View Poll Results: Self-published v. traditionally published book. Do you feel... ?

87. You may not vote on this poll
  • more respect for self-published book than traditionally published book

    7 8.05%
  • less respect for self-published book than traditionally published book

    22 25.29%
  • equal respect for self-published book and traditionally published book

    40 45.98%
  • more likely to buy self-published book than traditionally published book

    4 4.60%
  • less likely to buy self-published book than traditionally published book

    15 17.24%
  • equally likely to buy self-published book and traditionally published book

    41 47.13%
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Thread: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

  1. #31
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    I'm sort of the equal respect and equally sold on either source of book. I think the idea of a high volume high sales photography book is now ancient history. A Sierra Club coffee table book of Eliot Porter photos would not happen now. The fact that it's reprinted now shows how big an influence it must have been and is only academic or nostalgia now. Life Magazine special books and the magazine itself are no more. Newspapers don't have photographers anymore. The big name doesn't mean big sales or big quality. Likewise we all know quality can vary greatly if someone whos a great photographer but poor in writing or design makes a book with blurb or createspace. Printing tech has improved greatly and there is no reason the mechanical process has to be expensive. I'd be thrilled even for that for from great photographers who make awesome photos but aren't on the radar of museum exhibit catalogs or publishers. There's probably at least a dozen on the forum I'd be game for modest self published books. On the high end, it's a nice way prolific printers to share some nice work too.

  2. #32

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Erie, Colorado

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Self-publishing is not new. Many famous authors were self-published: Mark Twain, Charles Dickens etc. It wasn't until the middle of the last century that "trade" publishing took over.

    My three axioms of publishing:
    1. Getting a book published by a traditional publishing house is more work than writing the book.
    2. It doesn't matter who publishes the book, it is up to the author to promote and market their book.
    3. The only people making money in the publishing business today are the publishers.

    This is why we started Stearman Press: (How the photo supplies ended up in our publishing company is a long story.)

    The game changer in the last few decades has be Print on Demand (POD). You no longer need to run 1000 copies of your book just to make it available. Books listed on Amazon as "ships today" are often "printed today." This has lowered the cost of entry to almost zero and has resulted in some outrageously bad self-published books.

    There are also the vanity publishers: companies that will publish your book for a price. They can provide editors, cover art etc; all for a price.

    At Stearman Press, we hire professional editors etc. Not that mistakes don't slip through but some of the most grievous typos I've seen were in books from the big guys in the industry. In most cases, the reader can't tell the difference without decoding the ISBN. (Create Space will provide a free ISBN that is registered to them; we buy our own numbers, registered to Stearman Press. Minor detail but something that some book stores and reviewers notice. It also makes it easier to print elsewhere, if the need arises.)

    I'm not sure how POD would work for a photo book. I've heard mixed reviews regarding quality. You'd want to check some of the POD forums etc.

    Speaking of reviews, the only marketing in that really matters today are reviews on Amazon. The more reviews a book has the higher it goes in the search results etc. So if you like an author, write a review.

  3. #33

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Suwanee, GA

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Just imagine if Tim Rudman would re-release his toner book as PDF or even as an e-book. Even the old toning data would be valuable to those of us who won't pay $200 on used market.
    Last edited by esearing; 6-Jan-2018 at 03:10.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart

  4. #34

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bart Bart View Post
    I love books but... I would take all the time, money, and thought that goes into a book and instead do a website dedicated to that particular project. I'd reserve money for promotion across social media and I'd endow the site for perpetual hosting for at least twenty years after you die, naming a younger conservator and perhaps even a back up person so the work can live on.

    Otherwise the book is little different than having a box of prints under the bed. A few people will see the images and nothing will come of it. At least with a website everyone has the potential to see your work and being free to view, the pictures may actually have some affect.
    I think exactly the opposite

    Sent from my SM-J730F using Tapatalk

  5. #35

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Europe, Switzerland

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing


    I think, publishing books is like raising children. You will not know whether they grow up in a good way or not, but you try it. Some people think their children are more valuable with a Harvard diploma. Normal people love their children even when they fail at school. Perhaps because they fail?

    Another problem is the financial return. I once wrote a book when a publisher offered me 10% of the benefit - in fact it was circa 10 euro cents per book. - I published the book by myself, now I earn about 7 dollars per book, and since 2008 I sold circa 10 books per year.

