Anything goes on Throwback Thursday and in the dead of winter, even down here in Sarasota, is a great time to think about the ocean, especially scuba diving. Meet two of my most favorite dive buddies, Kayce Baker and Bob Rose.
Years ago I was headed on a trip and needed a dive buddy. Somebody suggested I talk to Bob. I knew him from seeing him at a few conventions, but had never really spent any time really talking to him. Well, that first trip to Bonaire launched a friendship that's been going non-stop for probably fifteen years or more. Somewhere along the line Kayce got her certification and it's been one adventure after another, often with the three of us.
The image above was taken on trip to Honduras to swim with whale sharks. I think it's from 2007 or early 2008. As with a lot of dive trips, you meet the same people on the way out as you did in the airport upon arrival. Well, on this trip, we were the only ones to see any of these enormous. but docile, critters. All the other groups got skunked!
I found this image from Bob in my files. It's never been cleaned up, so apologies for the quality, but it's proof that we got what we came for, along with a whole lot of fun and memory-making moments.
Within the first five years of getting certified I logged in over 300 dives. I was hooked, but it wasn't just the diving, but the friendships that created every experience.
We probably had a group of about twenty-five people and with any given trip we could always get 10-14 of them on board. Every trip was amazing, even the ones that didn't always live up to expectations still had some incredible laughs and further solidified some great friendships.
Like every Throwback Thursday, my point is the same...capture those images. There are few things more fun than looking back on those priceless moments, made tangible through our images!
Okay, it's a pretty broad title, but here's an update on some of the things going on in Nashville this week on the trade show floor and I want to make sure you know about all of them...
Marathon's Got Some Big Surprises
They're a new partner at SCU, but even if they weren't on board I'd be telling you to check them out. What they're going to be launching redefines their ability to help you raise the bar on how you show your work. Plus, there are some great promotional offers and each one has its own application in your business.
Bella Art Prints, their new Family Marketing Program ,VPS ROES (volume units as low as $.65 per 8x10 unit) and
Premium Websites top the list of new products and services. If the link below isn't active yet, it's only because the program isn't going live until IUSA. So, check back on February 1, if you're not headed to Nashville.
While you're in their booth check out some of their most successful tools and programs for photographers. Their Marketing Advantage Program is amazing, along with their Senior Marketing Program, graduation cards, branding essentials and pressprints. And, put this one on your calendar...
Join Marathon and network with the Marathon team on February 2 from 3:00 - 5:00 PM in booth #933 for a celebration cocktail. Just like the the old Oldsmobile commercial...
It's not your father's Marathon!
Great Glass and Offers From Tamron!
I'm a big fan of the great glass Tamron's making, but an even bigger fan of all the things they're doing in education. They'll soon be launching their 2015 Tailgate Tour, giving just about all of you a chance to meet some of the finest photographers in our industry on your hometown turf.
In the mean time, if you're in Nashville get over to their booth (#229) and enter to win a Tamron SP 24-70/2.8 Di VC USD lens ($1300 value). Plus, get a $25 bonus rebate on select lenses when purchased from an authorized Tamron dealer during the show. This bonus rebate is exclusive to the show dates, so check out some of the greatest glass in photography.
LUMIX, Luminaries and Panasonic
A year ago we started a new feature here at SCU, Luminary Corner. It's become one of the most popular series with a new guest post or spotlight profile of some of the finest most creative photographers in the industry today. Well, this weekend, many of them will be in the Panasonic booth,
Plus, join Frederick Van from This Week in Photo (TWiP) as he hosts another memorable series of Google+ Hangouts, live from the Panasonic booth. It's always a kick to catch up with Frederick and the Luminaries. In fact, I'm on at 4:00 pm on Monday, Feb 2, but "Live from USA" starts on Sunday and it's your chance to get to know some incredibly talented artists, together with Frederick's guests, joining us each day through the Internet.
Shutter Magazine and ShutterFest
Check out the latest from Sal Cincotta and the team with the fastest growing photographic publication (and convention) in photography. In the Shutter Magazine booth we'll be doing live mini-programs to help you raise the bar on your business. Sal's got an all star series of programming going on each day of the show. I'll be over in the booth on Sunday and Monday at 2:00 PM each day with Five Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out. Look for Lori Nordstrom talking about Selling Digital Files, Taylor Cincotta with Five Tips for Bigger Sales Averages and Sal Cincotta with Five Tips for Building a Better Portfolio, Knowing Sal and the team, you can count on a lot going on in the booth all three days of the convention!
