Excel and PowerPoint

My secret life as an author
Nikon N8008, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 AF Nikkor
Kodak Tri-X 400
2017

I used to edit and, sometimes, write books about popular software applications.

I started doing this in 1994. It was the job that brought me to Indianapolis from Terre Haute, at a time when the “For Dummies” franchise was red hot. That job turned out to be a sweatshop grind, and I left it after just eighteen months. Shortly I made connections with a competing publisher and edited on the side for several more years.

The two pictured books have my work in them. The PowerPoint book was originally written by the two other authors listed on the spine. But PowerPoint marches on, and new features are added. The publisher paid me nicely to update the entire book for what was then PowerPoint’s latest version. You don’t see my name on the Excel book’s spine because I was a ghost author, contributing to about half of the chapters.

My favorite work was technical editing, which made sure the books were accurate. Nobody wants to spend $30 on an instructional book only to have it steer them wrong! The publisher paid me by the page, and I was fast, so my effective hourly rate was high.

I gave up the work near the end of my first marriage, as I wanted my nights and weekends back. My first wife and I paid down a lot of debt from editing money. I wouldn’t mind picking up a little side editing now, for the same reason.

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Film Photography, Stories Told

single frame: My secret life as an author

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Photography

A gentle plug for my two books as Christmas nears

Books of my photography make great gifts for yourself, or for the photographer in your life!

My newest book, Textures of Ireland, collects black-and-white photographs I made on a 2016 trip to the emerald isle. If you like travel photography, or rich black-and-whites, you’ll enjoy this book.

From the book’s introduction: “We rented a car and drove to Ireland’s northern tip. Over several days we slowly made our way back to Galway, passing through Portrush, Letterkenny, Donegal, Ardara, Killybegs, Sligo, Ballinrobe, Clifden, and Oughterard. The beach town of Barna, a short distance from Galway City, was our home base for the next several days.

“I chose T-Max for its low grain and well-managed contrast, in its ISO 400 form so I could confidently make photographs in a wide range of available light. I had no idea it would yield photographs so rich in detail you want to touch them, and when you do you’re surprised that your fingers can’t feel the textures.”

Textures of Ireland, 36 pages, $14.99 plus shipping. Printed on demand at Blurb.com.

My first book, Exceptional Ordinary, is a collection of images I’ve made with my favorite film camera, the Pentax ME.

From the book’s introduction: “You can realistically expect any working 35mm SLR to perform well. With rare exception, they come with good features and optics. … Get even a basic body in working condition and even an entry-level prime lens like a 50mm f/2 and you can make wonderful photographs for years.

“I didn’t know any of that when I went looking for my first SLR. I simply wanted a Pentax K1000, as it was the SLR I knew best. I was once married to a pro photographer who did wonderful work with hers. … But even 20 years after the venerated K1000 went out of production, prices on the used market were more than I was willing to pay. But I kept coming upon another Pentax SLR, the ME, and they sold for peanuts. And it took all of the same lenses as the K1000. So I bought one. And I fell in love with it.”

Exceptional Ordinary, 44 pages, $14.99 plus shipping. Printed on demand at Blurb.com.

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Film Photography

Photos from my new book, Textures of Ireland

Here are a few photos from my new book, Textures of Ireland, to show you the incredible scenes I captured on black-and-white film. Don’t these images look almost three dimensional? I shot Kodak T-Max 400 film, by the way, in my Nikon N2000 through my 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor lens for all of these photos.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, scroll to the bottom for links.

Portrush

Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Sligo Abbey

Sligo Abbey, Sligo Town.

At Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, County Galway.

St. Stephen's Green

Caretaker’s house at St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

TexturesOfIrelandIcon Textures of Ireland Book

A copy of my book, Textures of Ireland, printed on demand and mailed to you from Blurb.com.

$14.99 plus shipping

Buy-Now-button

 

Textures of Ireland PDF

A copy of my book, Textures of Ireland, as a PDF — which I will email within 24 hours to the address you provide.

