Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're sending out all our best wishes to our clients, supporters and friends for a safe and happy new year. Picturia Press will be closed for the holiday, but back at work and designing new books the second week of January.

A big thanks also to Blogger Buster, they recently reviewed the Picturia Press blog in their "50 More Fabulous Blogs" posting. We we're thrilled to be included.

P.S. Watch for us during the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, we'll be Blurbing!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Picturia Press has been asked to speak at a Blurb event during MacWorld Conference & Expo - San Francisco in January, 2009. It's a wonderful opportunity to share our experiences designing and working with the great people at Blurb over last 18 months. We're looking forward to being there and meeting everyone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We recently read an article in Business Week on "The Next Big Thing In Selling Design". The article discusses how companies are now looking into the new "hot" trend of coffee-table books for marketing.

Designing and creating eye-catching print publications aimed at attracting new clients and for general business development purposes is an appealing method to reach out to their target markets in a unique way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picturia Press just finished publishing a very sweet and inspiring new book. We were contacted recently by a father who wanted to give his daughter a very special gift for the holidays. His goal was to create a book that would chronicle his daughter's life from when she was born through to her current life now as a teacher.

He has some really wonderful pictures of her through all stages of her life. In fact, he had to go through roughly 8,000 pictures to select the ones he wanted for the book! We had a great time working with him to create this lovely gift. We are looking forward to hearing back from him after the holidays to see how much she enjoyed the book. So stay tuned for an update on this project.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Picturia Press has worked with Lewis|Leeper, a legal firm based in Boston for over a year on several projects, including a book. Recently, we were contacted by the firm and asked to help them update their website.

We were pleased we could offer our services and give them a brand new website. If you would like to find out more about Lewis|Leeper, or to see their website, please click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cold November, what an appropriate title for a book!

This was a very fun and exciting project we were asked to work on and we were so pleased to be part of helping create this book of poetry for our client.

Cold November is a collection of approximately 75 poems. Our job was to design a book working with color, fonts, typography and engaging background treatments and make the poems come alive on the page and give them mood and meaning. Hopefully we've accomplished this, we feel it's a beautiful book that should make the best seller's list!

Click here to view the book

Monday, November 10, 2008

Picturia Press is very happy to announce that yet another wonderful book designed by us has become a best seller! The book, A Journey of the Heart, was created for a fund raising event. This wonderful private diary and journey of a man recovering from a heart attack (see post of 09/05/08) was a great joy for us to create for Mr. Frank Ostaseski, of the Metta Institute. We wish him all the best, and we're pleased that the book is helping raise funds for their wonderful cause.

This is in fact the second book now designed by Picturia Press that has become a best seller. We recently published a cookbook called Friends, Food and Fiction, which was designed for a ladies book club in Des Moines, Iowa (see post of 09/14/08).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Orchids An Intimate Portrait of Beauty was a wonderful book for us to work on this month. This extremely beautiful book features the drawing, photography and paintings of Jerry Gotkin.

Some of the orchids in this book are captured in isolation and some in their natural environment. All of the images featured in this book, have been reproduced in Limited Editions by the artist.

Rather than create a catalogue of the orchids, Mr. Gotkin preferred to create a "stand alone" piece that would be in and of itself an artistic work, yet still compliment the original creations.

With over 120 pages of compelling images, this 13 x 10 book is stunning on it's own and we were excited to work with Jerry Gotkin again, making this the fifth book we have created for this Florida based artist.

To view the book, click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marjorie's Table: Material and Instruments of Art as Art is the fourth book done with noted artist Jerry Gotkin. As usual, we were very fortunate to work with some beautiful images and we also had the benefit of being familiar with the artist's previous work.

This was a unique book to create in that it examines the work table, palette and the instruments that an artist uses to create. The materials - brushes, paints, canvases, vases, flowers and all they other items a painter would use - all displayed and seen as their own expression of art.

Jerry comments, "What I tried to do, in preparing the images and formulation, was a painful exercise. I saw that it was lacking a point of view and cohesiveness but I was at a loss to either recognize or articulate it. When I presented it to Suzzanne, she hit the target as soon as I sent her my ideas. It was a clarion bell. This book would not work if we were merely going to display the images as individual pieces. This had to be a conceptual book organized to convey a central theme. She knew what I wanted to do; I did not. I cannot express the clarity that came with her direction."

We're thrilled to bring to life another book of artistic work by Gotkin Arts Studio. We look forward to working on their next project with them. Click here to view the book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When we did this book, I wasn't aware of what "Leaf Peeping" was and how extremely popular it is in New England. Apparently the leaves are only visible for a limited number of weeks and annually draws huge visitors to view and photograph the breathtaking fall foliage.

Hiking is the perfect way to experience the change of the seasons. These images were shot during a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trails in and around Rangeley Lake, Maine.