"If anybody laughs at your idea view it as a sign of potential success."
In looking for some inspiration to launch my brain this morning, I found the quote above and it simply hit home. I've written before about the importance of feeding your brain with a little motivational reading. Every now and then I love to just wander through a few of the better quote books.
The quote above is from "Dance first. Think later." It's by Kathryn & Ross Petras. If you want to find out more about their books, just click on the book to the left and you'll be on the Amazon page. In regards to the quote...
We're in the middle of the trade show season in photography and I'm thinking about things people have laughed about. Here's one from the archives...
Over thirty years ago Steve Sheanin founded WPPI. He did it because none of the other shows or associations would recognize what everybody then called the "weekend warrior", part time photographers with full time day jobs. There were plenty of people who put bets on WPPI not lasting past their first show, but it grew every year and twenty-five years later it was one of the biggest shows in the country.
Even closer to home is the criticism I got when I started out on my own in 2009. The economy was certainly the worst in my life time, but I was tired of working for other people and wanted to do more things to be involved in the industry and work directly with more photographers. Well, here I am almost six years later and things just keep getting better. I'm involved in more projects with more photographers and companies than ever before, but best of all is the smile I wake up with every morning.
Then there are companies in our industry, who just a few years ago didn't exist. Sprouting Photographer is one of my favorites. I'm sure there were plenty of people who thought, "Just what we need, another podcast series!" Well, they won "Best of 2014 Podcasts" from Apple/iTunes and there's a reason - Bryan Caporicci and Rob Nowell believed in there goal and never let anything slow them down.
Last on my list is Dawn Shields' story. She started with the profile of a "mom-with-a-camera". She worked hard to be the very best and I know when she started she must have heard some of the same criticism photographers have today about being a newbie...but four years ago she won Album of the Year in WPPI competition and it wasn't a wedding album. "Legacy" focused on her grandfather's life in Alcatraz and it's a stunning album.
So, the next time somebody laughs at you, think of it as a speed bump. It should only slow you down enough to check your confidence level in those things you believe in most and at the top of the list is YOU!
I found a quote in 2009 that really described what I was feeling when a number of close friends and even family members thought I was nuts to be heading out on my own...
"I do it because I can. I can because I want to. I want to because you said I couldn't!"
The bottom line? Nobody has the right to step on your dreams!
One of the best professional photography shows in the country has become PhotoPro Expo. If you’re in the Midwest, here’s a show that’s a must attend. This is a show loaded with great content and their programming is top shelf.
One of my favorites for this year was the Sunday night wrap-up program, which was a panel discussion about trends in photography. David Ziser, who’s been in the role as convention manager for a whole lot of years, asked me to moderate the panel.
David and I talked a few days earlier and decided on the panel members, pretty much at random, having no idea what a collection of all-stars it would be. RC Concepcion, Rosemary Cundiff-Brown, Roberto Valenzuela and Sandy Puc contributed one gem after another in the ninety-minute program.
When you think about trends in this business, think about how things have changed from the marketing perspective. Twenty-five years ago Dean Collins used to jokingly suggest all you needed to be a professional photographer was a yellow pages ad and a roll of duct tape. Ten years ago people said you couldn’t be in business without a website. In the last year or two, having a blog and social media has become a necessity. The point is, the trends in how we communicate and share information are constantly changing.
Each member on the panel had something terrific to contribute, especially when it came to discussing consumer trends in photography from the professional side of the business. For me though, the gem of the night came from RC Concepcion.
An audience member expressed concern over the growing number of photographers jumping into the industry, because of the easy availability of picture-taking gear. While his logic and concern over everybody being able to take pictures these days was a little flawed, RC made a statement that simply put everything in perspective.
“Craftsmanship will always trump technology”
He went on to compare a Nissan Altima to a Porsche, which feature for feature, if the Altima is fully loaded, would be comparable. “But it’s not the features but the craftsmanship, the stitched leather and the quality in manufacturing.”
