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Craft and Vision, publishers of many fine photography e-books, has just introduced a new, FREE e-book!  It is a collection of articles from various talented Craft and Vision authors/ photographer, and is intended, of course, to introduce you to their thoughts and writings and entice you to buy all the other Craft and Vision books!  This is not a bad thing, as the books are all excellent, and I’m certain you will find at least a couple, if not a handful that will appeal to you as well as help you improve your photography.

The FREE e-book, 11 Ways You Can Improve Your Photography, is available by clicking on its title or the image below.  You will be taken to the Craft and Vision site where, after getting your free book, you can view (and purchase!) all the other books.

The free book has several excellent articles discussing numerous aspects of making a photograph and improving your results including composition, exposure, making prints, self-assignments/ projects, and capturing the moment.  And it is no pamphlet…67 spreads, as in 134 magazine pages!

Authors include: David duChemin, Piet Van den Eynde, Andrew S. Gibson, Nicole S. Young, Alexandre Buisse, Stuart Sipahigil, Eli Reinholdtsen and Michael Frye.

To read my reviews or intros to other Craft and Vision books, have a look at my post Developing Your Photographic Vision as well as the other posts tagged “Craft and Vision.”

I came across an e-book service that promises to distribute your e-book to 25 stores, all for a reasonable price of under $50.  While that is a great price for that service due to the time and careful effort that must be put into the process of uploading and entering information to several sites, you should also know that you can do it yourself, in an evening, for free.  My new e-book guide to creating, publishing, marketing, and selling e-books called The E-Book Handbook explains exactly how to publish yourself to all the same sites.

The E-Book Handbook e book ebook how to create format publish market sell Amazon Kindle Nook iPad for dummies

One doesn’t actually have to individually upload the text and info to 25 sites, but rather to just a few and then they distribute your e-book to the other sites.  Once your e-book is complete and properly formatted for the various sites and e-readers like the Kindle and Nook, this publishing process merely involves typing in all your info, adding a description that you will use for all the sites, and uploading your cover and e-book document.  It is a simple step-by-step process that the publishing sites all walk you through pretty well, especially Amazon’s KDP and Barnes and Noble’s PubIt (now Nook Press).  But there are a few additional steps and some follow through, such as getting into Smashword’s Premium Catalog, that you need to be aware of.  And knowing to use Amazon’s Author Central to turn your unformatted e-book description into a nicer formatted description is an example of one of the important tips you might not realize (and that you can learn about in my e-book!).

But don’t be mislead into thinking that getting into 25 stores will exponentially increase your sales and you will become an instant e-book success.  Your goal may be to sell a reasonable 5 books per month at most of the sites for a total of over 100 a month, but the reality is:  all your sales are likely to come from 3 sites, and most of them in the US.  While Smashwords distributes your book to Diesel and Sony, plus to several sites for Kobo and Apple in multiple countries, you will likely achieve few-to-no sales on 80% of those sites.  Hey look, its the 80-20 rule!  The Pareto principle – 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.  This turns out to be exactly true with e-book sales, according to my experience.

I have sold over 4,500 e-book camera guides in less than 9 months so far, and the combined number of sales from Sony, Diesel, Kobo’s US and 7 international stores: ZERO.  (2013 edit – Kobo sales have increased to about the same level as B&N sales each month. That being said, B&N sales have steadily dropped over the past year, as I suppose people are hesitant to invest in the Nook reader). Sales from Smashwords: not enough to make it worthwhile (4 per month) to undergo their stringent formatting rules and fickle conversion meatgrinder – except that they distribute to Apple.  And due to the iPad and iPhone I believe selling through Apple is a major part of the future of e-books and thus critical.  But as soon as I can distribute to Apple on my own or through someone else, it’s good-bye Smashwords. And come to think of it, it’s been months since I submitted some of the books to Smashwords and they are still nowhere to be found on Sony or Kobo. (2013 edit – You can now easily publish directly to Apple and Kobo, so I stopped publishing on Smashwords and never looked back.)   Submit directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (2013-and now Kobo) and your e-books are up for sale in 1 to 3 days. (2013-With Apple, it takes a week or more for the book to be approved and up for sale)

