I’ve been putting off this post for almost six months now because it’s less about photography and more about marketing and publication. Lord knows this has changed dramatically in the past year as we’ve seen the likes of David duChemin become the godfather of self publishing and promotion.
Name me one photographer on the planet that hasn’t bought at least one of Craft & Vision’s eBooks and I’ll buy you the first pint. The whole idea of photographers self publishing, self marketing and self promoting their work was unheard of just a few short years ago and now the industry is running on all cylinders.
However, I want to warn you not to get too far ahead of yourself. There is only one Scott Kelby (possibly the best author/marketer/publisher the world’s ever seen) and only one David duChemin (the unabashed king of eBook self publishing). For that matter, one Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias, David Hobby, David Ziser, Matt Kosklowski, Joe McNally, Jeff Revell, Kirk Tuck, etc.
You’re never going to get rich publishing your own “coffee-table” photography book but that doesn’t mean you can’t create something significant and lasting without breaking the bank. With the advent of digital imaging and digital printing, self publishing short run or even single copy books is now available to anyone.
There are many self publishing providers in the market today. Just leaf through the last few pages of any photography magazine and you’ll find ads for most major firms. So why did I choose Blurb for my books? After looking at ten different self publishing firms, I chose Blurb for three main reasons; available book sizes, free software and last but not least, price!
Blurb offers free software that works with their printers called BookSmart. This simple little program allows you to create almost any type of book as simply as writing a document in
Microsoft Word Apple’s Pages application. They have dozens of book templates available in the program and every template is easily customized to fit your particular needs.
The “coffee-table” style photo book templates make it very easy to get started. Just import your images (correctly output from Lightroom in the right size, resolution and color space) into BookSmart and drag & drop them into the page template. You can make an image bleed to the edge (full page) or span two pages (double truck).
You can also crop and resize within BookSmart but I recommend importing the images already sized to fit each page as closely as possible. Remember, most publication printers use 240 lpi resolution so any JPEG image you import should use the same resolution.
Blurb also makes it very easy to create a professional looking jacket for your hard-cover books as shown below. It’s your book’s first impression with potential buyers and a well designed jacket is vital to enticing readers to actually buy your book.
And when your book is finished the BookSmart software will upload it to Blurb and optimize it for printing. I highly recommend buying one “proof” copy to review for any new book you create. Images that look fine on your PC or Mac screen may be too dark or too light in the printed book. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money if you review a proof copy thoroughly before buying any large quantities.
Blurb’s pricing is among the lowest in the industry. They price by the type of book (hard-cover or soft-cover), size and the number of pages. They also offer quantity discounts on any order over 10 copies.
You will be astounded by the quality of Blurb books. The paper used is very high quality, the book’s bindings are very tight and strong and the colors in your printed images look very close to the original. All in all, Blurb offer the what I consider to be the best overall value in the self publishing industry.
I’ve tried others but always come back to Blurb for their quality, price and software. And to answer your question, I am not sponsored by Blurb or any other company for that matter.
I just call ’em like I see ’em . . .