I know I’m paraphrasing and not dead-on with RC’s comment, but think about it for a second. The next time you’re worried about competition, take a look at the quality of your work. Are you a craftsman or just a picture-taker? Have you developed a skill set to make your images stand out and look different? Are your images the best they can be?
Obviously RC added more to expand the concept, but it’s so accurate in describing what makes the work of the professional photographers we admire the most so exciting. It’s what makes their work iconic.
PhotoPro Expo will never be the largest convention in the country, but it’s got a level of passion from the attendees to put it right up there with the very best. It’s got all the ingredients, including an opportunity to network with some of the most creative people in photography today.
RC is a great example. I’ve known who he is for years. We share a lot of the same friends, but never picked up any time together. His insight into so many of the challenges the industry faces was terrific to listen to and he’s definitely somebody who should be on your radar.
You’ll find him regularly on The Grid with Scott Kelby and well worth following. Check out his blog and website. Even better for me is that he’s only an hour away…now it’s time to see if I can catch him for lunch!
Tomorrow's SPTV.me show, live from PhotoPro Expo is already shaping up to be a great show.
First, my granddaughter has announced a take over!
Second, we've got some great content tomorrow and terrific guests. Beverly and Tim Walden, Tamara Lackey, Roberto Valenzuela, Jillian Bell and Tom Curley will be joining us. We'll be talking about ways to help you establish your priorities and bring a little balance to your life, working with your spouse and other family members and publishing your own book, just to name a few.
Plus, we're got thousands of dollars worth of great giveaways including a Tamron 70-300mm lens, three one year subscriptions from Photodex for Proshow Web Premium, a one year Pro Business Level Account from Smug Mug for anyone establishing a new account, a 65GB Ultra High Speed SD card along with a few additional surprises throughout the day. But remember - in order to win you've got to post on the SPTV Facebook page and share a comment about any of your new year's resolutions. Just click on the banner above and you're there!
SPTV is all about education and giving you the ability to learn from some of the finest educators in professional photography today.
On a regular basis I'm accused of being the industry cheerleader, but here's a prime example of what keeps me so pumped up. The industry is constantly changing and over and over again new experiences just to seem to appear.
Here's the scenario today:
I got the email below this morning from SPTV. I couldn't be more excited about today's show and a completely new experience for my 40+ year adventure in photography. I've done podcasts, webcasts, spoken at various conferences, taught marketing workshops and introduced hundreds of speakers over the years, but never been part of a hosting team on a series like this.
Yesterday we filmed part of today's show, a shoot out challenge with my co-host, Matthew Jordan Smith, Lindsay Adler and David Ziser. Each of them had a different way of facing the challenge, demonstrating their individual expertise and why each of them are known as the very best in photography.
Together with Sandy and Rob, they created some of the best hands-on content in education. Over and over again I was in awe of their expertise and the way they took on the challenge. We'll be sharing this content through most of the day today, starting at 10:00 am EST and I love the way we're going to do it.
Following each photographer's pre-recorded segment, we'll have them on as a guest on the show, live, to comment on the thought process they experienced going through the shoot.
I hope you'll join us - it's going to be a kick!
Join us Saturday, January 24th from 10am–4pm EST for a shoot-out challenge!
SPTV.me will present a location challenge, and Matthew Jordan Smith, Lindsay Adler, and David Ziser will discuss their approach to the situation then go into action. Each photographer will demonstrate their methods and techniques to problem solve during this on location scenario. You don’t want to miss this!
Watch them work their way through difficult lighting problems and join us for a chat where you can ask questions live. Clear your schedule, this type of learning experience isn’t available often.
Then join us on Sunday the 25th with special guests Tim and Bev Walden as they discuss the ins and outs, and ups and downs of working with your spouse. Roberto Valenzuela will share what it take to write a book. Also onboard Sunday is Skip Cohen, Jillian Bell, Tom Curley, Matthew Jordan Smith, and David Ziser.
SPTV.me LIVE at ProPhoto Expo 2015 — where you'll enjoy an insider's connection in the photography world!
The first US show for 2015 launches tomorrow, live from the trade show floor at PhotoPro Expo in Covington, KY. It would be an understatement to say I was just excited about being part of this first show. I'm co-hosting with good buddy, Matthew Jordan Smith and we've got a great show lined up.
