The book and zine making thread

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#1
I've started this thread following Harlequin's mention of making a zine as a discussion place for anyone who makes or wants to make books zines of their own. It seems to me that having a publication in the back of my mind, even if it's only for myself, helps keep me focussed on projects. in any case, you can't beat a hard copy of a photo!

I started out making books using Blurb, which is great but expensive for one or two copies. Good for ease of design using their software and the hardback books make nice keepsakes and album type books. I've given a few away of these as thank-yous and the one I did of the tackle dealer/gunsmith's relocation got paid for at cost. My first Blurb books were softbacks, but I prefer the hardbacks as it's easier to get some text on the spine of even low page count editions. If you keep looking Blurb do offer decent discounts every so often which softens the blow.

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I can't remember who it was on TP who mentioned using Doxdirect to print PDF camera manuals but it rang a bell in my brain. I could make PDFs and upload them and get A5 booklets printed for less than a book with Blurb. I knocked a simple one up of pictures of shrimping tractors to see what the quality was like and it was on a par with Blurb. Since then I appear to have made another dozen!

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I've tried a few ways of doing it now and the way I've settled on for the time being is to make the PDFs from full page jpegs – apart from the cover, which I've put together in OpenOffice or Scribus. I then upload the PDF to Doxdirect and the zines arrive a few days later. I'll be giving Mixam a try next as their prices are more affordable for this kind of vanity publishing and would provide a better mark up for any commercial venture. Their format choices are wider too. :)

Making the full page jpegs in Lightroom is easy once you've got a basic page design set up. After putting the files together in a collection so they can be sequenced go to the Print module and set the page size and orientation. Then arrange the picture layout.

Picture captions/titles can be added either individually in the Custom Text box if you export each page separately, or added to the metadata as title or caption. I've only done this once and I used the embedded date as the caption. To arrange the text it helps to add a border to the image in the same colour as the page background to provide space between text and image.



When satisfied with the layouts just Print to File and the sequence of pages will be exported in numbered order. I've used this process to output files to use in Blurb's software too – the LR book making module didn't suit me. Probably a case of what you get accustomed to.

Both OpenOffice and Scribus are a bit clunky to use (any suggestions for something easier to use – that's either free or cheap – would be welcome) but once you have a template sorted and work out how to add and size image files they're not too troublesome. This is where making the pages in LR helps – just slot the whole page in without need to arrange image cells. Not as easy to use as Blurb's book making software for fancy layouts unfortunately, but they are free and can be used to make simple cover designs. This is Scribus.



I know a lot of people recommend sequencing pictures using prints. I've tried that but I find I can do it well enough on-screen - first in LR then in the DTP software which shows the spreads as above. A final check through the PDF usually points up any glitches before sending to print.

Those are just a few thoughts of mine. Now, over to the rest of you!(y)
 
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#2
I found Photoshop to be the easiest tool for making pdfs.

Step 1: Curate your images in Lightroom. Export them as full size jpegs to a working folder. Optional rename to sequence order.
Step 2: Create a template document in Photoshop.
Step 3: Import/Drag/Copy all your images into the template document as layers.
Step 4: Put all the layers into a folder. You can then apply layer styles to the folder (1px border, drop shadow, pillow emboss etc etc) which will cascade to all the images.
Step 5: Hide all images apart from your working image. Arrange it how you like.
Step 6: Save it as a pdf. Hide the layer and repeat step 5 with the next image.

For text (see below) I just did a simpel A5 template in Photoshop and wrote new titles, saving each one as a pdf as I went.

This keeps all the images and text uniform (assuming they're all the same format etc)

I tried Mixam's auto upload but it was a complete mess so either it's too complex for me or it's unintuitive. Best solution was to paste the pages in one at a time. It took a while but when it was done it was done.

Overall, I think Ghosts Vol 1 (my test zine) took me about an hour or two of mostly repetitive clicking and furstration with Mixam's UI. Getting lots of copies was pretty cool and at just over a quid each - very reasonably priced.

With Mixam, B&W is much cheaper than colour, and I went for el-cheapo paper which I quite liked.

gerqerg.JPG
 
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Ed Sutton
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#3
Not having Photoshop that's out for me :confused: and I suspect Gimp would be a nightmare - although I do use it to create artwork for ad copy.

I uploaded one of my PDFs (of a complete zine) to Mixam as a trial and it worked fine. There is software available to merge multiple PDFs. Photoshop might even do it?

I think I'll try Mixam for some more copies of my black and white tree zine to see how it fares.
 
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sirch

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#4
Really useful information, thanks for putting it together. I did my first book just before christmas as a gift and for various reasons I used Bonus print which was reasonably priced and reasonable quality. Their online software was OK for what I needed but clearly you get more flexibility doing your own as PDFs.
 
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#5
I still think Blurb is excellent for books. Integration with Lightroom makes the whole thing very easy to do even if the book module is more than an afterthought than a feature. Having physical copies of your prints rather than having them tucked away on a hard drive, never to be seen again, is very important.

