Creative: August Self-Publishing Project, Final Chapter

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The Book.

Oh yes, the book. It has arrived. Well, it actually arrived more than a week ago while I was on vacation in Maine. The book then went on to survive a monsoon rainstorm while leaning against my front door. The package was wrinkled and faded but the book was perfectly intact and dry. This book was completed, uploaded, printed and shipped less than a week after I returned from Wyoming, and this was with me feeling exhausted and staring at three, larger Blurb tasks. What I’m saying is this “live-booking” is a totally doable, enjoyable endeavor that I fully expect a segment of you to embrace. Not all of you will, and that’s okay. I can’t force you, but I have thought about trying.

What to take away from this project if you take nothing else.

1. Fun
2. Strategic
3. Educational
4. Affordable
5. Full circle. Exposure to print. Just like a real, actual photographer.

Let’s talk about the actual book.

1. Blurb, 8×10 portrait, imagewrap, black end sheets, Proline Uncoated paper. Approximately 100 pages. I love this book size. Large enough to feel substantial but easier to handle, and less expensive, than either of the larger size options. Proline Uncoated has just enough texture without falling into that “too toothy” realm. I love this paper. Expensive but when used appropriately a surgical strike on the senses. Were to make this book public I would create a second version, in either Trade or Magazine which would fracture the price by about two thirds. I would keep this fancy version for my family but then offer the less expensive version to the public. I’m not going to do that, but if I was….

2. As you will see, the cover was designed using a black and white image over-layed with a color image which provides a specific sheen. The title of the book is “Glimpse” so I wanted to keep this in mind when designing the cover. To actually see the full extent of the image on the cover the viewer needs to twist and turn the book, hence the “Glimpse” title. (You always want the copy and imagery to play nicely together.) When you look directly at the cover of the book you don’t see the author portrait…….pretty cool huh? (Look at last image in this post for sample image.)

3. This book was designed with family in mind. THAT was and is the target audience. Had I done this book for the public it would require a totally different design, far more copy, better captions and more explanation not to mention a totally different edit.

4. Designing the first forty-pages before I left was critical to the “live-booking” style of work. I thought I would end up changing much of what I did, but I actually stuck with most of it. People this is critical if you are going to make books. To think about coming back with nothing written, nothing designed, nothing edited….yikes. Like climbing Mt. Everest with no training. Not likely gonna happen. Give yourself the advantage and take some stabs BEFORE you go.

5. I’m in love with the single spread with copy idea. Working with ONE image and ONE solid block of copy for any given day of work. Slowly building the book one spread at a time. In fact, I’m thinking of doing this with projects from here on out.

6. I really like how the digital images printed. This was really my first book using the Fuji XT2. The files printed incredibly well. Both color and black and white. The camera is overkill for everything I do. I’ve got no intention of making 40×60 prints, which I’m sure you could do with this camera, so most of what I do falls well within the realities of this camera. I’m not missing film at all, but for you film lovers just know my life is different now and this camera fits who I am at the moment.

7. Just so you know, all I did was calibrate my monitor, months ago, and kept things like brightness and saturation in mind. I didn’t convert to CMYK. I didn’t use the Blurb profile. I didn’t soft proof. Nope. Didn’t need to. Book and images look spot on. I’m adding this point because I get SO many questions from color geeks who seem to make bookmaking the most complicated endeavor in human history. I get it, color is cool, but it’s not going to make your book interesting. Save the time and energy you spend on pixel by pixel color matching, or whatever it is you are doing, and use that same time to make better images, or write better copy, etc. I will take interesting over perfect any day of the year.

8. This copy of the book will probably be the ONLY copy. Now that I’ve made my images I’ll send this copy to my mother who doesn’t know its coming. This is half the fun. This book will cause complete and total confusion in the Milnor Davidian Compound. My phone will ring minutes after reception. “Daniel.” “Ya.” “Someone sent me a book with you on the cover.” “Ya.” “Who did that?” “No idea.” “But it’s all about us, and you and your father.” “No idea.” “Daniel” “What?” “You know and you just aren’t telling me.” “No idea.” “Daniel.” “Tell me I’m your favorite child and I’ll tell you.” “No.” “Say it!” “Daniel.” Can’t wait to get her going.

9. Very happy I created and including the acrylic drawings of the eclipse. As you know, I’m not a painter. This is all new to me, but fun, and will continue to be a part of what I do, hopefully a larger and larger part. Art is cool. Who knew?

10. I’m done. Did I mention that? I’m already on to the next thing. I feel like if you are a photographer your job in life is to make pictures. Your job is not to stop your life for a year, or two, and marry yourself to a book. This just isn’t going to work in the future unless you are independently wealthy and have nothing but time. Then by all means, but for the rest of us just keep to this plan. Research, design, shoot, edit, sequence, finish design, upload, print MOVE ON. You will be far happier, far nicer to be around and you won’t be asking anyone for anything. This doesn’t mean you make junk, or move so fast you produce a sub par species, but be realistic and spend the bulk of your time making images.

Comments 14

  1. Hi Daniel! Thanks for the inspiration. The book looks very special and a piece of art. I envy your talent, your determination. And now I wish we had Blurb here in Russia… I do visit US from time to time though; should definitely do the “research-design-shoot-edit… upload” before my next trip. Thanks mate!

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      Just wait till you are in the US….then make your book and have it shipped to where you are staying…..Thanks for reading.

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      Freaking out my mom is maybe the best part of it all. Had I put HER on the cover it would have been even better.

  2. Looks great my friend. Was laughing to myself about the mom comments….In a world with unlimited time you could have got a clandestine Walter Mitty type shot of her opening the book, then made that the cover of subsequent books for the rest of the family.

    Love the drawings too BTW, nice touch.

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      She is prominent in at least a half dozen spreads in the book which will cement me as favorite child. At least for the day.

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    2. Yeah, but doing a Magcloud digest of 20-30 pages is so much cheaper than 10 prints especially when one does not own a printer!

      I might do another Magcloud digest, for mailing out to people that could make me rich and famous!

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      I just FTP the files to the store. Or use one of those kiosks. Super cheap. My printer sucks but I use it too. Digest is always a good idea.

    1. I too would like to know more about the cover effect and whether it only works on image wrap books or specific paper.

      The book looks fantastic and a perfect size

      Ps. From the image above “There is a chance I might collaborate with someone else…”, I’m hoping its with Mr. Jackson

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      I would love to collab with Frank. And that is doable as we are basically in the same city. The cover effect was done by sandwiching two images, working with opacity and the fact that one was black and white and another color. This effect would work best with Imagewrap as it has the right sheen to it. Softcover and dust jacket are too shiny. Imagewrap does show fingerprints which is the only downside.

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      It was somewhat by accident. I thought I knew how to to do it, but it took some tweaking. I used two different images, one black and one color. I then worked the opacity back to give myself what I was looking for. The color image when tweaked enough turned an almost gold color, which when reduced created a strange directional, almost interneg. I wasn’t sure how it was going to print but when I got the book it immediately looked way too dark but when I turned the book in the light I could see the image. And in diffused light I could see the image by looking straight on. The idea was to make people work for the Glimpse…..

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