Demo shoots with Lindsay Adler, Matthew Jordan Smith and David Ziser will be hitting on portraiture, a touch of commercial and wedding with plenty of comments from the artists themselves. Other guests will include Roberto Valenzuela in a discussion about publishing your own book. Tim and Beverly Walden will be joining us with a topic near and dear to so many of you, working with your spouse or another family member. There's lots more coming, along with some great giveaways for our viewing audience from H&H, Photodex, Tamron, Panasonic and SmugMug.
...and this is only the beginning. SPTV is all about education and helping you raise the bar on the quality of your work, your business and making 2015 your best year yet.
See you Saturday, January 24 and Sunday the 25th...what a kick this is going to be! Just click on the banner to link to the SPTV home page, watch the weekend show LIVE for FREE and check out the various combinations for your own SPTV.me subscription.
I remember first hearing the expression back when I was a kid. Over and over again it's become one of the key ingredients so many of us keep missing in our business lives. We turn simple tasks into major, often gut-wrenching projects, instead of looking for the simplest solutions.
This is a rant today and here's what got me going...
We flew into Cincinnati Airport yesterday and went to get into a taxi headed for the hotel for PhotoPro Expo. It's not rocket science - you get your bags, walk out the door and get into a car that's all yellow. Well, not in Cincy!
We weren't allowed to get into the cab until we had "ordered" the cab at the desk, inside baggage claim. There were eight people in line ahead of me and the two guys at the front of the line were also ordering another cab for later in the day. There was only one women working the counter and three empty cabs outside.
"Can't I just get into a cab?" I yelled.
"Not without going through me first!" she replied.
So we waited for ten minutes and moved up through the line at which time the other clerk working the counter finally decided to chip in and suddenly we had two lines to choose from. I paid for the cab in advance, although I found out later I could have done cash with the driver. I was given a receipt with a cab number.
Back to the first empty cab, but wait a minute...my receipt was for cab 159 and he was 106...so we had to wait for another four cabs until our guy appeared.
Here's my point - the crew in Cincinnati has taken a simple concept and turned it into a stress-producing experience for absolutely no reason. TSA and the airlines do enough of that without a cab company adding to the challenges. However, they did provide some great material for a blog post, because it got me thinking about things you do in your own business.
Take some time this week and just look at your workflow and each process you have in place for the various steps of your business. Do they all make sense?
Odds are there's something you're doing that's management by the exception. You're doing it because you got burned once and swore you'd never have that problem again. Most often the issue comes up with those of you who post policies on your website that would scare an IRS auditor. Those policies belong in your contract discussions not on display in the "front window"!
The bottom line is where I started...K.I.S.S.
The other day I launched the first in the series all based on a quote by George Allen:
"If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks."
Each spoke on the chart I shared is a post or two all on their own, so I'm just going to start with them one at a time. This morning I want to jump down to Community Involvement and here's why. This is the slow season for most of you. You've got time on your hands and need to work on getting to know your local charities. You don't need to know everybody, just pick one to get yourself started.
Jay Conrad Levinson, known best as the father of Guerrilla Marketing, has talked a lot about community involvement. In fact, in a presentation I heard him do many years ago, it was at the top of the list of thing GM's need to do. Why? Because people like buying products from companies they perceive as giving back to the community.
So, look for a non-profit that's in line with something you believe in. It doesn't have to be the biggest on the block. When it comes to giving back, it's about what's in your heart. You're looking for an opportunity to contribute through your skill set, your time and with or without a camera in your hands doesn't matter. This is about getting involved and helping.
One note of caution though. A number of times over the years people have told me how they want to start their own non-profit. It takes a lot of work to establish an official 501c3 with the government. Often the reason somebody wants to do this relates to a family member or friend who has experienced something tied to the cause they want to start supporting.
My suggestion is to look around your community for a charity that's already performing the function in support of the cause you want to develop. You can always find a way to earmark funds you raise in somebody's honor and still give that loved one special recognition. Plus, you'll be raising awareness directly instead of spending time getting the approval for a non-profit. If at some point you have the time and resources, you can always start your own charity later on.
