15 Apr, 2014 | Posted by: sellmyphotos





Free iPad App from KODAK-- Creates Personalized Photo Books - Kevin Touch: “Kodak is back with a new app for the iPad after officially exiting bankruptcy and filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in 2012.
Users can create their own photo books by using images from their camera roll, Facebook, Instagram or Flickr accounts, and they can choose from variety of templates and design backgrounds to customize their photo book experience. SOURCE:
http://www.theipadguide.com/content/kodak-releases-free-ipad-app-create-personalized-photo-books/717105378

08 Apr, 2014 | Posted by: sellmyphotos





SUCCESS WITH SMARTPHONE APPS: Carolyn Potts: “The business side of a successful photography career has both an inner and an outer game. I’ve noticed over the years that the most successful shooters I know make sure they pay as much attention to their inner game as their outer game. What are “inner game” skills? Creativity. Focus. Attitude. Here are three apps I like that support each area. SOURCE: http://tinyurl.com/lftzdry



01 Apr, 2014 | Posted by: sellmyphotos





NEW FLICKR APP AND WEB DESIGN -- - Kara Swisher: “In December of 2012, just six months after Marissa Mayer was hired as CEO of Yahoo, the company released version 2.0 of its Apple iPhone and iPad app for its photo-sharing site Flickr. SOURCE: http://recode.net/2014/03/16/yahoo-to-release-new-flickr-app-and-web-design-replacing-previous-new-one/





‘Face Cartography’ Captures Portraits at a Whopping 900 Megapixels - Gannon Burgett
Using an industrial–strength robotic arm, custom software, a Canon EOS Mark ll and a 180mm macro lens converted into a telecentrical lens, Swiss photographer Daniel Boschung has created an automated portrait machine. Made to map out “Face Cartography“, the machine and resulting images capture incredibly detailed and hyperrealistic photographs of subjects. Every resulting gigapixel portrait consists of around 600 shots, resulting in a mind-blowing 900-megapixel image. At this level of detail, each portrait seems to bring to life every topographical detail of the human face. Pores turn into sinkholes, 5 o’clock shadow turns into a forest of saplings and wrinkles rise and fall like canyons and mountains.
http://petapixel.com/2014/03/17/face-cartography-shows-what-900-megapixel-portraits-look-like/



04 Mar, 2014 | Posted by: sellmyphotos





TOP ANDROID PHOTO APPS -- For Serious Smartphone Photographers, JP Danko: “In this post, I thought I’d share what I think are some of the top Android photography apps for serious mobile smartphone photographers. I thought it would be worthwhile to really explore what I can do with it as a tool for serious photography.”
http://tinyurl.com/lqz9cas




13 Aug, 2013 | Posted by: sellmyphotos







MUST-HAVES -- 6 iPhone Apps for Professional Photographers – Lauren Margolis: “These are the iPhones apps (and even some cross-over for you Android users!) that professional photographers are using either to prep for the day of a shoot – with a DSLR camera, mind you – or to help run their businesses more efficiently. http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/08/6-must-have-iphone-apps-for-professional-photographers/





29 Aug, 2012 | Posted by: bswenson





A dozen apps to fill your iPhone's photography folder. Liam McCabe: “Each week www.reviewed.com explores a new mobile photo app. Here are a dozen of the best iPhone photo apps we've looked at over the past six months.” SOURCE: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/story/2012-08-25/reviewed-top-photography-apps/57291814/1




New Free Photography App SweetCam Lets Users Enhance Photos and Look Better Beyond their Imagination
Simple and powerful new free photography app SweetCam from Shange-Qu Network lets users enhance the eyes, face or complexion of any portrait photo, or add cool pre- set filters. The app features integrated social media sharing, and is designed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/08/13/new-free-photography-app-sweetcam-lets-users-enhance-photos-and-look-better-beyond-their-



01 May, 2012 | Posted by: st




The Aesthetic of Apps



By Lee Foster

In earlier columns here in PhotoStockNOTES, we have considered the book and the ebook.

The third product form
in this series of possible publishing forms for your photos is the app.

What is the aesthetic of the app? Why might a consumer want an app rather than a printed book or an ebook?

My Washington DC subject appears in the app, Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide (Sutro Media). It is now in both the Apple iTunes App store and the Google Play Android store. The DC subject also exists as a co-authored printed book and as an ebook.

Consumers buying the DC app are telling me the following:

- Apps are software products and are appropriate for subjects where software can enhance the subject. If the goal is publishing a cluster of lovely photos in a coffee-table type of printed book, chances are the printed book and a facsimile ebook would be the appropriate forms.
But what if your subject benefits from being sorted and organized in several ways, as is particularly true in travel products?
My DC content can be sorted by the end user as A-Z, by Neighborhood, or by subject category, such as Museums.

For that you need software. Hence, what is appropriate is the app, or application, a software product.

- App software is evolving quickly and is complicated to develop in a sophisticated way.

Chances are the typical photographer should focus on photo-and-writing content rather than on software development.

In my field of travel, Sutro Media has effective software and has looked for partners, such as me, who have content. Possibly you can buy an off-the-shelf app software for your app content, but it may well look fairly old-fashioned within a few years.

HOW APPS WORK FOR MAPS

-Maps are an interesting aspect of app software with Sutro. If you have photo content that benefits from organizing via maps, an app may be in your future. Consumers like to know where they are in relation to their intended destination. Maps are a major enhancement. Maps can show you the photo attractions around you, for example, in a visual manner. A consumer using my DC app can see on a map all the subjects that I cover, typically, around The Mall.

- A little software enhancement in apps can go a long way. For example, in the latest Sutro software release, a consumer who likes the new Martin Luther King Memorial slideshow and write-up in my DC app can email the section to a friend. Consumers like to email friends about where they are and about their special experiences. The email shows an entry in the app, along with an opportunity to buy the app.

- Apps, like ebooks, can be bought anywhere in the world. That is a plus. Physical books can be distributed only in limited physical places where the shipping costs are manageable.

MORE ADVANTAGES


- Apps have infinite space in them for photos, as do ebooks. My first release of my DC app had 100 entries and 100 photos. Now I have 150 entries and about 500 photos. The photos appear in the app in appealing slideshows, a software functionality. The word ebook may in the future include multimedia functionality in its definition, but the general concept of ebook is still of a static book. The word app tends to mean more multimedia functionality at the present time.

- Apps have links, as ebooks can also have, but the word app usually signifies a much heavier reliance on links.
This is helpful to a consumer, especially for travel apps. For example, in my DC app, if a consumer likes my write-up and my photos of a restaurant, they can click right into the menu for the restaurant. I don’t need to project the exact information about prices. If the consumer has general guides, such as Moderate or Expensive, the consumer can look exactly at the menu, know today’s actual price, and make his or her decisions.

Paying attention to actual consumer preferences requires good listening skills on the part of the author. A successful photo author will want to make products in the form that larger numbers of consumers want.


What is fascinating is that consumer wishes are evolving, so potential authors need to keep asking consumers, “What would be the most appealing presentation of my photos for your use--a printed book, an ebook, an app, or possibly all three?”




Lee Foster has three apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. Search “Lee Foster” and up come the three in the iPhone Apps list below Movies, Albums, and Songs. Two are travel photo guides with a lot of functionality. They are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99). Lee’s third app is a travel literary book with photos, an ebook-style app titled Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time (IndiaNIC, $2.99)

http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide




03 Apr, 2012 | Posted by: st



What Will a Consumer Choose?

The Aesthetic of

Ebooks:



By Lee Foster


If you want to see your photography published in a saleable product, the options today will be a printed book, an ebook, an app, or possibly all three. My San Francisco and Washington DC subjects, for example, exist in all three forms.
Before you commit to any of these modes, it’s worth thinking like a consumer and asking, “What will an end-user want and why?” Last month we looked at the aesthetic of books.
This month let’s consider the aesthetic of ebooks.
Consumers tell me they like the ebook version of my works for several reasons:

-Ebook reading devices keep getting better. Color photos are gorgeous on the iPad or the Kindle Fire. Each new generation of electronic readers raises the bar in terms of photo publishing. Ebooks can, of course, also be read on iPhones and other smart phones, where the color is good but the screen is small.

-Ebooks are compact. You can carry hundreds of ebooks around on a single device. That’s an advantage, especially for travel books, my specialty. Why carry a lot of physical books about a destination when you can use an ebook version?

-Ebooks are green and virtuous. This may become an increasingly important aspect of the consumer choice. Ebooks don’t require that trees be cut, and they have no printing, shipping, and warehousing costs.

-Ebooks can have an enormous number of photos, if that is desired. My printed San Francisco book, The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (Countryman Press/Norton), has 75 photos and 96 pages, fixed forever. The ebook version put out by the publisher is a facsimile version of the printed book. However, that is an accidental limitation of the publisher’s current practices. The ebook version could have 500 photos, as does my app San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide (Sutro Media). Ebooks have elasticity in terms of the potential number of photos, even if that is not emphasized at the current time.

