Creative: Blurb Q&A 001

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Okay folks a little change in the lineup here, just to keep in tradition with the ongoing World Series. I attempted a Vlog. I did. One attempt, one day and quickly realized I could never stomach the idea of filming myself. Not gonna happen. But, audio is great and requires far less post production and feels far less self-centered. I also needed a test of “iPhone as recorder.” As you know, I’ve done this before and was not happy with the results, but this time around I need to make it work. I just can’t carry all the things I’ve been carrying. My main audio system, if I had a place where it was the permanent setup, well then fine, but carrying it has to stop. The phone worked well for this.

I get asked SO many questions I thought I would start by randomly pulling a few, but my hope is that you will write YOUR questions in the comments below. Hell, ask me about anything.(I’m just a guy so don’t put too much stock in my non-Blurb answers.)

Old audio rig on top. iPhone setup below. Now you know why I want to try it again.

Comments 18

  1. Love to know: 1) what app are you using to record 2) how are you adjusting / mixing the audio.

  2. Love this. Thank you for doing it. I’d love to have more of this. Sound was great. Can you post a link to whatever set-up you used with your iPhone to get such good quality?

  3. Thanks, Daniel, I enjoyed that. I’m currently making magazines, just for myself, but I can see how making a series of magazines and making them available for sale is a great way of building an audience for the Big Book. The only downside that I can see is you may have published a lot of your archive in magazine format and your audience may not want to buy in book format what they already own in magazine format.
    The more magazines I make, the more I like the idea of making them for sale and just forgetting about the book.

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      Will add this to list of questions for round two. It’s a issue that a lot of people are facing.

  4. What are your thoughts about telling political stories?

    Excuse me while I rant about politics a bit (and, if you elect to delete this, I will have no hard feelings)

    I think you and I see more or less eye-to-eye politically (although if we don’t disagree on some stuff, god help us all). I’m seeing some serious people working on getting more grass roots politics up to speed, making a serious effort to upset the entrenched party machines applecarts. The most recent national election in the USA was a hard jolt for both parties (“WHAT? The PEOPLE want to choose? UNACCEPTABLE!!!!) and both parties are circling the wagons to protect their inner circles.

    I see Jonathan Smucker, for instance, in Lancaster PA, working to flip a supposedly locked down GOP district.

    Regardless of affiliation, I see grass roots efforts as a good thing, I see flipping locked-down gerrymandered shoo-in districts in either direction as a good thing.

    I see some stories rising up here that are worth telling, and I think that telling them well could really have an impact.

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      Any and all are welcome here. So, it brings up a tough question. How to get anyone to change their mind in a world designed to drive them deeper and deeper into already existing points of view? At least 46 million Americans no longer believe in truth, fact, science or math. While still a relatively small percentage of the population, it still ushers in a new era of make believe. Led by a pathological liar as Commander in Chief, a corrupt stable of cronies around him (Zinke, Sessions, Pruit, Tillerson) we now live in a world where fact and “journalism” or anything “grass roots” is simply seen as “opinion,” or “the enemy.” I have people very close to me who voted for The Freak, and still profess 100% obedience, and some of these people are female, something I find nearly impossible to believe, and yet… we are. We can’t point fingers and say “You are crazy.” Doesn’t work. And how you get people who have turned off the tap of truth to turn it back on again? The Freak’s strategy is brilliant. Just keep lying. Find anything you don’t like, proclaim it’s fake and your followers just lap it up. I have zero faith we will right this ship. I think our culture is in decline and we completely and utterly deserve what is about to happen to us. (how is this for a cheery response!)

    2. Well, one of the problems the left has is that we’re obsessed with exactitude, truth, reason.

      The idea is, apparently, that we can just pundit our way to victory if we could just get the right spreadsheet.

      Trump lies, sure, but more importantly he’s got control of the narrative, broadly construed. He’s got hold of some basically American stories: the hard working factory guy, the hard working miner, the independent gun-toting cowboy. Spreadsheets and reports and statistics don’t mean a damn thing when you’ve got some strong sound bites that *resonate*.