I've written this many times before...you're looking for the community to be good to you. Well, you've got to make sure you're being good to your community. You want to start building your reputation as somebody who's known for getting involved and giving back.
"If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks."
I shared this quote as a tweet the other day, but it makes so much sense as a foundation for a blog post on marketing. Think about it for a second - so many of you put all your eggs in one basket and then wind up disappointed when a promotion, for example, doesn't do well. You're often "fishing" with just one hook.
There's an old saying I remember hearing as a kid..."Two percent of the fisherman catch 90% of the fish!" I have no idea if there's even one ounce of accuracy in that and you're welcome to argue the point, but the reality is, that unless you're an expert in anything you're not going to do well. So, I started thinking about the "hooks" you have available and it's a pretty extensive list.
Check out the chart above. It's not meant to be all inclusive, just give you a few things to think about. Some components are low hanging fruit, making them easy to implement and giving faster results than others. However, the key to everything you do is consistency and it all starts at the top with "Relationship Building". (Note: They're not in any order as you go around the bullseye (your target audience). This is just the way they came into my head.)
Marketing is all about EVERYTHING you do to build your brand. It's about using multiple "hooks," so there's never a day when you're not doing something to build awareness for your business. It's not rocket science to understand, but it does take a little scientific discipline to weave a web around your target audience. You have to essentially be everywhere your target audience is with one goal...creating top of mind awareness.
When a client thinks about anything about photography, you want your name to be the first thing that comes into their head. That's no easy task and it requires discipline, focus and consistency. Let's talk about your blog, because it's an easy example. You've got to post at least twice a week. Your blog accomplishes nothing if you hit it a few times a month. The purpose is to build followers, be helpful and give your reader base information they want and need to read about. You can't do that if you're inconsistent.
This isn't going to be a long drawn out post this morning. I just want you to realize how much you have to work with. In fact, it's safe to say you've not only got the most tools in the history of photography to create images, but the most marketing reach in the history of business.
This is the perfect time of year for you to focus on your arsenal of marketing tools and we're going to hit each component over the weeks ahead. I've got one goal - to help you make 2015 the best year yet!
I found this great quote from Mel Brooks and I'm going to follow through on his suggestion and walk away from the computer for the rest of the day.
"Never retire! Do what you do and keep doing it. But don't do it on Friday. Take Friday off.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, do fishing, do sexual activities, watch Fred Astaire movies.
Then from Monday to Thursday, do what you've been doing all your life,
unless it's lifting bags of potatoes off the back of a truck.
I mean, after eighty-five that's hard to do.
My point is: Life full and don't retreat."
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday - I'm going to do my best to just step away from the business completely today, which is pretty tough to do. So, as I attempt to walk the talk, I'm suggesting everybody do the same. Have a great day. Enjoy your family and friends and tomorrow morning, whatever you didn't work on today will still be there!
Happy Sunday everybody! And, to Mel Brooks' point - live well and don't retreat!
It's Saturday and for most of you it's the slow season. It's the perfect time to just let your thoughts loose and think about how the world is yours! There are no restrictions except those you put on yourself and creativity is on your side.
So, what are you going to do in 2015 that's different from last year? What are you doing to make this year the best ever?
"People are always blaming circumstances for what they are.
I don't believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in the world are the people who get up
and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."
George Bernard Shaw
Wishing everybody a terrific weekend and as always, filled with great friends and time to hug somebody special!
Photo Credit: © adam121 - Fotolia
In December, for our last "Mind Your Own Business" Goggle+ hangout, Rich Harrington and I just went back and forth with probably 35-40 ideas to help photographers build some stronger resolutions for the new year. It was a fun webcast, as the two of us just volleyed back and forth for an hour. Lots of great ideas. Just click the link below, if you haven't heard the episode.
Yesterday I was cleaning my desk and ran across my original notes and there are a few suggestions I never got to talk about that day, because we just ran out of time.
And more on the lifestyle side of things...
It's never too late to wish you guys Happy New Year! It's the slow season for just about every photographer right now and the perfect time to think about any of the ideas above that seem to fit the best.
Whoa...this one is a classic and filled with wonderful memories. I have no idea who the photographer was, but it was at WPI, at least 23-25 years ago. No, that's not a typo - it was WPI back then, Wedding Photographers International.