So you really just need to focus on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, (2013: and Kobo, and Apple) and then Smashwords for getting to Apple (plus your own website and blog) to make 100% of your sales.  Mostly really just Amazon and Apple.  I would barely lose any sales if I just used these four sites plus my sites.  Here is a handy chart from my e-book guide The E-Book Handbook to demonstrate this fact:

ebook e book sales distribution apple amazon barnes and noble smashwords nook kindle ipad e-reader
My e-book sales, in terms of percentage of “units” sold, at each of the sites where they are available. (2013-Apple sales have increased to perhaps 3x the B&N sales shown here, and Kobo sales are similar to the B&N level.)

I am giving away a free copy of an excellent book about photographing in natural light, Available Light: Photographic Techniques for Using Existing Light Sources by Don Marr!!  Read on to see how to take part in the give-away.

CONTEST CLOSED!  The contest ended Nov. 8, 2010.  I will go to Random.org and have it select and announce the winner tonight (Nov. 9).

I recently came across this book and found it incredibly helpful.  Unlike most photo books that merely tell you about front lighting or side lighting or diffused overcast lighting and then don’t go into much practical detail, this book actually explains how to seek out, modify, and use natural light – in all its forms – to take better photos.  It demonstrates that off-camera flash is not necessary for better photos, even in less-than-ideal lighting situations.  I wrote much more about this book in my Essential Digital Photography Books post.

available light book
This book can be yours!The free copy of Available Light by Don Marr, donated by Amherst Media, photographed on my floor in the available window light.

I liked the book so much that I contacted the publisher, Amherst Media, and asked them for a copy that I could give away on my blog here.  They enthusiastically agreed, and I have just received the book from them.

How to Enter:
Just leave a comment for this post.  If you don’t see the comment form immediately below the post, look under the title of this post and click on where it says “… comments.”  Or just click HERE.  Put in whatever comment you want.  If you wish, let me know how you came across my blog (Yahoo/ Google search, Twitter, regular reader, etc.), and if you are a regular reader or plan to become one, let me know what you enjoy reading about here and what photography topics and/or equipment you would like to read more about.

I will leave this post open for comments for three weeks, until Monday November 8 at 11:59pm.  At that time all the comments will be numbered in the order they were received and posted.  They may not be published immediately as I have to approve them – in the order received – to prevent spam.  I will then use the True Random Number Generator on Random.org to choose a random number and select the winner.  Decision is final!  Contest is open to those with United States mailing addresses only! Good luck!

If you don’t win or just wish to check out the book Available Light on Amazon, you can click here or on the cover:

Also, while I have your attention, be sure to check out my new eBooks:

Your World 60D – The Still Photographer’s Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon EOS 60D.  You can read more about it and purchase it in PDF format (also iPad compatible) here on my blog, or it is also available in the Kindle version on Amazon.

T2i Experience – The Still Photographer’s Guide to the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D.  Learn more about it a purchase it in PDF format here, or in the Kindle version on Amazon.

Douglas J. Klostermann Photography Douglas J. Klostermann Photography

Sorry, the give-away is now over!

If you read yesterday’s post about Essential Books for Digital Photography, you will see I am pretty enthusiastic about a couple photo books in particular.  One of them that I think is really wonderful, and which really opened my eyes recently, is Available Light by Don Marr.  I discussed it in depth in yesterday’s post, so I won’t repeat that here.  But anyway, I liked it so much, I contacted the publisher (Amherst Media) and asked them to send me a copy to use as a free give-away on my blog.  And they enthusiastically agreed to this!

So stay tuned for the free photo book give-away, which I will initiate as soon as I have the book in hand, hopefully sometime around Oct. 15.

Here is a photo I took immediately after reading the book, putting what I learned to use.  Notice the amazing glow of the 100% natural, available light.  This was taken on an afternoon with bright sunlight, by placing the subject under an overpass to control the direction and intensity of the light.

LSS natural light