-Ebooks can be bought anywhere in the world. This is an unassailable advantage of electronic products, both ebooks and apps, from a consumer’s point of view. My physical San Francisco book will seldom sell outside North America, due to shipping cost. My electronic app product has sold in 46 foreign countries. The ebook has the same potential as the app.

-Ebooks are generally cheaper than printed books, a plus for consumers. The “true” cost of the ebook is rather small and the “true” cost of the content in the printed book (meaning what is paid to the author) is rather small. As ebooks evolve, chances are their market cost for the consumer will go way down and yet the author, the content creator, will actually get a higher payment per inexpensive ebook sold than for expensive printed books sold.

For some customers, however, nothing compares to a printed book. I listen to their comments and never contest them. I like both printed books and ebooks. As the old Roman saying goes, “For taste, there is no accounting.”

A photographer should consider developing a product in both a printed book and an ebook form. One drawback to the printed form is the capital cost to get good quality photo printing on paper at a mass market price, making your book viable in the bookstore trade. To keep the retail price at five times the manufacturing cost, you will need to print perhaps 3,000 copies in China or Malaysia. That requires some capital. Print-on-demand for color photo books is not there yet at a price point for commercial books.

Lee Foster has three apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. Search “Lee Foster” and up come the three in the iPhone Apps list below Movies, Albums, and Songs. Two are travel photo guides with a lot of functionality. They are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99). Lee’s third app is a travel literary book with photos, an ebook-style app titled Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time (IndiaNIC, $2.99)

http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide




28 Feb, 2012 | Posted by: st




What do you prefer?

eBook, app, or Book…



By Lee Foster


Photographers wishing to see their photos published in stand-alone products now have three forms to consider--books, ebooks, and apps.

It is important to understand the aesthetic of each and the pros and cons of the different forms.

Today’s consumer is now considering an historic choice of forms. What will the consumer prefer?

I have two subjects that exist in all three forms.

My print books The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco and The Photographer’s Guide to Washington DC (both from Countryman Press/Norton) exist as both printed books and ebooks, readily seen on Amazon.

They also exist in the Apple iTunes store as the apps San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide and Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide. The DC app has also come out in the Android Store, and the San Francisco app will soon follow.

So, what is the consumer thinking today?

Let’s start with the Book. This subject is complex. We’ll look at the aesthetic of books in the column, and cover ebooks and apps in my next columns.

REGULAR (paper) BOOKS


Here is what consumers are telling me:

The “Pro” for the book begins with its old fashioned comfort and known aesthetic. We are all familiar with books. There is no learning curve or expense involved in the reading process.

We all have the reading device, which is the human eye, distributed in pairs to each of the 7 billion people on earth.
Books have a glossy color print-on-paper aesthetic that is ppleasing to many.

The “Con” arguments against books are getting stronger in the minds of many consumers.

It starts with the book’s limitation, which is physical. My two books in question have 96 pages and no more, with 75 photos and no more. By contrast, an ebook or app product can have much more extensive content. My apps have more than 500 photos.
The content of the book is also self-contained, static, and does not go beyond itself. Increasingly, that is seen by consumers as a limitation. Ebooks and apps can have links in them to carry the reader beyond to more insight or more photos.
Books are also limited to one linear presentation of the material, the single way that the author organized it. An ebook is similar, if we define an ebook as simply a page-turning facsimile of a printed book. That may be fine for a novel, but not always ideal for an informational non-fiction book. An app is different, in a revolutionary manner. An app is a software-enhanced product that can sort and organize material. A book or an ebook could show all “photos of San Francisco” and an app can do the same.

But only an app could sort out and show only “museum photos in San Francisco” or only “restaurant photos.” Some consumers like this power of sorting and selecting.

Another problem with books, from the perspective of consumers, is that they can be purchased only in a limited geographic area. My San Francisco book can only be purchased in North America. It is very expensive to ship around a physical object that will be sold for $14.95. My San Francisco book will never be sold in Japan or Italy, for example, without substantial added postage cost.

By contrast, an ebook or app can be bought anywhere in the world and downloaded at once. My app on San Francisco has been purchased in 46 foreign countries.

Books are not “green.” They involve harvesting trees, consuming ink and paper, and incurring heavy freight expenses. Books need to be warehoused. Lack of “green” is a growing negative factor about books for many consumers, especially in the younger generations.

Books are also bulky and heavy, while ebooks and apps have no weight and do not fill shelf space. An enormous number of books can be placed on my iPad or my iPhone. The phone device is needed anyway, so the book/app reading device may not require an extra purchase. We may think that people will only read books on tablets, such as the Kindle Fire or the iPad, but the reality is that the phone device is also a reader, and may be used for more reading worldwide than we suspect.
Possibly the final negative aspect of books will be most important to the consumer. Books are generally more expensive than ebooks, and ebooks are generally more expensive than apps. The high expense of books is a necessary reality because of the manufacturing and distribution realities. The price of ebooks and apps is a matter of perception of value. A higher percentage of the price for ebooks and apps is goes to the content creator than is the case with books.
If you want to see your photos published in books, your task will be more difficult than the path into ebooks and apps. Print-on-demand of color photos in books is not yet economical, though black-and-white in print-on-demand is plausible. You generally need to sell a physical book at five times the manufacturing cost to make the venture profitable.

Chances are you will have to print a book with color photos in China or some other Asian country.

You will probably need to print 3,000 or more units to be economical, as I did with my book Travels in An American Imagination.

The alternative to such “independent” publishing is “waiting to be published by others,” and that wait is getting longer each year.

So, there you have it for books. In my next columns let’s consider the pros and cons of ebooks and apps.


Lee Foster has three apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. Search “Lee Foster” and up come the three in the iPhone Apps list below Movies, Albums, and Songs. Two are travel photo guides with a lot of functionality. They are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99). Lee’s third app is a travel literary book with photos, an ebook-style app titled Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time (IndiaNIC, $2.99)

http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.comTwo new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide



31 Jan, 2012 | Posted by: st





The Pricing of Ebooks


By Lee Foster



The pricing of ebooks is a critical and controversial issue. Views on what is the appropriate price diverge.


Why have I priced my writing/photography travel literary book Travels in an American Imagination so low at $2.99?

Why has Countryman Press priced each of my travel photo books The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco and The Photographer’s Guide to Washington DC so high at $9.95?

Can both these views be defended?

The comparison is interesting because the three books in question are all comparable books in the printed versions. They all have color photos and texts. They all are nicely printed, about the same total size. All sell as printed books for $14.95. All were printed in Asia in quantities of 3,000 or more to get the manufactured price down to $2-$3. For example, my book cost me $2.21 each when I printed 3,000 copies in China.

One irony in this discussion is that ebooks may be priced quite low, yet may return to the content provider more than occurs with a printed book sale by a traditional publisher.

Countryman pays me a 15% of net sale royalty for my print books with them. The books list for $14.95, but are sold on average at roughly 54% off, so net about $6.87. Of that I get 15% of net or about $1.03 cents. That is a normal print book contract.

When I price my independently-published ebook at $2.99 and run it through BookBaby, I get 100% of the net sale, or $2.09 after Amazon/Apple takes their 30%.

For my ebook I am the publisher and the content provider, with BookBaby as the facilitator into the ebook stores. BookBaby can pay me 100% of the net sale because ebooks are such simple structures, easy to place in a selling system. BookBaby’s business model is to earn from me a $199 fee up front and then a required $19/year fee in years 2, 3, 4, 5 and on to keep my ebook in their system.
THE LONG TERM

That’s where they see their long term profitability, in a longtail fee as a “non- predatory” publisher. (Their parent company, CDBaby, has been doing this for years with musicians.)

Countryman ups my ebook royalty rate to 20% of net sale for ebooks, compared to 15% of net sale for print books.

So, I will earn $1.39 from their net sale at 30% off list price to Amazon/Apple of $6.96, which is 70% of the Countryman $9.95 ebook list price.

When I can publish an ebook myself,
with its simple layout structure,
it becomes problematic to argue the
rationale of working with a publisher
such as Countryman in the future.
Why not take 100% rather than 20%
of the net sale?


With a $0 manufacturing, shipping, storage, and inventory cost, ebooks have some distinct opportunities. Without the need for huge capital to create the book product, one wonders what the traditional publisher is bringing to the transaction. I wish I could say that Countryman and my other boutique royalty book publisher, Globe Pequot, are bringing marketing energy to the transaction.

However, I am not seeing much marketing energy from them. In the modern context, the author needs to personally market the book.

What is the public’s perception of price on ebooks?

I believe the public wants these ebooks sold inexpensively. Because of the major modern developments in ebook-reading devices, today’s ebook marketplace stresses volume and a wide diversity of reading material available at your fingertips for a nominal investment.

