Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Times They Are A Changin'

 Interactive apps make learning more fun.
About three years ago, I saw the writing on the wall (for writers and photographers): The world of traditional book publishing was changing - thanks (or maybe "no thanks" as some traditional book publishers may say) to on-line training, apps, DVDs and other methods of e-publishing.

For someone who has written 36 books, and who was pleased when royalty checks arriving for 20 years, this was an important realization. Simply put: I had to change, or perhaps more accurately, I had to evolve as the publishing industry evolved. I certainly did not want to become a dinosaur – although I am happy with being called "The Godfather of Photography" (the name given to me by the young Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs fame).

This was illustrated this morning when my friend David Leveen, who is working on a new Digital Rebel DVD with me, sent me this article: Confessions of a Publisher: "We're in Amazon's Sights and They're Going to Kill Us."

Minutes later, my friend Juan Pons, who co-hosts the DPE Podcast with me, sent me this article: Apple Announces Free iBooks Author OSX App.

It was a smart decision for me to move into the world of e-publishing - and I encourage photographers and authors to get into e-publishing and to self-publish. That means you!

 Pictures look great on the iPad and iPhone.
Although I will be getting into iBooks and more PDF e-books, here's why I currently like apps (which is why I have seven). By the way, you can do the same with iBooks:
• You have total control over content.
• You can update content.
• You can track results every day with programs like AppVis.
• You get paid monthly.
• Your pictures look better on the iPad than on paper.
• Your sales are worldwide. 
• You can sell at a lower price than a book so your audience is increased.
• Apps can also be viewed on Apple TV. Some, like my iHDR app, can also be viewed on an Apple computer.

AppVis lets you track app sales worldwide. I track sales daily. See what I mean about worldwide.
By the way, my apps are basically how-to e-books. It's fun and fast producing them.

My on-line classes at Kelby Training are also making my walks to the mailbox fun again - as they are for my friends at Kelby training.

PDF e-books are another self-publishing alternative. Sales of my first e-book – Travel and Nature Photography A - Z – with photographer Steve Dreyer has inspired us to do more in our Select Series. PDF e-books are easier and more affordable to produce than apps, and again, your pictures will look better on the iPad or a computer monitor than on a piece of paper.

In the past, book publishers offered distribution and publicity - a key to selling books. Today, you can be the co-distributor (through your site/blog, Amazon and iTunes) and PR person (through social media). Here is an article I wrote on social media about the importance of social media. 

So fellow traditional book authors, ya gotta change with the times. Here is a quote that drives home that point: You don't drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there. - Zig Ziglar

Explore the light and . . . please keep your head above water.


P.S. Is there a place for traditional book publishing? Sure. My Exploring the Light book, my favorite book, is still selling. And I am sure that my pal's Scott Kelby's books are selling well. But it's a fact that we are moving more and more toward e-publishing. So maybe the new expression will be "E-publish or perish."


pnmaryf said...

I love the proliferation of e-books and such, but I am a little frustrated that all of the 'wonderful' apps I hear about are always for the iPad, iPhone etc. Not everyone can afford to go into the Apple world. So I guess I hope you do more forms that are available to the larger audience out there like the eBooks. Pictures look good on other electronic media too.

Lest you think I'm just a cranky person I want to thank you for all the ways you share with all of us out there in the photographic world. I appreciate every bit of learning I can get.

morethanasnapshot said...

I totally agree Rick. E-books are great and inexpensive and anyone can make them. Even though I'm not a famous photographer like you, I just published my first e-book called More Than A SnapShot: A Digital Photography Workbook which can be purchased from my website but I'd love to send you a copy to get some feedback from the master.

I'll also have to check out the book you mentioned was your favorite, my favorite of yours was Rick Sammon's Complete Guide to Digital Photography.

lcat4 said...

I'll second everything pnmaryf said, from thanking you for all the ways you share with us to wishing your self-published goodies were available on more than just Apple products. Some of us may not want to invest in Apple products. PDF would be good - and multi-platform. Again, Rick, thanks for being a great teacher, a terrific Godfather and a very kind person.

Mara said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this Rick. I read your article and the comments with interest as I'm currently working on my first ebook. Things such as formatting (apple vs pdf) are of great interest to me and it's very generous of your to share your experience.