Both these podcasts available via your normal "podcast getting software" go into a bit more detail.
Viewfinder Vikings Episode 19 about zine making: Anchor Link
Sunny 16 Episode following it up and interviewing Ian further: Podbean Link
 
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#6
This is some good information, thanks for putting it together!

I've been wondering about making a zine for a while, I have a couple of projects in mind so will see how the first few months of the year go. I would be up for a zine exchange, I think it was mentioned in another thread, but part of my problem is having people to give them to, fellow photographers may well be interested and I would like to see some collections of other peoples work too.
 
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#7
I would be up for a zine exchange
As would I. I find other people's work inspiring and it would be good to get our collective work out there.
 

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#8
A zine exchange would certainly be a good motivator to get some project finished :) I assume we are talking about zines as in lo-fi home produced things rather than the sort of books Dave has produced above
 
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Ed Sutton
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#9
I still think Blurb is excellent for books. Integration with Lightroom makes the whole thing very easy to do even if the book module is more than an afterthought than a feature. Having physical copies of your prints rather than having them tucked away on a hard drive, never to be seen again, is very important.

Both these podcasts available via your normal "podcast getting software" go into a bit more detail.
Viewfinder Vikings Episode 19 about zine making: Anchor Link
Sunny 16 Episode following it up and interviewing Ian further: Podbean Link
Interesting podcasts but waaaay too long. It's not just young people who have limited attention spans, old farts do too! :LOL: When are podcasters and vloggers gonna realise that less is more? 10 to twenty minutes max. IMO

It did seem a bit incestuous to me, a community of film users making zines of film photos for other makers of zines of film photos. I don't know why there was a reluctance to make a zine of digital pictures (they're all just pictures) or any surprise that the Croagh Patrick chap wanted to buy the zines of pictures of the pilgrimage. They were pictures he could relate to. To my mind there should be more taking photographs for the world outside the photosphere. I'm up for a swaperama (y), but I'd rather get my sheep and poultry pics out to sheep and poultry people. Mixam prices might make that affordable.

A zine exchange would certainly be a good motivator to get some project finished :) I assume we are talking about zines as in lo-fi home produced things rather than the sort of books Dave has produced above
I'd class my A5 publications as zines. ;)
 
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#10
It did seem a bit incestuous to me, a community of film users making zines of film photos for other makers of zines of film photos. I don't know why there was a reluctance to make a zine of digital pictures (they're all just pictures)
It's my experience that many digital shooters (not all, but definitely many) are more concerned with digital presentation (Instagram) technical perfection (gear) and decor (landscape workshops with celebrities at pretty locations). I believe that there are just "more" people (or a higher percentage of them) shooting film who care about analoge output (which is what a book, zine or print is). I've stopped subbing to digital podcasters because of the endless gear talk, or how to make a career from photography (by moaning that it's hard, or going on about how hobbyists should behave more like professionals). However I still remain subbed to the likes of Ben Smith, Ffoton and Brooks Jensen who are "method agnostic". [/wild generalisation]

I'd love a chicken zine (we keep them, they make me smile), or a tin can selfies zine, but I would't be overly interested in a "Here are my Iceland photos" zine. Is that bad? Or wrong? No. It's just me. If a zineswap were organised, I'd just steer clear of them. And there'd be likely a whole bunch of people who weren't interested in "my stupid blobs" (how my wife describes my 1 second project).

I did chuckle at the incestuous comment. I dare you to go in the F&C section and say that :). Actually, forget it, they'd probably all nod thoughtfully and agree with you...
Gah - what have I said...
 
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#11
A zine exchange would certainly be a good motivator to get some project finished :) I assume we are talking about zines as in lo-fi home produced things rather than the sort of books Dave has produced above
Mixam are a halfway house between complete DIY on a home printer with staples and everything, and the polished Blurb offerings. I got 25 copies of my A5 B&W zine for about £30. So it's about the same price Blurb charge for 1 unit.
 
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#12
It's my experience that many digital shooters (not all, but definitely many) are more concerned with digital presentation (Instagram) technical perfection (gear) and decor (landscape workshops with celebrities at pretty locations). I believe that there are just "more" people (or a higher percentage of them) shooting film who care about analoge output (which is what a book, zine or print is). I've stopped subbing to digital podcasters because of the endless gear talk, or how to make a career from photography (by moaning that it's hard, or going on about how hobbyists should behave more like professionals). However I still remain subbed to the likes of Ben Smith, Ffoton and Brooks Jensen who are "method agnostic". [/wild generalisation]
From where I stand film photographers can be just as fixated on gear - the shot on a Canon AE-1, FP2 developed in whatever nonsense. So what? It doesn't make the pictures any more interesting!

But I am all for hard copies of pictures. Of any kind. (y) But don't tell me what paper stock they're printed on. ;)

There are lots of incestuous groups in photography (as in all subcultures I guess) - just look at the mirrorless fanboys. :ROFLMAO:
 

sirch

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#13
Hastily typing something to avoid another gear debate, or even an anti-gear debate* ... so how would a zine swap work? You show me yours and I'll show you mine :naughty: ? or we have one or two dates each year when anyone interested puts up what they have available? or we just put up an offer when we have somehting ready and anyone who wants one PM's their details? Something else?