Such a fun book to create. Just under 50 pages and a 7 x 7 book, this is a wonderful way to take your vacation photos and turn them into a priceless memory book. These photos would probably have resided on a computer and sat for years waiting for something to happen. But now it is a treasured memory book that everyone on the trip will be receiving as a gift.

Click here to view the book.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

While Picturia Press continues to create new books (three more in the works right now....) we wanted to take a moment to let all our new and existing customers that we are excited to be offering a 10% discount on all book orders placed on or before December 1, 2008. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please reference the code: BB1201OLB.

Lots of books to create for the holiday season. Avoid the holiday rush and get started on your book project now. Picturia Press wishes you all the best during the upcoming holiday season.

Click here
to view the book.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today, we just finished our third book with noted artist, Jerry Gotkin. This was an exciting project for us to work again with Jerry on creating a showcase of his wife Marjorie Gotkin's "Still Life/Florals" watercolor and gouache. It is always a pleasure to work with Mr. Gotkin, and these were some incredibly beautiful images to design and layout. We recently published his Tall Ship Series and the Hospice by the Sea Gardens books.

Both Marjorie and Jerry Gotkin have been successful and well-known painters and artists for many years and some of Marjorie's works are in the Smithsonian Institution American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery Libraries. So it was an honor to help create this book for them.

Click here to view the book.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This is quite a unique book and although it took a very long time; it was a wonderful project to work on. Picturia Press was contacted by a book group in Des Moines, Iowa that had been meeting once a month for over 20 years! During that time they had read and reviewed over books and wanted to share their book list with friends and family. But also during that time, this book group, called the Decem Doctae, or "ten learned women", have been meeting at each other's houses to review the books and to share a delicious lunch prepared by their host for the meeting. So in addition to sharing their recommended reading list, they wanted to share some of their recipes they've collected over the years. Additionally, one of the ladies from their group is a photographer, so naturally, our clients also wanted to include images of their beautiful city.

It took some time and management to collect all the different images, bios, book lists and recipes from 14 different women belonging to the group over the period of 20 years and then editing the book so it was cohesive and consistent. Let's just put it this way... everyone writes a recipe differently.

The end result is a book we love and are sure the client will love also. Click here to view the book.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What a week it has been...and it's only Tuesday! We were thrilled to complete this new photography book, "Cuatro: Four Continents and Four Years", by photographer Angel Herrero de Frutos from Sitges, Spain.

The difficult task for this project was choosing which photos to use from a selection of Angel's work; all his images were so visually stunning. It was difficult at best to only pick a few of them. This is a photography book about his journey through four different continents in as many years. Places like Spain, China, France and Inda. We were very happy to work with Angel Herrero on this piece and wish him continued success in showcasing such fine work.

Click here to view the book.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Today, we finally finished part 2 of a set of 2 books on a mothers blog journaling her daughter's first year. Whew, it was a big one. The second book coming in at 425 pages. Again, very grateful to Blurb for their "slurping abilities - which allowed us to pull down all the entries including the images. If we weren't able to grab all the text and images that way, my client's child would be graduating college before we finished this book!

My client is not only creating a book to save and share with her child when she gets older, but is gifting the book to all the relatives and friends that they have all over the world. It's going to be a very special gift to all of them.

Click here to view the book

Friday, September 5, 2008

This was a wonderful book to work on, simply because it serves such a higher purpose. I was contacted by my client on behalf of the Metta Institute to create a book reflecting the journal writings of Mr. Frank Ostaseski. The founder of the Metta Institute, a teacher and a wonderful man who recently had several heart attacks and is now on the road to recovery. They plan to use the book as a gift to donors who attend the Journey of the Heart benefit for the Metta Institute in late September.

Although there was very little imagery, we worked with the text and used typography to call-out important or emotional points in Frank's journal and used color for more impact in delivering the overall message. This was a very quick turn around in order to make the deadline for the client, but it was a real pleasure to work with them and hope we can create more books for them in the near future. We wish them great success in their fundraising efforts.

Click here to see the book.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I am very happy to say that things have been quite exciting around Picturia Press lately and we are growing daily. It's been quite difficult to get to the blog and post any updates when we have been so busy. But, we want to keep you updated on our work.

Currently Picturia Press is designing and finishing up seven (7 )new books! Here's just a sampling of images from some of the books that are getting ready to go to print soon.

The first one going to press hopefully by next week, is a lovely cookbook we've been working on for a Des Moines Ladies Book Group. While crazy and challenging to work with 14 ladies on one project....we are finally getting it done, and it will be a beautiful book when it's completed. In fact, I am ordering a copy of this book for myself, since the recipes are so delicious! Look for it to be published soon.