    Self publishing is also a way to produce a book series. If you have some coherent themes you can integrate them in a series while separating them in single publications. Publishers do not offer this, normally.

    Normally print on demand doesn't offer good print quality. Print on demand is the choice when printing text. But: during my studies in art history and philosophy I saw others publishing their doctoral thesis with a lot of illustrations on high quality paper. This was really expensive, they had to produce at least 150 library exemplars of their book. And then they had to pay a lot of money to get copyrights for these illustrations. Then there was the publishing house that requested another sum. In the end they paid as much as a compact car to have 300 exemplars of their dissertation. - Of course, their dissertation emerged in a considerable publishing house - but nobody published the sum they had paid to get there. And they think that publishing in a nameful house will harden their works. This is rhetorics.

    It's an illusion to think that somebody appears in your exhibition around the corner and offers you a publication in a shiny quarto. If somebody wants to create something like a book: why not? What's the question about respecting the efforts of a photographer who wants to put his picturs up to discussion? If your pictures are worth to be taken and your negatives are worth to be enlarged, why should a lack respect of other photographers vainly dreaming of a publishing-house-approved career thwart your precious project?


  6. #36
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Last night I was looking for an old B&W movie to watch on Amazon Prime.

    They had little, what they had was prefaced with '...the original copyright owner failed to renew, so we present a...' they also offered a pile of DVD's Printed on Demand and delivered in 2 days!

    I prefer to read printed books, it's faster, but after a while, they pile up and are not resalable.

    I prefer high rez files of images to look at on my 4K TV. I watch my own slide shows all the time.

    What's needed now is a way to control your files as you sell rent or them. Maybe impossible?

    Or sell a download for enough to profit with all the usual warnings.

    How about Mission Impossible, after viewing this data for 20 minutes it will self-destruct...

  7. #37

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Academic presses are a great opportunity to work through the process of peer reviews, collaboration with a copy editor, and a dedicated professional book designer. Also, if your work passes muster, the university will provide marketing, distribution, and award entries. For promotion, they will help with festivals and book signing events.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

  8. #38

    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Del City, OK

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    I don't think I've ever bought a book because of who published it. In fact, I don't think I've ever even looked for the publisher before buying any book. I'm more likely to judge a book by it's cover than by it's publisher.

    That being said, if you told me you self published your book, I'd definitely see it more as a vanity piece than a serious endeavor, without actually seeing the book.

    So I guess if it bother you to self publish, just make up a name for a publishing company, and act like they published it. We've actually done that many times at my print shop. We've printed several self published authors and used our printing companies name and logo as the publisher, at their request. Our print shop's name kind of sounds like a book publisher anyway. As long as the book isn't anything controversial or vulgar, it's seen as a creative use of cross promotion.

  9. #39

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Born L.A.-NYC is 2nd Home-Rustbelt is Home Base

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    I voted: less respect for self-published book than traditionally published book

    Self-publishing is also known as vanity press. There are pros and cons to self-publishing. For me, I only do self-pub, hand-printed artist's books. Since they are hand-made, containing original prints, they are works of art in their own right. As such, museums and special collection curated collections will acquire them. They can also be unbound and used in exhibits. On a recent show about 'Dust" this was illustrated with a spiral bound book that Ed Ruscha had done in partnership and was on display at Riverside Museum of Photography.

    Self-pub books have limited exposure. But in the internet world you can get worldwide exposure too. (as long as the lights are on.) Traditional publishing by big name houses carry the most respect. But it does not mean small run, limited edition artist's books won't be worth more in the long run. Ed Rushca's Twentysix Gasoline Stations is worth $15 to $20K.

    In the end, just produce and let the chips fall where they may. If a big name publisher wants your book...great! And if not, self-pub it. And no one said you can't do both. Trad pub and a limited edition, hand-made book as well.

    BTW...if you are into all this ego massaging, make sure you hire a big name to review the book and write an intro for the intellectuals . They usually need lots of words to justify the photos. All my books are well known for there economy of text. I'm visually oriented and need very little text myself. If a photo needs A.D. Coleman to justify its is a flop.

  10. #40

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Vogt View Post
    Never thought of it this way. It's the quality of subject at hand....and content. Whether the book was prepped by 1, 2, 3 or 200 people is irrelevant to me.

    I agree with this. I never really gave it a thought as the content is more important to me.

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