When you look at what is selling in ebooks and apps, $2.99 is considered a respectable price. The consumer is beginning to understand that there is no replication cost.
I think my $2.99 book will get some sales. I doubt that Countryman Press will get many sales at $9.95. This $9.95 ebook price is far above the market, in my view.


Scarcity is a factor in price. Perhaps you have noticed that there is no scarcity of ebooks. Quality, value, and brand identity are all factors in price. I think the unit price may be low, but the unit volume of sales may be high.

Countryman would probably argue that I am destroying the market by pricing so low. I feel the market has fundamentally changed with ebooks.

I look forward to re-visiting this subject a year from now to see how the issue of price has evolved.

Who made the wiser price decision in marketing--Countryman Press or me?

Lee Foster has three apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. Search “Lee Foster” and up come the three in the iPhone Apps list below Movies, Albums, and Songs. Two are travel photo guides with a lot of functionality. They are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99). Lee’s third app is a travel literary book with photos, an ebook-style app titled Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time (IndiaNIC, $2.99)

http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.comTwo new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide




03 Jan, 2012 | Posted by: st






Ebook


Layout Simplicity




If you are a photographer or writer thinking of publishing Ebooks, one of the most important concepts to master is their layout simplicity, compared to print books.


Print books, especially if heavy with graphics, requires a fixed layout, which is a special skill.

A type font must be chosen.
The layout of text and photos for every page must be determined.
Photos must be sized.
The layout arts require perhaps a $2,000 investment for a book, such as my The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (Countryman Press/Norton, $14.95) and its parallel The Photographer’s Guide to Washington DC.

By contrast, an ebook layout must be simple. An ebook must flow, with text and photos responding to the user’s needs rather than the publisher’s desires.

A standard font, such as Times Roman, should be chosen because the user may select a different font style. The user may choose the size of font desired for viewing.

Some viewing systems, such as Amazon Kindle, will have their own chosen font. Photos will appear sequentially, where directed, between blocks of text.

Text will not “wrap around” the photo. The viewer may be viewing the ebook on a small iPhone screen or on a larger tablet, such as an iPad or a Kindle Fire, or perhaps on a regular computer screen.
A WORD FILE WORKS EASILY


Because so few design choices can be made for an ebook, a simple Word file with photos inserted is the way many Ebooks are delivered to the e-publisher.

If a print book is set up in InDesign, it may be submitted in InDesign, but very little of the functionality of InDesign is actually used.

I remember the day that Ebooks of my two photo books finally appeared in the Amazon Kindle store and in the Apple iBook store.

I had been urging the publisher for two years to publish my print books as Ebooks, but the company was slow and reluctant to do so. They were heavily invested in the concept of print books and not too interested in Ebooks.
I bought a Kindle version of my San Francisco book the day it came out and looked at it on my computer screen. I was struck with its layout simplicity. I could see they had used the InDesign final version for the conversion to ebook, but I didn’t see this as preferable to a simple Word file.
SIMPLICITY


When it came time, soon thereafter, to set up my independently published travel literary book Travels in an American Imagination (Foster Travel Publishing, $14.95) as an ebook, I was able to address some of the issues. I decided to present my book to the e-publisher, BookBaby, as a Word file in Times Roman font.

For example, I noticed that Countryman had kept in the ebook at the same size some of the photos that were quite small in the print book.

But why publish photos small in an ebook? In an ebook there is infinite space. Why not make each photo as large as a full page? I did that in my independent book. I inserted the photos in the Word file at the maximum size that BookBaby said would work, allowing for a caption. My vertical photos were about 600 pixels high.

There are some aesthetic choices to
be made in an ebook layout.


For example, do you want the paragraphs to begin with a few spaces indent in long blocks of type, as in most traditional print book layouts?
Probably this concept evolved so as not to waste valuable space in conventional print book layouts.

- - - - - - - - - - -
If ebook layout is so simple, and access to the market is so easy, why is a traditional publisher needed?
- - - - - - - - - - - -


Today, when I read the New York Times online, I see blocks of type, with the paragraph beginning flush left, and a line break space allowed between paragraphs.

That white space is restful to my eyes. Though purists will say this is non-standard for books, this is what I chose for my ebook, partly because reading an ebook on a small screen device, as some will read the book, can be wearing on the eye without a line space between paragraphs.

IT’S YOUR TURN


So, think simplicity when you are considering an ebook layout. And do think of an ebook for your photographic content. With the iPhone showing color and tablets such as the iPad, Kindle Fire, Sony Reader, THRIVE, and Nook now all showing color, why not publish color photo books as ebooks?

Also, if ebook layout is so simple, and access to the market is so easy, why is a traditional publisher needed?


I remember the joyous day when my Travels in an American Imagination book came out in the Amazon Kindle store and in the Apple iBook shop. I downloaded a copy from both. My ebook looked good.

The next step is pricing. Why am I selling my travel literary book at $2.99 and Countryman is selling my two travel photo guides at $9.99 each. Is someone making a pricing mistake? I’ll take up the subject of ebook pricing next month.


--
Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com



Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide




30 Nov, 2011 | Posted by: st



The Ebook Publishing Link

Between Musicians

and Photographers




By Lee Foster



Ironically, there is a special link between musicians and photographers/writers in the new publishing world of ebooks and apps.

Musicians have led the way in the publishing of digital files, meaning downloadable files or files on a CD product.

Now photographers/writers are beginning to benefit from the publishing of digital files, meaning ebooks and apps, either downloadable or on a CD product. Most of the activity and benefit is in the downloadable sector.

Photographers/writers owe a great debt of gratitude to musicians, who have created the ground-breaking relationships for selling in this manner in the new digital age.

An interesting expression of this relationship can be seen in a Portland-based company that started with the company title “CDBaby”, and has now expanded to include an ebook-publishing branch called “BookBaby.”
(http://www.bookbaby.com/).

CDBaby claims to have published music from more than 250,000 independent musical artists, paying them about $200 million in royalties.

BookBaby hopes to do the same for photographers/writers who want to publish ebooks/apps.

BookBaby, like CDBaby, has an unusual business model. They charge a small up-front fee of about $100 for formatting and placement of the ebook in the main structures (iBook store, Nook, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, etc).

There may be further charges for graphics-intensive layouts. They also charge a longtail fee of $20 to keep the ebook in their system for every year after the first year. Beyond that, they return to the creator 100% of all sales.

It sounds almost too good to be true. However, they have vast experience with handling digital files and setting up automatic bullet-proof accounting systems in CDBaby, which has a similar revenue payout.

So they can now make this same offer to photographers/writers. CDBaby/BookBaby describes itself as a “non-predatory” publisher. They also offer cover design and are beginning to get into print-on-demand physical books.

I am considering BookBaby for two future ebooks I plan to do. Ebook publishing guru Joel Friedlander conducted a fascinating interview with the CDBaby/BookBaby founder, Brian Felsen, at
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/06/e-book-distribution-with-bookbabys-brian-felsen-video/

Felsen comments that they have had so much success with musicians that it is easy for the company now to branch out to photographers/writers who want to market their products as ebooks. After all, digital files are digital files.


--
Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com


Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide



02 Nov, 2011 | Posted by: st







Credit Card Sales Devices

for Smart Phones



By Lee Foster


The new world of apps and smart phone/tablet devices helps solve a practical problem that many photographers have experienced.

Have you ever been face to face with a customer who wanted to buy a photo print, a book, a consultation, anything, but wanted to pay you with a credit or debit card?

How can you get the sale?

The old way was complicated. You would have to take down credit card information on a form. Then you had to re-key that information into your credit card vendor system.

I have ProPay for such purposes and collected some sales in this manner.

With the rise of the so-called “smart” phones, such as the iPhone, more facile credit card swipe devices have emerged. For some time I have been watching this development. ProPay, for example, developed its own swipe device and tried to sell it to me.

However, a new San Francisco company, called Square (www.squareup.com), has emerged as a leader in this business. I decided to go with Square.

Study the Square website to see if it works for you.
One aspect of my decision is that Square is free in terms of up-front costs and monthly charges. I filled out their form online, indicating my bank account for deposits, and they mailed me the little device, which fits into my iPhone4. The device is so small that I keep it in its mailing case when not using it so I won’t lose it. I then downloaded the free Square app from the iTunes App Store.

Square makes its money on a 2.75% transaction charge. That comes off the top before Square deposits the balance of the transaction into your bank account.

I did a few tests of the device. I made small "purchases" (of my own products) using my credit card. Sure enough, the money, minus the 2.75%, showed up in my bank account in a couple of days. The charge appeared on my monthly credit card statement in the next cycle.

Square does not work flawlessly yet, in my experience. It seems to work better when I have a strong wireless situation, but not as well when using only 3G connectivity.

However, three nifty aspects of Square impress me.
IMAGE: Fate Francis

First, Square prompts me to use the phone camera to capture an image of the purchased item, which in my case might be a book. You take a photo of the product, if you wish, when you make the sale.

Second, Square engages the buyer. The buyer uses a finger to draw their name, authenticating the sale.