We are also finishing up and putting the final touches on a beautiful photography book for a wonderful artist, Angel Herrero de Frutos, from Barcelona. (http://www.pinopic.com). His work is stunning and elegant and we were really pleased and honored to be working on this portfolio for him. You should see a sampling of this book within the next week or two!

Still more to come out next week will be a beautiful book we have been working on for the people at the Metta Institute (http://www.mettainstitute.org) for a fund raising event. Beautiful people doing such great work in the hospice care field. It's an honor to help them create something to further build awareness of this cause.

And of course, it is our privilege to be working with Jerry Gotkin again in producing another photography portfolio of his wife's work of florals. This will be our third book for Jerry and we always enjoy the beautiful art work and the friendship that has grown out of working together so much. This book should be out within the next three weeks.

So as you can see, it's been quite hectic at Pictura Press, but all of the projects we have are so great to work on and we are happy to play a part in each and every one of these wonderful books!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's always wonderful when we have the opportunity to work with a client on another project. Today, we just wrapped up and published a second book for our client, Jerry Gotkin. If you recall, we worked with Jerry to publish "Gardens of Hospice by the Sea".

We worked with Mr. Gotkin to create a artist portfolio of work created by his wife and noted artist, Marjorie Gotkin. The Tall Ships Watercolor and Gouache is a beautiful book showcasing over 150 of Marjorie's pieces in her Tall Ship series.

Even more works to come as we again work with Jerry to produce another book on Marjorie's floral series. Click here to view the book.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today, we completed a new book design for one of our clients. The book is going to be a surprise gift to my client's girlfriend on their upcoming vacation. He plans to propose to her and wanted to put together a book commemorating special moments in their life and of course ending the book with a marriage proposal.

My client knew exactly what he wanted to say and even had selected a majority of the images before the book production began. We worked with our client to find additional images and put together a beautiful book that I am sure his soon-to-be fiancé will greatly appreciate. Our congratulations and best wishes to them both.

Click here
to view the book.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Just finished designing another beautiful book for our client, Bob Barancik of Creative Ledge Studios. The book, Wabi Sabi Dreams | Water, Weather and Time, is a compilation of Bob's paintings and photographs that follows the wabi sabi technique.

What is Wabi Sabi? According to Mr. Barancik:

The best answer that I can express with words is that wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that reveres the imperfect, incomplete, and impermanent. Although wabi sabi is often associated with Zen Buddhism, the Western eye can readily appreciate the beauty of deeply worn and roughened elemental surfaces. The green patina on a bronze sculpture, rusted farm tools, fallen leaves and apples, paint peeling off an old brick wall or an abandoned wooden rowboat, a barn or garden falling to ruin — somehow makes us feel somber, serene, and autumnal.
We are also happy to be working with Mr. Barancik on other projects coming up in the near future.

Click here to view the book.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hau`oli la Hanau!
That's Hawaiian for Happy Birthday.....Picturia Press is pleased to have just finished publishing another new book this weekend that was very fun to design. My client recently had a wonderful Luau themed 40th birthday party in San Francisco. She had many pictures taken of the event from her own collection and from others who were at the party.

We sorted through quite a few images and managed to work with the client to capture the "essence" of her party. Which was all about fun and friends. We hope she enjoys the book as much as we enjoyed making it.

Click here to view the book.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today, we finally finished part 1 of a set of 2 books (yes, 2 books!) we are creating for a mother's blog on the first year of her daughter's life. It took us about two months to complete it and all I can say is that I am eternally grateful for the "slurping" abilities at Blurb.com. Their software has the capability of pulling down all the text and images from where they are stored online and importing them directly into the application. I seriously doubt we could have done this project as effectively and as quickly had we not had that option available to us.

This is my client's first child, so there you can imagine, there were quite a lot of pictures and copy to be used. To give you an idea, the first book was roughly 370 pages! When you get to that size book, it becomes increasingly difficult for the client to review the pages and make changes. We broke it up into phases so we could review and modify the pages within each section thereby avoiding my client getting overwhelmed.

I believe the end result was a great success and now that it's in print, we're ready to start on the second book. Click here to view the book

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just the other day I had a customer inquire as to how they might go about preserving their new book. Although not every customer needs to store their book for safekeeping, some clients, such as photographers who may have portfolio pieces, or clients who have had a wedding album designed, do want a presentation box or folder to keep their book clean and well protected.

We looked around and found a company who creates personalized photobook boxes. They actually appear to be quite nice. Made of thick fiber carton and with velcro corners. The interesting things is they also offer engraving on the box covers. The "ouch" factor is that the company is in Denmark, so the shipping is pretty steep ($23 for up to 2 boxes) and in fact is close to the same price for the box itself! The good news is that the boxes will work with Blurb.com's large size 13 x 11 and also with MyPublisher's classic size 12.25 x 8.75.

