Creative: ESSAY Issue One Goes Live

Deep breath. Where to start.

Essay Issue One Trade
Essay Issue One Magazine

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.


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