Third, Square sends the total information about the purchase as an email receipt to the buyer and to me as the seller.

Beyond providing an email address for a receipt, the buyer doesn’t need to share any further information with the seller. All the Square data exchange appears to be encrypted and safe.

It is likely that Square and other providers of this card-swipe-on-smart-phones service will transform how many small purchases are made. Imagine the local Farmers’ Market, for example, going to a cashless exchange.

Credit cards and debit cards can be used on Square. Square works on iPhones, iPads, and on Android phones.
Consumers will get more and more comfortable with Square and similar devices. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Square has shipped more than 750,000 units to aspiring merchants. Venture capitalists are reported to have sunk $100 million into Square as a visionary startup with an enormous potential market.

So, due to the advancing world of apps and these liberating smart phone devices, you now have an opportunity to get a sale of your fine art photo, your book, or whatever, when face to face with a buyer who wants to pay you with a credit/debit card.



--
Lee Foster Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715, Berkeley, CA 94705,(510) 549-2202, lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide



05 Oct, 2011 | Posted by: st







Changing the Rules


By Lee Foster



If you want to get involved in the new world of apps and ebooks, it is best to be of a resilient temperament.

Resilience is a virtue because the big marketers in the field can change the rules, and occasionally do. Apple and Amazon are the biggest marketers. You will need to work with them. Sometimes they do change the rules.
For example, I have a specialized app entitled San Francisco Travel Photo Guide and two other specialized apps in the Apple iTunes app store.

I am grandfathered in and will always have an honored place in iTunes. However, I would not be allowed to publish my app as a high level “root directory” listing today in iTunes. Apple is now restricting my publisher, Sutro Media, to “country-wide” titles, with more specialized titles to be sold within a free app entitled Sutro World.

Suppose I wanted to do a new travel photo app today entitled Wisconsin Scenic Byways and Farms. That would be an appealing subject to me. It is unlikely, however, that I could get a “root directory” high level visibility for it now in the iTunes store. It would have to be sold from within the Sutro World free app. Without the visibility, would it be successful?


Amazon has done some similar switches. Some of my colleagues have published ebooks and the parallel print-on-demand books through an Ingram book distribution entity called Lightning Source. Amazon has carried these products, although Amazon has its competing print-on-demand entity called CreateSpace.

Now, Amazon is diminishing the Lightning Source distribution access. The issues are complex, involving discounts offered and whether the book on Amazon is listed as In Stock (delivery in 2-3 days) or Delivery Time 2-3 Weeks (a sales killer).

Amazon has an interest in promoting its own CreateSpace publishing option rather than its competitor, Lightning Source.

It is sometimes difficult to keep up with all these changing developments. One of my critical sources of information is Joel Friedlander, who spends his waking moments following this publishing revolution.

Each night Joel posts another nuanced insight in the book design world, which is now mainly about ebook creation and distribution. You can subscribe to his daily insights for free and browse his past commentaries at www.thebookdesigner.com.

Joel has gathered some of his most critical comments into his book A Self Publisher’s Companion.

Those who change the rules sometimes do so as a brutal power play to get business and kill the competition. Sometimes they also do so in an effort to improve the consumer experience in the marketplace.

Apple probably feels that the app world is getting a little cluttered, from a consumer perspective, and that more order needs to be asserted. Sometimes there are also inadvertent changes in the rules due to technological innovation.

When I wake up tomorrow, the rules may change again.
There is always the possibility of a nefarious background aspect to a rules change. However, there is also sometimes the possibility of a glorious technological breakthrough that will increase consumer joy regarding app and ebook products.

On October 4 Apple announced a new generation of iPhones, the iPhone4s,
with incremental technological advances. It is possible that the new generation of pc tablets, such as the new Amazon Kindle Fire, will have a transformative effect because they support good color graphics, comparable to the iPad, but are much cheaper. These color-enabled pc tablets may greatly increase the Android-system market for photographers developing apps and ebooks.


--
Lee Foster Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715, Berkeley, CA 94705,(510) 549-2202, lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide



07 Sep, 2011 | Posted by: st




Creating Videos

to Improve Your App/Ebook/Website


By Lee Foster


Once you have an app, ebook, or website product on the market, is your work over? Hardly. The products must continually be improved and re-released, just to keep up with the competition.

Apps/ebooks/websites come from the software world, not the print world. In the print era, the product tended to be fixed for a long time, and be reprinted, until there was a compelling need for a new edition.

For apps, the consumer expects an update and re-release every three months or so. As I prepared to improve my three apps (on San Francisco, Washington DC, and Berkeley, CA), I asked an extremely knowledgeable observer, Kim Grant, what should be my priorities in advancing my apps.

Kim Grant oversees the hundreds of apps developed by Sutro Media.

“Consumers want quantity as well as quality,” she replied. “More could be done to bulk up your apps. And think of how you can differentiate them from your competitors.”

That was a fair assessment. I have perhaps 125 units in each of my apps, but some apps have 250-300 units. It takes a little more time for me than others to make each unit because I have determined to do all the photography myself rather than cull images from crowd-sourced places, such as Creative Commons.

So I will create more units for each app.

However, another aspect of improving my app/ebook/website products also intrigues me. One factor that truly differentiates apps/ebooks/websites from printed books is that the former can display video. So I am finally launching into the new world of creating video to enhance my electronic products.

To accomplish this, I already have a fairly decent video capture device, a Nikon 300s camera, good for shorter video clips of up to 5 minutes. Since everyone tells me that competitive sound capture must be better than the in-camera microphone, I have invested $369 in a Zoom H4N Handy Recorder and its kit paraphernalia.

Although I am a PC guy, I happen to have an unused MacBook Pro that I bought two years ago. I have dusted it off and purchased the latest version of iMovie as my video-creation software.

Assembling the equipment was the easy part. Learning how to operate it to make videos was more challenging. But I am making progress. My first completed travel video is about the Hokulea Polynesian voyaging canoe and five such canoes that sailed from the Cook Islands to San Francisco recently. You can see the video embedded in my Hokulea article on my website at http://www.fostertravel.com/hawaiis-hokulea-canoe-tells-story-of-polynesian-voyage/ . The video is fed in from my YouTube posting of it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezBiaDbST9w . I will gather my videos on my YouTube “channel” at http://www.youtube.com/leefostertravel .

It is likely that my videos will be narrated slide shows featuring video clips and stills. I anticipate a cluster of them embedded in my three apps, in my forthcoming ebooks on California, and in my website offerings.

Bulking up my products with more units and adding the transformative video genre will be one of my paths forward.

--
Lee Foster Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715, Berkeley, CA 94705,(510) 549-2202, lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide


03 Aug, 2011 | Posted by: st




Timeliness is a Virtue

Updating in the Ebook and App Era


By Lee Foster

As I was updating my Yosemite article (http://bit.ly/jwTRWV) for inclusion in my forthcoming ebook Northern California Nature Travel (Spring 2012), I was reminded of how different the updating process is in the new era of ebooks and apps, as opposed to the former era of printed books.

Modern Internet readers are merciless and demanding when it comes to content being up to date. They will scold you, or worse yet, they will ignore you if you fail them.
I am in the process of updating all 200 of my articles and their accompanying photos at www.fostertravel.com because a new website has licensed the use of all of them and because I want to use some of them in my own future ebooks. I save myself from embarrassment by updating each article before it is absorbed by this new client or my new ebooks.

YESTERDAY’S PHOTOS


Can photos actually be out of date? They certainly can.

Beware especially of city skylines in the more architecturally booming places.
I have some strong photos of Orlando, but the skyline has changed. If I make a fool of a photo editor by recommending those out-of-date images, I will lose that client. Clothing is another issue. I remember how a photo editor at Outside Magazine scolded me for presenting some ski photos from Jackson Hole. “Those outfits on the skiers are at least 5 years old,” she lamented. I didn’t divulge to her that I had photographed the skiers while I was wearing the same “classic” or “legacy” outfit I wore in the 1990s. Only some things change, and only to some people.

One benefit of the new digital era is that much of the volatile information can be indicated with a link. Rather than insist that the Veal Parmesan dish is $16.95, as might have been necessary in a former printed travel guide book, I can simply indicate that the price is moderate and refer the reader to the clickable restaurant menu. In this manner, I am saved from hyperinflation destroying the credibility of my article/photos about Brazil or Croatia.

BEWARE OF “CACHED” WEBSITES


Using Google/Yahoo/Bing Search for words and for images makes the process of updating much more efficient, accurate, and less costly than in the old days. But beware of “cached” websites that may be showing you something that no longer exists. In the Internet era, things don’t always actually die. Some get “cached” and live on eternally.

When you make a mistake or have something out of date in an electronic product, it is much easier to resolve the problem than it was in the era of printed books. For example, I misspelled the name of a restaurateur in my app Berkeley Essential Guide. He let me know how he was mightily offended, and he assured me that the world revolved around him. I was able to correct his name in the next update, a month later, not having to wait until perhaps 3,000 books were sold.