I'm ordering a box next week to see and touch one for myself, so I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's been a very hectic summer at Picturia Press, we actually have six books going to press within a week of each other! All of them amazing and different and with their own great stories.

We are happy to be working with Mr. Jerry Gotkin again (see the recently released book "Gardens of Hospice by the Sea") on producing a portfolio of work on his wife Marjorie Gotkin's Tall Ships. Along with that book releasing soon, we are also working with renowned artist Bob Barancik on his book showcasing his Wabi Sabi artwork that I think is going to be really wonderful.

In final production this week is a mother's blog on the first year of her daughter's life. This is actually going to be two books, with the first one being roughly 350 pages! Another exciting book in progress is a very unique cookbook for a ladies' reading group which I'll be sharing more with you later.

Finally, a really fun 40th Birthday party book and a gentleman who contracted us to design a surprise "Will You Marry Me?" wedding proposal book for his girlfriend.

Look to see the inside of these books and the project details soon. More exciting releases from Picturia Press!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

So you’d like to produce a book. Regardless of whether it is a portfolio of your work, an event or wedding album, a blog, a cookbook, or a novel, the first decision to make is should you do it yourself, or should you hire a professional?

The most important thing to consider is the time and effort put into creating the book versus the desired outcome of the finished product. Time is always something we are short on, and trial and error in designing your own book can be time-consuming, costly and frustrating. Hiring a professional book designer can simplify this process for you. This way you work with a designer to establish the look and feel of the book, and the designer then implements and/or enhances your vision.

Professional designers do this for a living and therefore understand the technology and the graphic design layout process a book requires. If your desire is to create a professional portfolio, or a book that is personal and emotive, a designer will know how to convey your concept.

Additionally, their skills in designing allow them to provide creative input such as use of color, use of design elements, typography and photo editing. All of these skills not only add to, but enhance the look of your finished book.

In preparing a quote for a client, it isn’t as simple as quoting a set price and going from there. There are many things a professional designer will need to know from you in order to establish a base cost. Let's review some of the things you'll need to know about designing your book before you hire a designer...

Take some time to think about your book before selecting a designer. This process will really help you establish what exactly you want to create and will also enable the vendor to give you a quote based on your true needs and not on a “guesstimate”. And keep in mind that hiring a vendor to design the book does not in most cases include the cost of purchasing and shipping the book. Be sure to verify that with any vendor you hire.

What format shall my book be in?
Blurb.com has several book size selections to choose from as follows:

Blurb books come in soft cover, hard cover with a dust jacket and hard cover with an image wrap. (An image wrap allows you to print an image directly on the front and back of any hard cover book.

Deciding right away on the size of your book is important to begin the design process. You may already know what you want, or you can consult with your designer to determine the best size suited for your project.

Blurb offers great flexibility with ordering your book when it is completed, you have the choice of either soft covers or a hard covers. However, for design purposes, you will need to know if you want the book to have the option of a hard cover with a dust jacket or a hard cover with an image wrap. The reason for this is the designer will need to “lay out” the inside flaps of a dust jacket, and will also need to meet specific design parameters if the cover is to be image wrapped.

How big will my book be?
This can often be a question you find hard to answer and the book designer understands that. However, you may have an idea of how many pages you would “like” the book to be, or you know how many pictures you have or pages of text. This will help enormously when asking a vendor to give you a quote.

What are the elements in my book?
This is important to know for the designer to determine the needs and time required for designing. While your concept can change, a basic understanding of what materials will be included will help the vendor determine pricing.

Most importantly, know what is the content of your book – is it photographs, text, or a combination of both.

Know approximately how many images you have.
Can the vendor use a selection of the images, or must they use them all.
Indicate if the images are in digital format or printed format.
If not, will you require them to be scanned by the vendor.
Do the images required editing (such as color enhancement, editing background).
How many of your images require editing.

What format do you have the text in now. (i.e. a Word document)
How much text will you have. (Is it captions for the photographs, quotations, dedications, or the entire book consists of text.

It is important as a client for you to convey any deadline for your project. In most cases this determines if and when a vendor can take on your project. Do not assume that because the vendor is a professional, your book can be completed in two days. Be sure to allow enough time for the designer to create a design for you to review and revise and deliver a polished finished product. Most vendors can and will work with you on your timeline but may need to charge you a “rush” fee if it falls outside of the normal time it takes to design the book.

Not all vendors offer additional services, but here are some to consider.

Additional Design Elements
Enhancing your book to complete your vision may require additional photography, illustration, or text. For example, you may wish to add quotes to the book, or customize a front cover. You may desire specialty design treatments, such unique backgrounds or typography. These things require additional time and services from the vendor.

