SoFoBoMo 2009: Final thoughts

A Boy and his Dog

So long to Solo Photo Book Month 2009… or aufwiedersehen shall I say rather?  Now I can enjoy perusing the books the others made over the next few months. Some wrap up thoughts:

  • I don’t think doing the PDF is enough. There are some good lessons to be learned in getting the thing published and since the focus is a book, I recommend seeing it all the way through. There is real satisfaction in holding the thing in your hands and sharing with others.
  • Blurb seems to be the current Internet fave for self-published photo books. Their new PDF to Book process is pretty nifty, and came along just at the right time for me (I tried, but was not a fan of their Booksmart software). The photo quality of my Blurb book is still well below what I would call excellent (ink jet print), but it’s good enough to make a nice looking book.
  • This was my second year doing this, and I had a bit more trouble latching on to a theme that would fit in the time allotted. I started one project, floundered, sat on it for a couple weeks, then restarted with a new idea. In the end I followed the old sage advice to shoot something you are interested in.  I was interested in raising some free-range laying hens, and it dovetailed nicely with the book project.
  • I’m struck again by how the project parameters: one fuzzy month, 35 pictures, a PDF, combine to make a really attainable, flexible and worthwhile exercise. It makes you cut to the essence and learn the nuts and bolts of making a photo book. And it was good to have the lesson reinforced this year, and to learn some new things (like making a book using a markup language is a really good idea).
  • Although personally I enjoyed the project as much as last year, the size of the group participating made the “communal” aspect diminish considerably.  I suppose that is to be expected. It would be kind of fun to have a variation on it where we would collaboratively make a book in small groups, or something else to foster a little more sharing.

4 thoughts on “SoFoBoMo 2009: Final thoughts

  1. I agree that it became harder and harder to get a sense of community as the project went along. Perhaps the whole thing needs tweeking, perhaps a forum for newbies and one for those who have completed the process and another for those who are ready to retry with hopes of finishing. Each group has its own dynamic and its own level of collective consciousness in terms of the project. Perhaps there could be a few mentors to work with newbies as well as to serve as a support base for those who have tried but have not yet succeeded due to one thing or another. Just thoughts.

  2. Robert,

    I’ve seen some other suggestions for a forum. It does seem like it would add something. There was something special about last year’s experience and maybe it was a combination of first time and a small number of active bloggers. Not sure how that could be replicated again.

  3. I would have to agree that the small community that we had last year is probably gone forever. Things change. This year it was very difficult to get an appreciation for what was submitted due to the huge volume of entries. I still look at a few now and again. Also, though it isn’t true, it seemed like I knew everyone who submitted a book, or at least I had visited their blog and they had visited mine. I can’t imagine that the number of people participating would get smaller.

    I do think that perhaps some people would drop off in a kind of a ‘Been there! Done that!’ way. Once you’ve done it, you know that you can, and it is no big deal, save to come up with a new topic/theme. I saw a number of books that had only an introduction and 35 photos.

    BTW, I really enjoyed your book. It was interesting look into something that, on the outside, seemed so simple … but it really wasn’t. How are those chickens doing now?

    • Paul,

      Glad you enjoyed the book. I wasn’t sure what kind of reception it would get, but so far its been pretty positive.

      The chickens are doing great. Our dog is very good around them, and we let them out to run around the yard unsupervised with her. They are getting to be pretty good sized and I really need to think about clipping wings because they can and do fly halfway across the yard now (albeit pretty low). Looking forward to some free range eggs this winter, barring any catastrophe!

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