--

Lee Foster,
Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705, (510) 549-2202, lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers athttp://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide





29 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st






Choosing the right publisher . . .



The Evolving “Engine”

Running Your App or Ebook




By Lee Foster

Some basic concepts about publishing your content as apps or ebooks are different from publishing in traditional printed books.

Understanding these concepts can be vital for many reasons, including your decision about which publishing partner you choose.

One such concept is that the publishing form will evolve. Not only will your content evolve, which is something you control, but your publishing partner’s “engine” running your content will evolve. Therefore, it is important to choose a partner whose software is on a promising trajectory.

For example, my three travel photo guide apps in the Apple iTunes App store with Sutro Media have just been re-released in an updated form. If you already own the apps, you will get automatic and free updates. The apps are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide.

The new releases have new content, which is my contribution. But the new releases also have a couple of major software advances from Sutro Media, my partners with the “engine” running my app content.

Now, for example, a user can view the app in both a vertical and a horizontal mode on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Think of the pleasure of seeing horizontal photos as horizontal. They are now bigger.

AND MAPS, TOO


A user can also now see offline or online the maps useful in locating photo locations and travel sites. Formerly, the maps were only viewable online. This is a huge matter in Europe, where the user can now see the maps without requiring any connectivity. The maps reside in the software on the device. This greatly reduces any data access costs a user might incur.

Sutro Media is also working hard to develop a “web based” version of their software to run my app. This would make the app accessible beyond the Apple iTunes App Store. This “engine” change could potentially open up further markets for my apps.

Sutro Media appears to be constantly evolving, on the cutting edge of content presentation. They need to be on the cutting edge to survive. I need them to be there to be successful.

Suppose I had chosen another publishing partner whose software looked good at the time of the original publishing decision, but whose software was not evolving further. I might be stuck with a software “engine” that became progressively irrelevant, compared to the competition.

This was not the situation in earlier print book publishing. When the book dimensions and layout were decided on, and the printing occurred, you knew the final results. Those results would last forever. There might be a need or desire to update the “content” as time went forward, but the publishing vehicle itself was fixed and not variable. Successive future printing would be “re-prints.”
This is not so with apps and ebooks. Future “re-prints” hopefully will have new and added functionality in the “engine” running your content, possibly opening up new markets.




--
Lee Foster

Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide


01 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st




Mark Coker, the Master of Ebooks

By Lee Foster

If you have ever dreamed of publishing an ebook, Mark Coker and his Smashwords organization is an entity you will probably want to know about.

A cluster of other authors and I had an opportunity to meet with Mark recently in the Bay Area of California, where he and I live.

Mark is now the largest distributor of independent authors and their books in the world. He owns an ebook conversion and distribution service, Smashwords, which you can see at www.smashwords.com.

He began publishing in 2008, with 140 books. This year, 2011, he will publish an incredible 75,000 books. By books, I mean ebooks. Amazon is now selling more ebooks than print books.

What he offers is a free tool, which he calls the “meatgrinder,” into which you put your text (and photos). When the product is ready, he can distribute it to many of the major ebook vendors, such as the Barnes & Noble Nook reader and the Apple iTunes iBook store.

He has not worked out a deal with Amazon Kindle, the biggest player. So you need to do your ebook with Amazon directly and with Smashwords for all the rest. However, his “meatgrinder” tool develops a file, called a MOBI file, that you can use for the Amazon Kindle effort.

Format your ebook carefully with Smashwords and you have an Amazon Kindle file ready to go!

When thinking of photos and ebooks, there are a few considerations. Keep your design layout simple because readers will choose their own delivery format, such as type size. So, make a photo an element in the layout rather than a fixed placement in a layout with wrap around text. Place each photo between paragraphs as if it were a paragraph in itself.

Accept that one main delivery system, Amazon Kindle for Kindle Readers, is now just black and white. However, Amazon Kindle for the iPad has color. Accept also that your gorgeous photo book may well be read on a smart phone. This is not a desecration, but an opportunity for you.

Mark sees the current era as a time of empowerment for authors.

“I want to unleash the great potential of authors,” he says. “Authors are amazing.”

Tools on his website can be downloaded for free and used even if you never work with him.

The most important is the Smashwords Formatting Style Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52. Format your book very carefully, using the Style Guide, to get the best “meatgrinder” results.

A second tool is the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305.

Study these two documents to bring yourself up to speed on the ebook revolution, which is now full blown.

We are in the midst of a pervasive cultural and technological shift. Ebooks are a manifestation of this paradigm change. Mark Coker is a major player. I will probably do two ebooks with him myself, as we look ahead.



--
Lee Foster

Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-549-2202 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide


04 May, 2011 | Posted by: st



Ebook vs Printbook…

And the winner is. . . .


The Tipping Point For Ebook vs Printbook Sales to Consumers has occurred this year, and it was February 2011.
Not only did ebooks experience triple digit growth over their number of sales from the previous February, but ebooks outsold all other categories of books.
The significant paragraph is, “For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children’s/Young Adult Hardcover, Children’s/Young Adult Paperback).” *

There are also smaller ongoing changes in the ebook scene of particular interest to photographers. Barnes & Noble’s Nook, one of the important ebook reading devices, has come out in color. Apple’s iPad has beautiful color. Amazon’s Kindle, as a device, remains black and white, but the applications for reading Kindle books on the iPad or smart phones do allow color.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The opportunity for photographers to publish
their work in ebooks has never before been so auspicious.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In the recent past the pattern was: produce a printbook of your work, then maybe an ebook. Increasingly, the pattern is becoming: produce an ebook of your work, then maybe a printbook. Possibly the printbook could be a print-on-demand book with an entity such as Lightning Source, which would mean that any bookstore working with the Ingram system could order it. However, quality and inexpensive print-on-demand remains black and white, as of now, but--all these matters evolve.

Some basics to keep in mind are the following: You will want your ebook to be available through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and the Apple iBookstore. There are other players, but they are now relatively minor compared to these three.

The next decision is: will you do all the coding work yourself to prepare your ebook, going through those learning curves, or will you engage a provider, such as Smashwords, to process and present your ebook to these entities? Smashwords calls its conversion tool for all formats “the meatgrinder.” The results are not always pretty. All these nuances are evolving.

The publishing barriers to entry, the gatekeeper world of the past, with a select few publishers and editors determining what would be published, has changed forever. With the rise of ebooks, which have preparation cost but little production cost, the future looks bright for the photographer who wishes to see his or her work published.

In my own case, I will publish two new ebooks on my favorite subject, Northern California travel writing/photography, in 2012. I’ll tell you more about them in future months.

You can watch this progress in my individual content segments at www.fostertravel.com. I’ll explain exactly what my printbook, ebook, website, app, stock photo, and article/photo-placement-in-magazines strategies will be. Maybe you have similar publishing dreams for your favorite subject.
* You can read the press release from the Association of American Publishers, at http://www.publishers.org/press/30/.


--
Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com




Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide



30 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: st




The Incremental Sales

of Your App or Ebook


By Lee Foster

If you dream long enough about creating an app or an ebook of your work, which might be your photography and perhaps its writing accompaniment, chances are you will eventually get the product created.

The good news is that you can now develop such a creative product showcasing your work relatively easily.

Creating your product, however, won’t sell it. In the cyberspace-dominated modern world of marketing, your further attention will be required. Sales of your product will be incremental, and will be directly related to the level of visibility you can achieve for your product on the Internet.


For example, Terry Gardner recently wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times ,“Phone apps for exploring California,” that included a recommendation for my app, San Francisco Travel Photo Guide. That inclusion and recommendation did not happen by accident. I had gotten my information in front of that writer.

A writer named Ginny Prior did a review article about my app, Berkeley Essential Guide, for her Happy Wanderer column for the Bay Area Media Newsgroup, the main newspaper/website in my Berkeley region. Her article is titled, “Visiting Berkeley? There’s an app for that.” This review didn’t happen by accident. I put attention to getting my app in front of the writer.

All writers/reviewers are looking for good subjects to write about, so why not assume that your app/ebook solves their problem?

Every time I send out an email, there is, in my signature, a list of my travel books and travel apps. My Washington DC Travel Photo Guide app, therefore, gets a slight elevation of visibility every time I send out an email.

You will need to determine the answer to two basic questions if you want to sell your app or ebook product. The questions are: Who is your audience? And: Who influences your audience to make a purchase?

You’ll need to constantly wrestle with these questions as part of your ongoing sales efforts. It is not easy to sell anything in the modern world, whether a physical object, such as a book, or a purely intellectual object, such as an app or an ebook. And the number of apps and ebooks competing in your field may surprise you.

Today ,the Internet provides great opportunities to produce and sell your work if you put attention into the process. These opportunity were not possible 20 years ago, when you needed to be published by others (who had the distribution channels locked up), and the main form was a physical book. Now you can publish (and hopefully sell your product yourself. The primary barrier to entry to get published, the cash required) is now relatively low.