Color profiling. This assures your images will get a truer contrast and more accurate color consistency in your printing. For most individuals, this is not a service you will require. Usually, a professional photographer wanting to assure absolute color consistency would use this process.

ISBN Code.Will you require as ISBN Code. If you are unsure if you need an ISBN code or not, please read my post. If you need an ISBN Code for your book, you can either do this yourself or ask if your vendor can perform this service for you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Picturia Press had the pleasure of working with noted artist, Jerry Gotkin on his latest project, a book of photography and artwork for Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Florida.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with an artist such as Jerry and his images were so beautiful it was actually difficult to choose from all of them! I wish all projects were challenging in that manner. The book is beautiful to view and is a wonderful tribute to the people who do such good work at Hospice by the Sea.

This is the first of several books Jerry is putting together to showcase his art and his talent and we look forward to being able to work with him on his next project.
Click here to view the book.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's been some time since I've posted on the blog. But that's not because there aren't any books being published! In fact, quite the opposite! The most recent book published is "Enduring Impact". This was a book we created for Mr. Michael Dunn, the CEO of Prophet, a San Francisco based branding agency.

Michael is celebrating his 10 year anniversary at the company and his associates collected anecdotes, letters, quotes and pictures to put together this book. A very big book I might add, weighing in at a whopping 58 pages!! Seems like he is very well loved and respected. Hope he enjoys the book as much as we did making it for him. Congratulations Michael Dunn.

The most challenging (and rewarding) part of this project was that there was very little imagery and a great deal of text. Taking this into account, we used plenty of typography and color to make the book more engaging and visual.

Click here to view this book

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't we all love surprises? This one is a good one, no make that a great one. I was contacted by a gentleman who wanted to surprise his daughter by publishing a book she copyrighted in 2002, but never managed to get published. Dads are great aren't they?

My client had done his homework before he even approached us. He had all the copyright information, he had already obtained the original manuscript and converted it to an electronic document and he had contacted an illustrator to create the illustrations. All this done before he even contacted us to do the layout and design!

The important thing to remember when creating a book that requires illustrations is the time frame. Illustrations take much longer to create than photography or graphic images. Sometimes it can take months depending upon the number of illustrations you require. This book used 13 illustrations and I believe he waited about 4 months for that end of this project. If you have a specific time line, you will need to take this into consideration. It's also recommended to have the book designer work with the illustrator so you are sure to get the images sized properly for your book.

I plan to write an article shortly on "Working with Illustrators for your next book". Until then, I'm just going to take time out to appreciate the release of a new book by Picturia Press. Click here to view the book.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is a follow up to my recent post "Understanding ISBN numbers and UPC Codes". I felt I needed to add a few more bits of information about getting the ISBN Numbers and UPC Codes and their costs.

Bowker is the U.S. broker of ISBN numbers. This is the place to go to get your number. Usually, Bowker sells numbers in blocks of 10, for approximately $250, or a cost of $25 per book. This price also includes the UPC Code (Bar Code) which you will also need. If you don't wish to purchase ISBN's in blocks of 10, you can purchase a single ISBN. However, it's not as easy, and not as cost effective. You have to call Bowker directly at 877-310-7333 and request a faxed application for $125.00. I haven't yet been able to find the form downloadable from their site. Additionally, this cost is for the ISBN number only and you have to purchase the bar codes separately for a cost of $25.00.

You don't have to purchase the bar code from Bowker though, there are other options available. If you want to do it yourself, there is a whole list of ISBN software available online for generating your own codes, or you can try companies such as Bar Code Graphics that will create the bar code image for you for about $10.

On a final note, you may also want to consider registering your book with Bowker's directory "Books in Print". This is their master list of all books available. Oddly enough, when you buy your ISBN number from Bowker, you aren't automatically registered into the master list.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I had the pleasure and fun of recently completing a book for an associate of mine. Fun because it was a book about two of her best friends, her dog and cat. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big animal lover, so this book was something I was looking forward to working on. It’s going to be a gift to her mother for Mother’s Day.

What made this more interesting is having the opportunity to work with and play with typography. Something I enjoy just as much as graphic design and they go well together. As you can see, using typography in some of these pages can make a simple image come alive. It can add sentiment that the image alone might not convey. Treatments like these are emotive and add to the quality of the overall presentation.

When designing a book, consider working with and trying out different fonts, different sizes, and different colors. Images tell a story, but so can typography. The images above were not taken by a professional photographer, but as you can see, they didn’t need to be. We converted the image to black and white and then added the appropriate text to convey personality.

Bear in mind that when you hire a designer, there are additional costs and time to create these types of pages for your book. But, as with everything, they are well worth the cost when you see the end results.

