipated order. Your C+ is about 23 letters higher than anything I’ll ever produce. Can’t wait to receive it as well as the subsequent issues.

    1. Larry,
      You know, someone I know actually knows some of your photography. You, my friend, could easily be doing this same thing.

      1. I’ve just started looking at Larry’s work, very nice indeed. I’m going back to look at the rest…

        Larry: If you ever do a book, put my name down for a copy. You have some great work that deserves to be in print!

  6. ADDM and I have the same plan here: shipping to the U.K. is more than the price of the magazine. The magazine looks great and is a great incentive to use Blurb for personal projects (which I do). Thanks, Daniel.


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