But you’ll need to put your full attention to the marketing of your app or ebook, to complete the process successfully.



--
Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide



02 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes





The Ebook

Community


By Lee Foster

The Bay Area of California, where I live, is especially strong as an ebook community. So much is happening here, where Google, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook all have their headquarters.

Wherever you live, however, you can benefit from this synergy.

Much of this ebook community, which is a subset of the independent publishing community, is centered around my friend Joel Friedlander, who publishes each day some item on his blog, The Book Designer, at www.thebookdesigner.com

Wherever you are, you can plug into Joel’s expertise on ebooks for free. You can read all his past postings. You can sign up, for no cost, to receive his daily commentaries.

I meet Joel once a month at our gathering of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, BAIPA. Each morning I glance at and sometimes I read intently his emailed blog post, especially when the subject turns to ebooks.

Click on his website and look to the lower right hand column list, choosing Ebooks & Readers.

Once you begin browsing around, the subjects get quite complicated quickly. For example, you will want to get your ebook into a format called EPUB. How do you do that?

Another typical question: since most print books are laid out in inDesign, how do you convert that to an ebook format? Joel knows a lot about this highly technical subject.

The revolutionary new combination of ebooks and print-on-demand physical book production puts publishing within reach of many people.

There is even a way to get your book available now through an entity known as Lightning Source into any bookstore that would want to buy it, via the big distributor, Ingram. Joel is following all these subjects intently. There are always strengths and limitations in different approaches. For example, print on demand does not yet do color economically.

YOUR BOOK

Lurking in many photographers is the desire to publish a book of their works.

For many, the ebook will be an ideal medium. A color photo book looks great on an Apple iPad. The main ebook reading device, the Kindle, does not show color photos now. But the Kindle for iPad app displays color photos. You will want to sell your ebook through Amazon’s Kindle Store because they are the dominant player in the ballgame.

Whether you end up publishing your photography in an app, an ebook, or in a physical book, don’t underestimate the need for good design. Good design will alert consumers that your product is a professional contender for their attention. That’s why Joel names his blog with the overall concept, The Book Designer. Today a critical aspect of design is getting your book into the right ebook formats and marketing channels.

---------------------------
Lee Foster Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715, Berkeley, CA 94705, 510-549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com, http://www.fostertravel.com


Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide




02 Feb, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes



The Ebook

Revolution




By Lee Foster

Turning our attention from apps to ebooks, there are several revolutions in publishing occurring simultaneously around us. All these revolutions affect the photographer who dreams of collecting his or her work in “books” of various kinds.

A first question is: do you want your “book” to be an ebook, an ebook and a print book, or a print book? Ten years ago this question would not have been asked.

Today, an argument can be made that an ebook may be sufficient. As the number of iPads and various readers/tablets proliferates, to say nothing of smart phones that are used by some as ebook readers, the ebook becomes more desirable.

Your print book will probably never sell outside North America, but your ebook can sell worldwide. The same is true of apps, as I have mentioned earlier. My book The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco sells only in North America. It is a physical object, sold for a modest price, and can’t be shipped economically around the world. My app San Francisco Travel Photo Guide, on the same subject, has sold in 46 foreign countries.

For some, however, holding a physical book in the hand is a critical aspect of the book concept. A physical book has a special tactile solidity than can assist a consumer to feel the project is substantial. For that desire, the rapid advance of quality print-on-demand at an economical price, making one book at a time, is a major revolution.

However, for color-photo books, print-on-demand is generally not yet economical. You still have to print your independent color-photo book in quantity on an offset printing press. I printed 3,000 copies in China of my color-photo/text literary book Travels in an American Imagination at a cost of $2.21 per book. That book is now an ebook in the Apple iTunes App Store.

When thinking of ebooks, you will want to see that your book is available in all the viable formats.

You will want to sell your ebook in the Amazon Kindle Store to be read on Kindle and other devices. One aspect of this is that Kindle devices will only read black and white, not color. However, accept that limitation and flow with it.

Kindle books are not just for the Kindle reading devices. The free Kindle for iPad software, for example, will allow books bought in the Kindle store to be viewed in full color on the iPad. Beyond the world of Amazon, the non-Kindle format called epub will be one further format for you to consider. Google will become a major distributor of ebooks as we look ahead.

There is a lot to study and ponder. One question will be: do you want to handle a lot of the details yourself, or can you get a provider to manage many of the details for you? Some providers to peruse (after Googling them) are Lightning Source, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. These three entities will have answers for many potential photo book publishers.

In the coming months we’ll look more specifically at some of the many issues surrounding ebooks.


--
Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide



29 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes




How much time does it take to make an app?

By Lee Foster

I sometimes get asked by people who might want to develop an app, especially
a photo or travel app, “Just how long does it take you to develop an app?”

The answer is somewhat complicated. A short answer is: if you work with a
developer such as Sutro Media, and have an app with 120 entries, then I
would allow an hour per entry of your time for the initial product, or 120
hours.

Beyond that guiding thought, here are a few of the complexities:

For the photos, since each entry uses at least one photo, you will need
your own photos or some photos you cull from other sources, such as Creative
Commons on Flickr. If your own photos are ready, good. If not, for your
desired subject, it may take a long time to develop the photos. Possibly
you have been photographing your subject for the last 20 years. So your app
may have taken you 120 hours and 20 years to develop.

For the texts, since each entry has some text, you will need to think
through and create your succinct texts. Sometimes a briefer text takes
longer to write. Your writing skills and speed at writing is an unknown
variable.

When you develop an app, you will need to follow it forever. An app is
never done. It can always be improved and strengthened, possibly with more
photos and more write-ups. My San Francisco Travel Photo Guide app began
with 100 entries and 100 photos. Now it has 120 entries and 550 photos, and
will grow. Your customers expect your app to keep getting stronger.

Apps are software and, in the software world, a re-release of the software,
with improvements, is expected. The software engines behind apps keep
developing. For example, the new release of my Washington DC Travel Photo
Guide allows the consumer to email a section he or she likes to a friend. I
needed to do a new release to get this new modality in the app engine
software to kick in.

Working with your app developer, you need to anticipate what the
requirements will be for advancing technology. For example, all the photos
in my latest app Berkeley Essential Guide are 2100 pixels on the long side.
That is necessary because the iPad reader can take a 1084 pixel size photo.
I put the photos in a little larger (at 2,100) just to protect myself from
the possibility that a year from now the developer might say to me, “Lee, we
need all the photos a little larger.” The photos for my San Francisco and
DC apps were originally put in at a size that was fine for the iPhone, but
which proved to be too small for the iPad. This was a big mistake. All the
photos had to be swapped in again with replacements larger in pixel size
after the iPad caught on.

Produce apps only if you want to make a long term commitment. Beyond just
getting your app published, you need to promote it to get sales. This is an
ongoing effort. Sales of apps, like sales of photos generally, don’t happen
by accident. Attention to detail in the marketing of an app is needed for
success.

However, as a start, if you must have a broad-brush guideline, plan for a
120-hour window of your time to create your 120-entry app.



Lee Foster
Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Three new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide


01 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: photosource



Apps -, and that Socratean Question:
Who Am I?


By Lee Foster


My newest app, Berkeley Essential Guide
( http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide ), has just been released in the Apple iTunes App Store.
The release affects me each morning when I wake up and ask again that Socratean question, “Who am I?”

The answer still comes up, as usual, “I am a creator of travel photo/writing content.”
However, the answer comes up as usual only because I have taken a contrarian path in the creation of this Berkeley app and my other apps.

I actually created the app myself, the old fashioned way. I wrote all the original copy for the 120 entries. I shot all the photos, about 550, to illustrate these concepts about favored aspects of my hometown, Berkeley, California.
You are probably asking: What’s the big deal? Doesn’t everybody do their apps this way?

No, they don’t. Almost everybody takes a different tack. Most creators of apps are crowd-sourcing their photos from Creative Commons on Flickr and from the local tourism bureau. If you can crowd-source the photos, maybe you can also crowd-source the writing.

The crowd-sourcers would have to answer that Socratean question with a different reply, perhaps, “I am a clever exploiter of crowd-sourced content, benefitting from others in my commercial products.”

I admit that my characterization of the crowd-sourcer with those words has a somewhat pejorative tone to it. The crowd-sourced-app people are doing something said to be perfectly legal. The message here is: many photographers so wish to “share” that they give away their work free for use in anyone’s commercial product.

The crowd-sourced-app people then go a step further. Joe Jones advertises that he is the author of record of The Widgetville USA App by Joe Jones, even if he uses 100% free, crowd-sourced photos. It is said that no criminal acts have been committed. When Joe Jones deposits his royalties in the bank, it is said that he is simply a modern person following the trend and aware of the opportunities. It is said that this is the American way.

But I hope that all my slow and painstaking work, creating an app that is actually my own work, with all my own writing and photography in it, will triumph in the end. My hope is that the user will recognize the quality and consistency of the photos.