Starting in the top left, that's Monte Zucker, Don Blair, Tibor Horvath, David Ziser, Ed Pierce, Steve Sheanin and Ernst Wildi. Bottom row, David Bentley and Terry Deglau. If I remember right, this was at the WPI Awards program and was a shot of all the Lifetime Award recipients (then the Bill Stockwell Award) with Steve Sheanin, founder and then owner of WPI, Steve Sheanin.
Monte, "Big Daddy" Blair and Tibor have all passed away, but if you were around in those days then you know how much each of them paved the way for wedding and portrait photography today. In fact, everybody in the picture has played a significant role, not just in the foundation of WPPI, but in building our industry.
Looking at this image brings back an avalanche of great memories. This was at least 10 years before I worked for WPPI. There were several of us from the industry who would fly in for the show 2-3 days early just to help out and be a part of what Steve Sheanin and his crew were building. It didn't matter what job we were given to do, this was about being part of a "family".
As usual, Throwback Thursday always has a point - and it's the same every time. The images you capture today will be the cherished memories you share tomorrow. Don't miss an opportunity to capture those special moments, so twenty years from now you can be looking back and telling stories like I enjoy sharing every Thursday!
"Learning what you don't want to do is the next best thing to figuring out what you do want to do!"
So often blog post topics come out of quotes I read along with topics I've heard photographers talking about. Yesterday I had a conversation with a photographer who was beating himself up for feeling the need to change the direction of his business. He started out with a passion for weddings, but now wants to head more towards children and family portraiture.
Here's the fun of being in a career field that's in line with the arts...everything has the ability to change and each of you has to go with the flow. Success in photography is about what's in your heart. You can't create images that tug at people's heart strings if your heart isn't in it.
So, this is the slow season for most of you and the perfect time to think about your direction for 2015. Nothing has to be cast in concrete. Appreciate the fact that once you've learned the technique and your skill set is solid, you can move into just about any of the various specialties, but just to make it easier...
It's just a simple point this morning. Stop beating yourself up for changing your mind. It's like going through my closet...I've got my fat clothes for when my weight is up and the thinner ones for when I'm trying to get in shape, but every day when I get dressed, I just have to go with what fits!
Okay, as an analogy it's a stretch, no pun intended, but just think about the passion you have for the craft and then let it take you in the direction that feels best.
Photo Credit: © tiero - Fotolia
I couldn't be more excited to be a part of the hosting team for SPTV.me. Together with the co-hosts and the SPTV team we're working to build an incredible new resource in photographic education with all the components so many of you have on your wish list.
There are so many different ways you can have access. This is a subscription program giving each member unlimited access to the wide variety of content on your own timetable. Best of all, just like the old Burger King commercials, you can "have it your way!" From a charitable donation to a buy-12-get-14 months package. Plus, great benefits like welcome packages from some of the hosts and vendors, a $50 monthly purchase credit on Ukandu.com products, art templates and marketing material, the SPTV.me community forum and over 50 new featured artists in 2015.
The first new show in the US for 2015 is coming up, live from the convention floor of PhotoPro Expo, January 24 and 25. Co-hosting with me will be Matthew Jordan Smith and don't be surprised if some special guests join us...
We're in the process of locking in all the special programming, but already on the schedule will be some terrific lighting/posing demonstrations from at least three photographers, starting with Matthew Jordan Smith, himself. Roberto Valenzuela will be joining us for a discussion about publishing your own book. Beverly and Tim Walden will be with us for a frank discussion and tips on how to work with your spouse, or other family members. We'll be talking with some of the finest photographers in the industry about lighting, marketing and concepts to help you build a stronger business in 2015. And...don't forget some terrific giveaway prizes for our viewing audience.
Just click on the banner below for the latest in information about past shows, upcoming events and the latest additions to SPTV.
There are hundreds of books on the topic of being an author already available. However, this is the time of year when many of you have a little down time and over and over again I hear comments from photographers about writing a book.
I've been incredibly fortunate in my career and written six books, all with co-authors. Don Blair, Bambi Cantrell, Joe Buissink and Scott Bourne have all been partners with me since Don and I did the first book in 1999. With each book I feel like my understanding of the task itself got a little stronger, but the work involved in doing a book never gets easier.
