In Passing – Re-emerging Roadside Remembrances

California State Route 241, Rancho Santa Margarita (Roadside Remembrance) copyright 2009 Douglas Stockdale

I have been continuing to work on the thorny problem of 1) selling my self-published books, 2) the high cost of the Blurb published books if I publish something really nice with them, and the 3) potentially limited distribution channels because of item #2.  Sheeese, what’s a guy gonna do, eh?

So in the middle of this, I did get into a email discussion with Melanie McWhorter at photo-eye book store (Santa Fe) during a segway with another issue I was researching. So we traded a bunch of stuff about this whole cost/price issue with self-published POD books.  I was trying to get my arms around all of these issues, but hopefully find something that might work to all of our benefits.

Meanwhile I have been reading some earlier photo-eye magazine articles about publishing a book that Amanda Keller-Konya had reminded me of. And I think that I found some clues for what I might be able to do with my self-publishing issues.

First, individuals are not compelled to buy a book immediately if it seems that the book will be available forever, as they can plan to buy the book “later”. So the first thing that I need to do for my hardcover In Passing on Blurb is announce a cut-off of when the book will no longer be available, much like the traditional publishers do with their editions. What I am puzzling over is what is that cut-off number, but at the moment, I am thinking that I will take the hardcover out of circulation when I sell 100 of them.

Second is the option of selling a Limited Edition of the book with a Limited Edition print. Per the photo-eye articles, one nice option is to offer a unique print that is part of the project, but NOT in the book. Hmmmm, I was not sure that I had such a photograph, since I had really edited the book down to the core images.  So I thought that I could  photograph another roadside memorial or re-photograph the place where a memorial once was, but now is gone. I noticed that one of the local roadside memorials had been removed, but there now appeared to be something smaller lurking on the same site.

I am back working on my Roadside Remembrance Memorials again. I headed back onto the CA-241 tollroad on a somewhat cloudy day. And sure enough, there were now traces of a very small memorial now re-emerging where the larger memorial had been. In a way, not a real surprise.  What I have learned a while back is that some individuals are very persistent when it comes to caring for and maintaining a roadside memorial.

But one of my worst fears occurred while photographing this memorials as it is on the side of a busy state tollroad. Nope not an accident, but the Highway Patrol. Stopping on a tollroad that happens to be a CA State Route is not necessarily legal when it comes to taking photographs. Sorry, but I can not lie about my car breaking down. Especially when I have my camera up on a tripod, as that would be really, really foolish. BUT what I did quickly find out in the ensuing discussion was this officer was the second person at the scene of this accident and knew what happened. Turns out he was a good guy, and essentially gave me more information on what happened here as well as where there were a few more of these memorials in the area. cool.

Bottom line, the driver of an on-coming car feel asleep, drove over the medium directly into the car of the woman who was approaching from the other direction killing her instantly. She was a grandmother who was unknowningly driving around the bend of the tollroad into an instant disaster. very sad.

The officer also pointed out another roadside memorial I should look for further down the road. Cool.

While composing this photograph I had not initially noticed the unique cloud formation. When changing the composition to include a broader urban landscape I realized that if I adjusted my camera position I could compose the image with this cloud appearing to radiate from the bush. This was just above where the new sea shells were laying on the ground and what sorta got me into trouble, in as I had to walk out into the tollroad just a weee bit too much. sigh

So now I have this wonderful additional photograph for the Limited Edition book.  And in retrospect, this final composition (and final exposure before I got busted) provided a similar visual and emotional effect as the image that is on my book cover. very nice.

As to the Limited Edition book/print, I am considering just 10 each along with an artist proof or two. When I discussed this with Melanie, I found that photo-eye is also very excited about both the book and especially my Limited Edition idea, as she immediately sent me their book selling agreement. We have not finalized the price yet for the Limited Edition, but I need to work back from what my expenses are and the percentage commission that goes to photo-eye. But they do not want to commit yet for the entire Edition, so I will also be selling a few of these myself.  So please let me know if you are interested.

Now I have to figure out an elegant way to package this Limited Edition book + print, but also keep it affordable, so probably no clam shell or anything really fancy.

I also decided on the presentation of the Limited Edition book versus the trade/Blurb. I have a choice of two different hard covers, the regular hardcover with dust jacket, which provides a very glossy and nice cover photograph or the ImageWrap, which is somewhere between a matte and luster cover. And to keep the trade/Blurb book with the 100 paper or go the 80, and use the 100 only for the Limited Edition. I am thinking the more expensive and nicer 100 lb paper for the Limited Edition.

If I can decrease my costs for the trade/Blurb, I can also make it more affordable and lower the price. So I will take a couple of days to muttle that over. Meanwhile, if you want to purchase the trade/Blurb book with the ImageWrap cover and 100 paper, you now have a chance to do that before I make the changes.  Sort of a heads up for my fans, eh??

Best regards,


BTW, no ticket, but some stern advice.

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