At least when an editor looks at a Lee Foster app on San Francisco, Washington DC, or Berkeley, and sees writing or photography content that he or she might want to license, the editor won’t have to ask, “Is Lee Foster actually the author?”

Lee Foster
Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Three new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide




03 Nov, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes



The New World of

Independent Publishing


By Lee Foster

Here is a prediction: The new technology of apps and ebooks will stimulate a new wave of “independent” publishing of printed books by photographers and writers.

How are the two(apps/ebook and independently produced printed books) connected?

Well, consider the posture regarding ebooks taken by traditional print book publishers, such as Countryman Press, which published my The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco and The Photographer’s Guide to Washington DC.

They printed the books and pay me a royalty when a book sells. But the publisher also has the right to produce the page-turning ebook. Are they developing the ebook? No. They don’t want to. They feel an ebook will compete with their print book and not be worth the investment.

Authors are able to do apps of their subjects because apps are considered an entirely different kind of product, unlike a book or an ebook. This understanding has been established. Like many other authors, I have re-presented my content in the apps San Francisco Travel Photo Guide and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide in the Apple iTunes App Store.

But I and other authors would also like to have page-turning ebooks available of our printed books.

Photographers/authors need every possible outlet for their subject, meaning a printed book, an ebook, an app, a website, and a blog. Some traditional print book publishers are restricting authors. Traditional publishers are generally nervous about ebooks and author websites.

A separate technology advance--the improving quality of print-on-demand books--will also have a profound effect on this question. A photographer/author can now produce a quality print-on-demand book for 1.3 cents a page plus .90 for the color cover. Today, the printed book still needs to be black-and-white, but the electronic ebook product and the app can have lavish color.

Lightning Source is the entity with whom I will probably do my next two books, which will be about California and will be print-on-demand. I already have done one independent book, a travel literary book with color photos, Travels in an American Imagination, in 2005. My experience on that was good, and the sales were probably higher than I would have received from a traditional publisher relationship. That book is now out as an ebook-style app in the App Store.

But it gets better.
Lightning Source has a deal with Ingram (a top book distributor) to distribute books to bookstores. If you can create demand in the bookstore world for your book, Lightning Source can supply it through Ingram. These new possibilities in book distribution will encourage independent publishing.

2010 will go down in history as The Year of the App. 2011-2012 will, I predict, become The Years of Independent Publishing. -LF



--
Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide



06 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes




Competing With Free

By Lee Foster

Can you compete with Free?

That’s a modern challenge for the For-Profit photographer. The challenge has expressed itself in the editorial world, where free photos have reduced the prices and opportunities for the For-Profit photographer.

Free photos are part of the pervasive wikipedification of our photographic lives.

The concept of Free has permeated the world of apps also.


I have just downloaded a Free app titled Fotopedia Heritage, which has photos and writing on 890 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The app purports to be “an endless visual journey.” Thousands of photographers and hundreds of curators from the “community” have provided more than 20,000 photos illustrating 3,000 points of interest on these sites.

If a photographer had vision and huge energy perhaps 25 years ago, a proposal could have been made to a publisher -- to fund going out and photographing these sites and producing a coffee table book.

If you have that desire today, with a goal to produce a book or app on these sites, it is best to suppress the impulse. There is a meager market when people compete with you by giving away their product for Free.

This truth is worth considering for anyone producing photo apps (or any other photo product) of any kind.

In my own world of travel and photo apps, I am fortunate that the Visitors Bureau of San Francisco has chosen NOT to produce a free app competing with my San Francisco Travel Photo Guide.

Similarly, I am fortunate in Washington DC that the Visitors Bureau there has DECLINED to produce a free app competing with my Washington DC Travel Photo Guide.

Of course, quality matters and content creators like myself pride ourselves on the uniqueness of our products. But Free is definitely a consideration from the consumer’s perspective.

What motivates people to give away their content for Free?


Sometimes virtue and altruism are involved. It is virtuous to contribute for free to a UNESCO world guide. One can educate humanity about these wondrous sites. Sometimes vanity is an incentive. When getting published is such a status symbol, who needs money?

Sometimes promotional pressures are uppermost. The company selling widgets wants to see photos of its widgets in every possible medium, so it gives photos of them away Free.

Technology opportunities allowing people to give away content for Free continue to develop, such as the Creative Commons photo licenses on Flickr, which allow anyone to use photos for Free, even in commercial products such as apps.

If you have any ambition to develop a photo app on any subject, it is wise to look around in the app store and see what’s available for Free. Each category of app in the Apple iTunes App Store has both Paid App and Free App listings for the 200 top apps downloaded in that category.


http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide







01 Sep, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes



Can a Single App Make

It All Worthwhile?



Sometimes when a new technology hits, one use of it alone can make the whole development worthwhile.

Could this be true for apps? It is for me.

The new technology of apps has made my life more creative, more productive, and more enjoyable in many ways, but this one application would have been enough. I refer to one of my frequent tasks.

As a travel photo journalist, one of my ongoing challenges is getting model releases. The release is important. It makes my photos more salable, and at higher prices. Releases are critical for potential commercial sales of photos.

Managing paper releases in the past has been tedious. Sometimes I would look at a paper release and try to remember, exactly who was that person? Attaching the release to the photo was cumbersome. I would have to scan the paper release and email in the scan to an agency or photo buyer.

That has all changed for me
with an app called Easy Release ($9.99). My agencies love it, and so do I. To use Easy Release, you need the appropriate mobile electronic device. I downloaded it for my iPhone in the Apple App Store. However, the software manufacturer now has it also for Android mobile devices. See their site at http://www.applicationgap.com/.
This is a good example of an app software now available for a larger spectrum of devices.

Here"s how it works
. The release form appears right on my iPhone (or iPod, iPad). I fill in the blanks. The resulting form gets exported as a Pdf (Adobe’s ubiquitous portable document format) and as a jpg.

The release has prompts for data fields for all the expected info, such as Name of Model, Name of Shoot, Shoot Location, Shoot Date, Date of Birth (which kicks in the Minor prompt for parents to sign), Address, Phone, and Email. Some fields in the form are optional but may be handy, such as Gender and Ethnicity. There is a release for Models and for Property.

The language of the release is acceptable to the agencies with whom I work. The language can be customized if you prefer to change it. The release comes in 13 languages, useful if you want to get a Russian or Chinese subject, for example, to sign a release.

However, there are three special and nifty aspects of the release.

First, I get a prompt to use the iPhone itself to take a photo of the model, which becomes part of the pdf.
Second, the model physically signs his or her name on the iPhone with a finger as a pen, authenticating the release.
And third, at the end I am prompted to email the release to whomever I want, which might be myself, the model, and my agency. This is handy. The pdf/jpg emailed to me can also later be sent to any photo buyer or agent. I now have a folder for all my digital model releases created with the iPhone.

The pdf result of the release can be printed out to look clean and professional.

It takes a while to get comfortable with the small touch keyboard on the iPhone, but one can eventually develop a facility for it. If one older and pejorative metaphor has totally lost its punch in the modern world, it is, He is all thumbs.

For Model Releases alone, the apps technology and the iPhone would be worth it to me.

- - - - - - - - - - -


Lee Foster
Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com



Lee Foster has three apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. Search “Lee Foster” and up come the three in the iPhone Apps list below Movies, Albums, and Songs. Two are travel photo guides with a lot of functionality. They are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99). Lee’s third app is a travel literary book with photos, an ebook-style app titled Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time (IndiaNIC, $2.99)


04 Aug, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes





What is Available in Apps....?


for the Photographer?

By Lee Foster

To see what is available to the photographer in apps, start by setting up an iTunes Account (at no charge) and browse around the Apple ITunes App Store. Start at Apple.com if you do not have an iTunes account. Click on the Store. You will need to have a credit card for payment and a billing address to set up your account. You will not need to buy anything.


DON'T BUY, -JUST LOOK, at first


Then begin browsing around the App Store, thinking of your area of interest, Photography... Browse, but don’t buy, unless you have an iPod, iPhone, or iPad on which to view the app content. However, browsing can be informative.

To browse, once you get into iTunes, click on the App Store. Then, on the right side of the App Store choice, you’ll see a dropdown menu. Choose Photography. (Ignore, for the moment, that some apps possibly of interest to you might be in a different category. For example, my travel photo guide apps are listed in Travel rather than in Photography.) Make Photography your first stop.

As you look at the iPhone Photography Apps page, what will jump out is the listing All Photography iPhone Apps. As I write this, there are 2,594 photography apps in the App Store. The creators of these products decided that what they fashioned was best categorized under Photography. Creators can put their app in only one category. As you consider all these apps, it may seem daunting to think that you will have to wade through all the 2,593 apps to find what you might want.