Click here to view the book

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You know you are doing something worthwhile when the NY Times decides to write an article about it. I've been an advocate for self-publishing for over two years now and as the demand and the desire grows, so does the market. That means publicity and that's good for business.

Peter Wayner just wrote an article for the New York Times, "Turn Those Bytes into Books" about the blossoming market for self-published books. Picturia Press was interviewed for the article a month ago and only recently was contacted asking if I could have my picture taken for the article. Unfortunately, I was out of town during the time this was going to print, but we're all proud to have the article in print anyway.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We have a lot of customers inquiring about if they need an ISBN number and Bar Code for their books. The answer to that depends upon your needs. Let’s start with the ISBN Number. You are not legally required to have an ISBN number. It simply depends upon if and how you are going to sell your book. So if you are selling your book through workshops, direct mail or through the Internet, you most likely will NOT need an ISBN number or Bar Code.

If you plan to sell your books through retail chains, and specialty stores and catalogues, (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.) you will most likely be required by the reseller to obtain an ISBN number for your book for inventory and general ordering purposes.

An ISBN number identifies a book title or edition from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, meaning that it can never be reused. This also means that if you sell both a hard copy and a soft cover of your book, you must have two unique ISBN numbers.

The ISBN itself is a 10-digit number that is divided into four parts separated by hyphens. The first part of the ISBN is a group or country identifier. The second part is a publisher identifier. The third part is a title identifier. The last digit is a check digit used to validate the ISBN. In other words, the ISBN is a code that identifies your book around the world. You can apply for an ISBN number by contacting Bowker, who is the U.S. broker for ISBN numbers.

Now for the Universal Product Code (UPC), also known as the Bar Code. This is a computerized product identification system. The ISBN is not the same thing as your Bar Code. Most retail chains require both a ISBN Number and Bar Code. However, the ISBN Number can be translated into bar code format. When you purchase your ISBN number through Bowker, you can also purchase the Bar Code, or you can find a list of UPC Code (or Bar Code) suppliers here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A common issue we frequently handle with photographs we receive is the dreaded "red eye". It's unavoidable, one out of three pictures a client gives us inevitably has one person or more in the picture with red eye. Most professional photographers know how to avoid it, and at the very least, know how to correct it in post production image editing. The point here is how much money you can save in book production/image editing costs if your designer doesn't have to do this work for you. But let's face it, not everyone has the know-how to fix their photographs.

News comes down today in the New York Times that now anyone can go online, upload their photos and fix red eye easily. It is has been a long time coming, but it's finally here. Online photo editing in the form of Adobe Photoshop Express. Of course, it's in beta right now, so I'm sure there are some glitches to be smoothed out. But generally, the service offers storage of your images, easy editing for removal of red eye and other options that range from the useful (cropping, exposure, etc) to the slightly tacky and quite unnecessary graffiti. Personal choices for everyone I'm sure. Even more useful is the "UNDO" feature for those of us who might get carried away.....

Save the difficult image editing and effects to the pros, but red-eye? Adobe just made that easier for you.

Monday, April 7, 2008

One of the challenges a designer faces is that sometimes (well, more than sometimes....) we have less than perfect images to work with for creating the client's book. That's where image editing can take a good picture and turn it into a great picture. And honestly, from a designer's standpoint; the better the image, the better the book.

Often all that an image requires is a little retouching. That can be something as simple as the removal of red eye or perhaps turning a color photograph into a black and white image to provide a more visual impact. Then there are the bigger challenges like removing background "noise" (i.e.: items or individuals) from a photograph.

This is an example of a picture the client had of her parents at her wedding. Of course this was a photograph that had to go into the book, but every time the client looked at the image, she saw those pesky uninvited people standing in the background. They would just have to go! Figure B reflects the image editing we did so that we could use this picture in our client's book.

Another example of making an image work is the one below. The client had a picture with her newborn baby. Again, this was a must have in the client's book. But as you can see....it was too dark to use (see, or not see Figure A).

Fortunately, editing the image enabled us to brighten it enough to use the picture (see Figure B) and actually the end result made this one of her favorite pages in the book.

Unless you are blessed with being a professional photographer, you can assume that a percentage of images you provide us with will require some kind of image editing. The end result will be well worth the investment.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Have you gone outside today? Spring is definitely in the air and the cherry blossoms are out. Well, at least in Washington, D.C. they are. And that's a really big deal! They have a festival to commemorate the gift of 3,000 cherry trees given to Washington, D.C. in 1912 by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo. It didn't stop there either, the US and Japan have been exchanging/gifting trees to each other for sometime now and in 1999 a new cutting from a Japanese tree, reputed to be over 1500 years old was gifted to Washington, D.C.

To commemorate the big festivities (two weeks worth of events!), Lulu.com is holding a photo contest to create a beautiful calendar for 2009. So all you photographers, get out there and shoot some cherry blossoms, then submit them to the contest.