So, my goal this morning is to help you realize your dream, not stifle it. There are too many of you who just jump in wanting to start writing without thinking through your options and the commitment. Here are some points to seriously consider:
Commitment: Writing a book takes time. Even with today's ability for anybody to publish an ebook, if you're not going to set a schedule and stick to it, then wait until you're truly ready. Writing a book and telling your story takes discipline. Don't underestimate the time you're going to need to set aside to not only write, but pull it all together.
Topic: Think through what you're going to write about. Your topic needs to be unique and have appeal to do well. The fact that your family likes your work doesn't really count. What makes your work different, thought-provoking and of interest to your fans? Most important of all, are you an expert on the topic?
Self-Publish or Work with a Publishing Company? I've done both and there are advantages and disadvantages. If you're on the lecture circuit and have access to a large audience, like Don Blair did, self-publishing is a terrific way to go. We worked with Marathon Press and they did an outstanding job. However, if your fan base is relatively limited, then a publisher has the distribution network you don't. A great publisher can get your book out in front of thousands of potential readers.
Books are About Fame NOT Fortune: If you think you're going to make a killing on a book, then think again. Very few authors, especially in the photography arena, make enough money on a book to change their lifestyle. Most of us, at least in photography, are unlikely to make the New York Times bestseller list. Just make sure you have things in perspective. There's nothing wrong with the fame aspect of your own book - in fact, it's terrific, exciting and loaded with pride.
Loose Lips Sink Ships: If you're going to do a book, then my suggestion is to keep it to yourself until you're far enough along to really have a target date. Unless you intend to crowd-fund the book, then telling everybody you're doing a book is like announcing the resolution to diet for the new year. Once the word is out, everybody wants to know how you're doing and the pressure you've created on yourself with the announcement, before you were really ready, winds up slowing you down.
Get a Great Editor: I sat in on a program by Guy Kawasaki two years ago and this was his advice and it makes so much sense. A great editor is a necessity in writing your own book. Even with Guy's track record as an author, he told a terrific story about delivering a manuscript he thought was his best ever...his editor still found over a thousand mistakes! Guy's book is loaded with great advice and well worth the read. Just click on the cover on the right if you want to find out more.
Okay, so there it is, six points to think about before you get started. Personally, there's nothing more fun than doing your own book, but there's also nothing more frustrating, challenging and time-consuming. Just think it through before you take that first step.
This couldn't be more typical for a Sunday morning...Sheila's still in bed and Molly the Wonder Dog is asleep at my feet. The house is quiet and I've been reading comments in Facebook, trying to figure out what to write about this morning.
I've been very aware lately of how fast time is going by. Looking for images for Throwback Thursday posts, I always have the same thought going through my mind, "Where did the time go?" That's always followed by the realization of how much time I've wasted over the years and the fact that time is our most valuable commodity. Once it's gone, we never get it back.
I bought a great little book I love for inspiration. It's called "Age doesn't matter unless you're a cheese." It's loaded with great quotes, all related to some aspect of aging, including learning to cherish each moment. Click on the cover on the right if you want to read more or even buy it for your own library.
Here's one that fits in perfectly with my mindset this morning from the late great comedian, Sid Caesar:
While people keep waiting and waiting for something big to happen in life,
the "now" is passing them by. Do you know how fast a "now" passes?
At the rate of 186,000 miles per second, the speed of light.
So no matter how much you love and enjoy a particular "now",
that's how fast it becomes a "was"...
That's why I never use the word "if" anymore. An "if" is a "never was."
So my Sunday wish for all of you is, while waiting for success to knock on your door, stop missing all those "nows". Success is going to show up when you least expect it and for many of you it's already here. You just haven't paid attention to the smile on your face, the people who care about you or how much you love what you're doing.
For others, you're staying awake at night wondering when the success fairy is going to wave her magic wand. In the mean time you're missing the beauty of appreciating your family, friends and how your hard work is slowly, but surely, paying off.
It's Sunday and a great time to just appreciate all our "nows". Don't let another second of the day go by without hugging somebody special, letting a friend know they're important to you or simply smiling. Make it a great day everybody...thanks for your support, your feedback and your friendship.
Photo Credit: © Les Cunliffe - Fotolia.com
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.