$4.99

 

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Film Photography

My new book: Textures of Ireland

Ireland is a country of color — especially green, in astonishing shades across its rolling countryside.

texturesofirelandcover1.pngYet I shot black-and-white film all over that country, looking for light and shadow. What I got was a set of images with such texture that you want to touch them. When you do, you’ll be surprised not to feel the textures in your fingertips, as if they were pressed into the pages in relief.

My new book, Textures of Ireland, shares the best of my black-and-white photographs. You’ll see scenes from Northern Ireland in the region where the show Game of Thrones is filmed, country scenes from Ireland’s rich northern and eastern counties, as well as ruins and modern architecture from cities and towns.

I’m offering my book in two ways: a traditional paper book printed on demand at Blurb.com, or as a PDF. The PDF is the fastest and least expensive way to see my book — but the textures come out best by far in print. I hope you’ll buy a copy today!

Textures of Ireland by Jim Grey, 36 pages, published via Blurb.com.

TexturesOfIrelandIcon Textures of Ireland Book

A copy of my book, Textures of Ireland, printed on demand and mailed to you from Blurb.com.

$14.99 plus shipping

Buy-Now-button

Textures of Ireland PDF

A copy of my book, Textures of Ireland, as a PDF — which I will email within 24 hours to the address you provide.

$4.99

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Film Photography

Fortunately, my first book remains available

I had so hoped to have self-published my second book by now. I have a couple ideas percolating in the back of my head. I’ve even written content for one of them, which I’ve shared here in several posts.

But life has been unexpectedly challenging and I haven’t been able to make these projects a priority. Maybe in 2018.

Fortunately, my first book remains available.

For those of you new to this blog, in April I self-published a book of photographs I’ve taken with my Pentax ME SLR. I bought it on eBay for a mere $16, showing that even the humblest SLR can produce great images.

Click here to see a preview. Click my book’s cover below to buy one on Blurb.com — a paper copy you can hold in your hands for $14.99, or a PDF for $7.99. If you like the photographs I share here every day, I think you’ll enjoy my book.

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Photography

More lessons learned in self-publishing

My book, Exceptional Ordinary, has been on sale for a couple months now. And it’s just not selling.

BookPromoI’ve managed to sell nine paper copies and two PDFs. Which isn’t bad, considering that I’ve barely marketed the book.

I’ve pitched it here four or five times. I mentioned it a couple times on Twitter. I shared images from it, plus a link to buy it, on Instagram a handful of times.

That was my entire marketing push. Holy wow, does this stuff ever take time. And that’s the lesson learned: marketing takes creativity, effort, and persistence.

It probably also hurts that I chose such a niche topic with no obvious market beyond people who already know and like my work, and perhaps other film photographers and Pentaxians.

It certainly also hurt that I gave away the PDF for two days after announcing the book. But I knew that would hurt. About 50 of you took me up on it. And I figured this book wouldn’t sell well as a result of it.

It doesn’t matter to me. I actually achieved my goals with this book: to experience the self-publishing process. Win!

I have ideas for a future books. I’d like to re-survey the Michigan Road in 2018, which will be ten years after I did it last time, and publish a book of interesting photos from the tour. The market there is people interested in Indiana history, and people who live or have lived on or near the road. I’d also like to do a book about the many farms that lie inside the city of Indianapolis. It’s surprising to many just how many farms have an Indianapolis address! That market could include people who live in Indiana, and people who have an affinity to farms, and people who enjoy landscape photography. And maybe there’s a book in photographs of the repurposed stores of the defunct Roselyn Bakeries of Indianapolis. Their buildings and signs were distinctive; the dozens of them that remain are easy to recognize. Some of them went on to good, noble uses; others not so much. It’s a study in urban architectural reuse, and people interested in that might buy such a book.

So my refinement for my next book is to have an addressable market in mind, and a plan for addressing it, before I publish.

Thanks to on-demand printing, it’s never too late to buy my book. It’s reasonably priced at $15.99 for the paper copy or $8.49 for the PDF. I’d love for you to hold a copy of my work in your hands. You can do that by clicking the cover below.

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