When you are all cherry blossomed out, let us help you create a beautiful book with the rest of your festival photos!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just finished another great book that was lots of fun to design. I know, I know...I say that about all the books. This one is going to be a one year anniversary present from a wife to her husband. I really had fun working with the client, as it appears from working with her, she must be as organized as I am. All the digital images and files were transferred to us separated in folders by sequence of events. Remember my post on how organizing images makes life easier for the designer? Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

It was a "Good Thing" (as Martha Stewart says...) that my client took the time to organize the files, as we were working on an extremely short deadline if she was going to be able to give it to her husband on their anniversary. My client was very creative with her ideas and open to suggestions from us on how to make it the best book it could be. I think we were both satisfied with the end results. I'd sure love to be there when he sees it.

Click here to view the book

Thursday, March 27, 2008

There are so many POD’s (Print/Publish On Demand) services cropping up daily because they now have the book production technology to finally provide self-publishing authors with a way to get their books into print without costing them an arm and a leg.

More exciting than finally getting that novel of yours printed, is the other avenues that have opened up because of POD’s. We might not all be blessed with writing skills, but for sure we’ve all got something to say or something to share.

Like it or not, there is a mass appeal to be able to publish your own cookbook, how-to book, family photos, a tribute to your pet, or book of your photography. Now that POD’s are flooding the market, you can easily get your book printed for under $50, and have it look like something you bought at Borders. Provided of course, you hire a talented book design agency such as Picturia Press to do the layout... And just like that, you can tell your friends you are a “published author”. And who doesn’t find an appeal to that? I bet you’re digging out your old photographs as we speak. Honestly, who can truly deny the lure of ego gratification at a cost we can afford?

Of course many people have ambitions (perhaps delusions?) that they will sell millions of copies of their books. Who’s to say that won’t happen? Some people are just targeting a narrow niche, like a fund raising cookbook. Others are just content to have a beautifully produced book to sit on their coffee table, or perhaps just give as gifts to their friends.

The beauty of it all is that we now have another channel to express our individuality, creativity and words. And the good news is, the window of opportunity just swung wide open.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Deadlines are looming but the good news is I am passionate about my work. Some days it seems like an effortless engagement other days I need to take a time out and detox from my computer. But it seems that even when I take time away from my work, I'm still at the computer looking at what everyone else is doing. Now, the great thing about that is what you can really stumble upon. I really like author Tim Ferriss, and his book, "The 4-Hour Workweek". Even more so, I like his blog, here's just one of his recent entries: -21-day-no-complaint-experiment. Read this article and it may just change your life..... I'm only on day two.

Now back to my work in progress. and on the schedule for this week.

Wedding Album

Baby Blog Book

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I am actively seeking photographers who are interested in having a book created by us to be submitted and reviewed by renowned experts in the field of photography. Blurb is hosting an international symposium and a competition for photography books. The deadline for submitting books is July 14, 2008. Please email me if you are interested in this photo competition.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Today I made a customer happy by completing the design and layout of his new coffee table book. He was a lot of fun to work with and we became on such good terms that he's invited me visit him whenever I'm in his neck of the woods!

The client takes pictures for a hobby, but I must say he's got a very good eye and I really loved some of his pictures. The challenge here was getting the high resolution pictures from him to us and explaining why a low resolution picture can look good on your computer screen, but not in print. That is a common problem customers have....

By the end of the project, by George, I think he got it. I also worked with him to understand the FTP (file transfer protocol) process. Typically Picturia Press works with clients to receive their files this way rather than having them email photos (forget about it, impossible!) or mail CD's<(too time consuming/expensive). I recommend CuteFTP or Fetch as a free FTP program.

Click here to view the book!

Monday, March 10, 2008

We've just finished an amazing book this week. Yes, another one. This was a blog that a client wanted converted to a 10 x 8 book. The good thing about using Blurb software for blog books is the "slurping" feature they offer. The process of getting all the images and blog text from a person's blog downloaded to your computer and imported to the software. This makes life much, much easier.

My customer had been keeping a daily blog on her children's every day life for a year. Details, commentaries and pictures to go with each entry. Wow. This is a great gift to give your children when they grow up and it is her desire to create these books for each year. Can you imagine? Think about all the little things we miss or forget over the years and you could just pull one of these books off the shelf and read about yourself at age 9!! I love the idea.

Blog books are invariably more complicated then say just a book of photography. There's quite a bit of editing required, and the correct layout of images with text and captions. Our client's book ended up being around 118 pages. Be prepared when creating a blog book for a long design turnaround time.
Click here to view the book!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Since my last post, I've seen, spoken, emailed and called clients to no end and have now tried to develop a set of questions most commonly asked. Hopefully for you bloggers out there, it will save you some time.