      We’re seeing, live, in real-time, that resonating is more important that truth. People literally watch the man lie, they know he’s lying, but his story still *resonates* and so he’s still got them in the palm of his hand.

      Which is where you come in 😉 It’s where I come in, it’s where everyone with the capacity to tell a story, however slight, comes in. Find the resonant stories which are also true — and you know, it might be an abbreviated version of the truth, a cropped truth, maybe even a truth with a warmed-up color balance — and tell *those* stories.

      I’m working up to it with essays and little books, trying to find the right story. I might have a piece of it coming up soon. You saw an early piece with my little SAN FRAN CISCO book, there’s a followup that’s angrier, more on point, and which — I think — might point out a path.

      Smucker’s book “Hegemony How-To” is lands somewhere in the zone between “academic discussion of how political groups work” and “a vicious little manual for creating change,” you might consider adding it to your reading list?

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      I think we almost have to just do it for ourselves. The traditional channels of information aren’t interested in these stories, and certainly don’t want to pay for anything. The Internet has blown us to pieces, and will continue to do so. But doing these stories, at least to me, is for the people who will eventually survive us.

    4. That is absolutely the case.

      I think this is where PoD has a role, honestly. I want to make things that tell better stories, and have them on blurb so a local grassroots campaign in Iowa, or Pennsylvania, or Orange County, can go buy a copy or ten and hand them out where they’ll do some good.

      Maybe I’ll include instructions (and rights) for taking them apart and photocopying up as many copies as you like. Hmm.

      Buy 10 copies for the office and a couple of high value local influencers, then pull the middle 4 sheets out of one of the copies and xerox up 1000 copies to saddle staple into a pamphlet.. Stick your logo >herethere<.

      Hmm. Hmm.

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  5. A great idea to put this together and I look forward to hearing/reading more Q&A’s. We have kind of discussed this elsewhere but I will add the questions below anyway…

    1) Will Blurb be able to do something about the postage to mainland Europe?

    A 40 page 6×9 Trade just cost me €9.01 for the Trade, €10.99 in postage and €1.24 tax. The last time I bought a trade it was printed in the UK (there was an address at the back). It does not cost €10.99 to ship a Trade from the UK to Germany. Different size but a 40 page 5×8 Digest from Magcloud costs €11 total, much less.

    2) Is there any plans for Blurb to include Magcloud formats into their Bookwright software?

    We don’t need to order Magcloud items via Bookwright, just give us the ability to download a high quality PDF for Magcloud formats, which we can then upload to Magcloud. I am using other software right now so I have a solution but it would be nice to be able to use just Bookwright

    If I think of any more I will add them…

    Ps. The iPhone audio set-up sounded good to me!

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      Hey Paul,
      Shipping is a real issue. I’ll included these questions in round two. Thanks for asking them.

  6. Paul,
    I’ve just received a Blurb magazine here in the U.K. Cost £4.79, shipping £5.99. Printed in Zurich.

  7. First things first. The audio sounds very “far away”. Have you consider the usage of two recorders like the Zoom H1, one for you one for the guest, on two mini-pocket tripods?. The H1 is made of plastic but is good quality and the sound is better than the phone for sure. Just press record on both at the same time and good to go. Just an idea that popped in my head.

    Second thing. Do you think a magazine format like the ones you can get from Magcloud or a trade book from Blurb is a good way to present your work to editors, publicist, reps, whoever might wanna hire you? And if so what format you think could work better? Is it viable from an economical point of view?

    Thank you Dan.

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      I’m okay with the sound. It’s not as good as my main Zoom system but I don’t think anyone cares at this point. I don’t think I do either. I want to keep it as simple and light as possible. I have a Zoom H1 but gave it away, it was okay not great. As for your second point/question…I’ll add it to the list for round two of Blurb Q&A, but the short answer is “Yes, of course.” People, myself included, have been using Blurb for marketing materials for almost ten years. My second Blurb book ever got me major amounts of work. Blurb Magazine, Trade, Photo, Ebook, etc. all work well for marketing.

  8. What is your photographic “magic place.” I’m referring the place that compels you to shoot, whether it turns into a book or not.

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