The Photography Apps page makes some recommendations on photography apps to help you choose. A New & Noteworthy list suggests 20 new photography apps that might be of interest. There’s also a What’s Hot list of 120 photography apps that Apple staff deems of greatest interest. And, on the right side of the page, you can see the 200 Top Paid Photo Apps and the 200 Top Free Photo Apps.

When a lot of people voluntarily buy a photo app, there must be something to recommend it.

The current best seller is the app iMovie ($4.99), which allows you to edit movies shot with the iPhone4. When browsing apps, be sure to click on “More” on the right side of the description page to see the full, informative text about the app. You’ll also see a few screenshots from the app.

STRETCH YOUR CREATIVE HORIZONS


Another top seller is Color Splash ($1.99), which turns your photos into black-and-white but allows you to save color in a selected portion, dramatically drawing attention to this effect. It’s an interesting photo manipulation possibility. You’ll find many photo apps of this kind, stretching your creative horizons if you like to alter photos.

Browse long enough and you are likely to get hooked, determining that you will want to get an iPod, iPhone, or iPad to display apps. (Or maybe you'd like to produce an app yourself.) Next month I’ll talk about just one app, which I purchased and use often. This app can make almost every photographer’s life easier, happier, and more productive. I’ll leave you wondering until next month what that app might be.

--



Lee Foster has three apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. Search “Lee Foster” and up come the three in the iPhone Apps list below Movies, Albums, and Songs. Two are travel photo guides with a lot of functionality. They are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99). Lee’s third app is a travel literary book with photos, an ebook-style app titled Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time (IndiaNIC, $2.99)





http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide



30 Jun, 2010 | Posted by: st



Lee Foster’s Photo Travel App

Racks Up 957 Sales/Month




Can a photographer who develops
and sells apps actually make a dollar or two?


The short answer is yes, based on my own experience. But the path is not simple or smooth.

One of my photo travel apps just sold 957 units in a 30-day period, 5-21-10 to 6-21-10.
I earned $574.20 in royalties from this.

That best-selling app is San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) in the Apple iTunes App Store.

My royalty is 30% of list price, or 60 cents per $1.99 app sale. Do the math and 60 cents for 957 sales brings a royalty profit of $574.20.

My app ranked between #40 and #50 among all paid travel apps for a two-week period. I was competing with more than 11,000 paid travel apps now on sale in the App Store. I discuss this in more detail at http://bit.ly/cD3vc6

Why have I become successful? Partly, I am practicing patiently what Rohn Engh keeps stressing week after week in this newsletter. You have to build your “brand.” You have to develop a product and give consistent service to your customers. Each of us has our favorite subject area in photography. Mine happens to be travel. I give service in this area to my viewers day after day, year after year, at my website: http://www.fostertravel.com

Partly, I have also been fortunate. Someone at Apple liked my San Francisco app. Apple declared my app a Staff Favorite and put it for awhile on the front page of the Apple iTunes App Store. We live in a new world of marketing where such viral recommendations can create market opportunities.

The new world of app publishing creates new truly limitless opportunities for all of us to share and market our photography. For example, my San Francisco app has been purchased in 42 foreign countries. In contrast, my parallel travel photo book on San Francisco will never sell a copy outside North America.

Rohn has asked me to develop an app column for you, which is now appearing the first Thursday of each month. You can see earlier columns, starting in May, at http://photostocknotes.com/psn/index.php?catid=67&blogid=1 If you have questions, and I know you have a dozen, leave a comment and I will answer it there or in future monthly columns.

--

Lee Foster is an awarding-winning travel photographer and
writer, winner of eight Lowell Thomas Awards. Lee publishes 200 worldwide travel photo/writing coverages to consumers and to content buyers on his Foster Travel Publishing website at http://www.fostertravel.com
There you can see his photos, writing, books, and apps. His photo-selling site is at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com



02 Jun, 2010 | Posted by: photosource





Apps Can Enhance Your Marketing Strategy


By Lee Foster



Apps may become an important part of your future. However, as you may well know, the subject of apps can be confusing and frustrating. You might have experienced some of that frustration if you read my first column on the subject.*
But let’s look ahead to see how apps can display your photos to audiences and enable you to view the photos of other photographers.
Here are some of the basic issues to keep in mind:

Apps work only on mobile devices, not on your computer. They are designed for the mobile device world. If you download to your computer, you will need to sync up your mobile device to the computer to load them and play them on the mobile device.
Apple iTunes App Store apps work only on the Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad. They don’t work on other types of phones, such as Google Android and Blackberry phones. This is frustrating to a consumer, who will, naturally, want a program to work on all devices.
Why can’t the apps work on all devices? Good question. Each of the main developer systems has its own software standards and its own range of apps. Unfortunately they are not compatible with each other.
Apple is currently the main player in consumer apps for photography, travel, and other subjects.

My suggestion, don’t buy any apps (even at $1.99) unless you have the compatible mobile device to play it on.


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APPS have gained popularity and attention in the computing world.
Here are answers to some basic questions you might have:



WHAT DOES APP STAND FOR? It stands for “application.”

WHAT IS AN APP? Apps are designed to expand the functionality of a mobile device. Apps can be things like games, joke programs, ebooks, weather reports, personal planners, and a wide variety of other types of helpful information. They are available in “App Stores.”

WHAT’S AN APP STORE? An app store is an online store where people can purchase applications for mobile devices.

WHAT IS A MOBILE DEVICE?
A mobile device is sometimes called a “handheld device.” It’s an electronic device small enough to be easily carried around, that can be used for a variety of computing functions. Mobile devices enable people to take advantage of computing power without being shackled to a specific time or place. These devices are quite pervasive nowadays. Commonly used mobile devices include cell phones, pdas, and multi-media players. Their uses are varied. Tip: At most department stores (like Wal-mart) the attendant in the electronics section will gladly show you what’s currently popular.

WHERE DO YOU GET OR BUY APPS.?
At an App Store. The original app store was the App Store run by the Apple Company to provide applications for its mobile devices called the iPhone® and iPod Touch®. Other companies picked up the concept so that they could create and sell applications to their users as well. Applications in an app store can vary in cost, from free downloads to pricey ones, depending on who developed the application and its purpose. Most paid downloads are relatively low-priced.

HOW DO YOU ACCESS AN APP?
Users can typically access an app store from their mobile device, with some manufacturers providing a hot key which users can use to go straight to the store. Once there, users can search for an application by name, or browse by type. Often, many competing applications serve more or less the same function, with users choosing by price, design, reputation, or style.

Want to read more?
http://www.photosource.com/psn-article/enhance.html



Lee Foster is an awarding-winning travel photographer and writer, winner of eight Lowell Thomas Awards. Lee publishes 200 worldwide travel photo/writing coverages to consumers and to content buyers on his Foster Travel Publishing website at http://www.fostertravel.com/ Thereyou can see his photos, writing, books, and apps. His photo selling site is at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com



05 May, 2010 | Posted by: photosource






Apps and Your

Photographic Dreams



By Lee Foster


Occasionally a new technology emerges that can have a dramatic effect on the way we realize our dreams. That's happening today,with the new technology of apps.

Chances are you have dreams of publishing your photography.

You also enjoy seeing the photography of others. I share those dreams.

Rohn Engh helps you achieve your dream with his publication, of PhotoStockNOTES. Rohn is aware of the new technology and has asked me to pen a new column for you, called Apps, Ebooks, and Your Photography, to appear on the first Thursday of each month.

Like you, I have dreamed of publishing my photography in printed books. I have had success with this.

My most recent books are The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them http://bit.ly/sanfranbook

I also published a parallel volume, The Photographer’s Guide to Washington,D.C http://bit.ly/washdcbook

But are there possibilities now for publishing our photos in an entirely different way, beyond books? Yes, there are. It's the technology of apps and Ebooks. You can create an app and sell it in the Apple iTunes App Store. Apps are different from books, and we'll explore those differences.

My first two apps are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide
http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide and D.C. Travel Photo Guide
http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide

You can get a free account in the Apple iTunes App Store and browse around, seeing all the photography and travel apps available now for the i Phone. Eventually, different versions of apps will be readable on all mobile devices. If you have a cell phone, there are apps in your future.
A lot of questions are likely to emerge in your mind. We'll consider them as this column unfolds. This is a big subject, and we can't get it all said in a short space.

What is an apps? What if I don't have an iPhone or iPod? Can I make an apps myself or do I need a publisher? What special functionality in app software makes apps unlike regular books? How will things change as Google and its Android phone system for viewing apps becomes a bigger player?

So, let's begin our ongoing conversation on this exciting subject. I guarantee you one thing: The new technology of apps and Ebooks will dramatically change in positive ways your opportunity to publish your photography and enjoy the photography of others.
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Lee Foster is an awarding-winning travel photographer and
writer, winner of eight Lowell Thomas Awards. Lee publishes 200 worldwide travel photo/writing coverages to consumers and to content buyers on his Foster Travel Publishing website at http://www.fostertravel.com
There you can see his photos, writing, books, and apps. His photo selling site is at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com