How many pages can my book be?
As many as you like, but we don't recommend going over 400 pages.

How do I decide on the size and cover?
That size of the book is up to the client. Small books can be 7 x 7 inches, large books can be 13 x 11, but the most common size is 10 x 8 or 8 x 10. Choosing between a hard back or soft cover is completely up to the client.

How many pictures should I have?
Assume you'll need 40% more images than pages. So for example a 100 page book, you'd want to provide us with at least 140 images.

What size/resolution should the images be?
The higher the resolution of the image, the better quality the image will print. Even though a 380K file size image will show wonderfully on the Internet, it needs to be at least 1.2MB file size image to print on paper. If you give us images that are low resolution, we will either not be able to use them, or they may have to be the size of thumbnail images!

Will you edit my images?
Not all book designers do editing. In our case, we have the experience to do so. Editing can consist of color correction, removing unwanted spots or other items from a photograph to adding effects. This is not usually in the bid price for the project and is priced out separately.

How does the creative process work?
Every book designer is different. But at Picturia Press, we work with you to get the look and feel you want for the project. Then we go away and create that vision. We'll put a draft of your book online for you to view and make changes/suggestions. We work with you until you are satisfied with the end results

How do you get my images?
There is a variety of way for us to access your images. You can create a CD and mail it to us. We can set up an FTP on line where you transfer the files, or we can access them through an online photo gallery such as Picasa. We work with what's easiest for the client.

How long will it take?
Well, that can vary on the size of the project. But usually allow 2 to 3 weeks for the project to be completed, then it has to go to print - usually another week to 10 days. So, basically, don't expect to get a finished book in under a week.....

How much will it cost?
The magic question. Unfortunately, there is no magic answer. Book design can range from $250 to $5,000. It all depends. Just remember the reward of seeing your book in print is worth every penny!!

Side Note: Make sure you own all the rights to the images you provide us with, as you will need to confirm that in writing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's been a busy few weeks around here!. Managed to build two websites, a tri-fold brochure and oh, also managed to squeeze in a book design too!

My dearest friend Natalie is getting married, so I helped her create a tri-fold "SAVE THE DATE" Card. This was supposed to be quick and dirty project - but are they ever? First I went to Kinko's to print the brochures, only to be told the printers were all down for service. Then they say they can do it on their own printer, but I have to use their paper, rather than the dye cut beautiful tri-fold paper I had brought. Then....I realize the CD I brought only had the layout and not the fonts included. And my client Natalie is waiting patiently to get her 125 brochures to mail out the next day!

During all this, we built a website for a San Francisco personal trainer, JJ Everett. I've had the privilege and the pain of training with him, and it was much easier to build his website than it is to build my muscles!! If you want a great workout, be sure to check out his site.

Onto the next job, which was a landing page for a Passion Parties consultant. This one was a breeze compared to the brochure and the website. One page, no heavy programming, and the best news is the client loved it. It's always great when your client likes your first draft on a design.

Now I can get back to book designing. Crazy week....

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm excited to be working with a man who has been writing his own poetry for the last 10 years. Just like photographs however, they are all over the place and in many different forms. He's got them hand written, scanned, typed (on a REAL typewriter) and on his computer (remember Word Perfect?)

All his work needs to be edited before it's actually ready for a published book version, so we are taking all his content and retyping it all in a word document that he can edit and then resubmit to us for conversion and layout. This is one of those long running projects, but should be really rewarding to complete. We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pleased to say I just finished another book. This one was a wedding album, which always makes me cry. Don't get me wrong, it's a good cry. I enjoy working with the photographs because they are taken by professionals, and that always makes our job easier. This was was especially good to do because most of the photographs were taken by my good friend Colin Vincent.

Click here to view the book!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Since being listed in Blurb as a preferred vendor, we've been hit with a magnitude of inquiries. Now the trick is to turn inquiries into books.....

Here are some of the more interesting projects being considered:

  • Love letters from WW2
  • A Professional LaCrosse Promotional Book
  • A Book of old Christmas Caroles
  • A PTA Recipe Book (Fundraiser)
  • Pre-schooler/Kindergarten Yearbook
  • How To Book on Motherly Advice
  • 10 years of personal poetry
  • Mother's blog of baby's first year

This is exactly why I love this emerging industry. There are so many creative people and so many great things that need to be published....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Can I just tell you how much I like Blurb? They are so great, the people there are so wonderful and supportive. Blurbidee, Blurbidee, Blurb. But seriously...for a Publishing On Demand business, they have really made an effort to work with good designers and give them the support and marketing they need to get business.

Just this week they asked a select few of us to be in their Blurb Nation. Which is a directory of approved vendors and designers. I was thrilled for the business it could potentially bring Picturia Press.