Personally it seems unlikely that I'll get anything done if I don't have some kind of deadline, as Douglas Adams said "I love deadlines, I like the whooshing sound they make as the fly by"



*Can't resist adding though that I have solved the gear debate simply by owning all of it :LOL:
 
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#14
Maybe a zine giveaway would be better. You might want mine but I might not want yours... :dummy:

I guess the sensible way would be a forum thread where each post is a zine with accompanying information - what it's about, maybe a photo of it and a desc about why you made it and how many are left. You then take PMs from people who are interested who also have a post on that thread and you agree/disagree to an exchange. You could also agree to send to people who don't have a zine, or who just want your work and don't have any to send or don't want to.

For one way shipping of zines (if it's allowed) it would probably have to be free with postage covered or it might skirt too close to the classifieds. Will RTM the post to see if the mods have a view.

After typing this, One way zine "gifting" just sounds complicated. Maybe it's best to do a straight swap. Maybe that will inspire poeple to go and make their work in print (which I guess was the point?)
 
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#15
Good to see this thread. My little zine also got a mention on Sunny16 by Barnaby this week which was lovely to hear.

I just had a little zine sale with all monies, profits and all going to the Bushfire fund in Australia. I also used Mixam and am very happy with the results for my modest little zine. 32 images shot on the Hasselblad from Iceland. :)

IMG_0874 2.jpg
 
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#16
Got any left Gareth?

My thoughts about the zine swap would be for instance (timescales and numbers are pulled out of thin air for illustration only)...
10 people agree they would like to take part, knowing that they have to order that many zines and cover 9 lots of postage. Everyone commits to do their best to get them done by say end of April and everyone posts a copy of theirs to everyone else. That would avoid any hurt feelings or disappointment if no one wants somebodies zine because it may not look interesting etc, everyone gets everyone else’s with the foreknowledge of costs.

There could be a progress thread or general discussion including project ideas, even shot selection if people wanted to be open about the process so that it doesn’t die out?
 

sirch

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#17
Maybe that will inspire poeple to go and make their work in print (which I guess was the point?)
I like the idea of encouraging people to get some printed but I think Craig has a point

That would avoid any hurt feelings or disappointment if no one wants somebodies zine
I suspect some people would sign up and then drop out but I guess people could deal with any spares in anyway they want, gifts, swaps, etc. We could try Craig's approach for the first round and see how it goes. Also as I said above I like a target date and a thread with a bit of community encouragement would be good.
 
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Ed Sutton
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#18
My thoughts about the zine swap would be for instance (timescales and numbers are pulled out of thin air for illustration only)...
10 people agree they would like to take part, knowing that they have to order that many zines and cover 9 lots of postage. Everyone commits to do their best to get them done by say end of April and everyone posts a copy of theirs to everyone else. That would avoid any hurt feelings or disappointment if no one wants somebodies zine because it may not look interesting etc, everyone gets everyone else’s with the foreknowledge of costs.
That sounds like a plan. Although, as @sirch suggests, initial enthusiasm could wane when the deadline approaches! But f there is a completion date we'd all know how many were still 'in' and order copies accordingly.

There could be a progress thread or general discussion including project ideas, even shot selection if people wanted to be open about the process so that it doesn’t die out?
PDFs can be uploaded for free (with ads of course) to Issu to give either a short taster of a publication or the whole thing. I've ordered a revised version of my Gone Out series which I did on Blurb as a tester for Mixam's service. Issu preview here - https://issuu.com/dlst/docs/untitled_2
 
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#19
Got any left Gareth?

My thoughts about the zine swap would be for instance (timescales and numbers are pulled out of thin air for illustration only)...
10 people agree they would like to take part, knowing that they have to order that many zines and cover 9 lots of postage. Everyone commits to do their best to get them done by say end of April and everyone posts a copy of theirs to everyone else. That would avoid any hurt feelings or disappointment if no one wants somebodies zine because it may not look interesting etc, everyone gets everyone else’s with the foreknowledge of costs.

There could be a progress thread or general discussion including project ideas, even shot selection if people wanted to be open about the process so that it doesn’t die out?
Sounds like a top way of doing it.
 

sirch

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#20
Starting to sound like a plan! Not wanting to steal anyone's thunder but I'd be happy to start a thread, it might be worth doing that in a forum that gets more traffic, Personal Projects & Themes seems to be a bit of a back water.

I've just had a quick look and Talk Printing and Presentation is remarkably lacking in pinned threads so we might persuade the mods to pin a zine swap thread in there. I guess this thread could also go in Talk Printing and Presentation but that’s up to @Ed Sutton
 
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#21
Starting to sound like a plan! Not wanting to steal anyone's thunder but I'd be happy to start a thread, it might be worth doing that in a forum that gets more traffic, Personal Projects & Themes seems to be a bit of a back water.

I've just had a quick look and Talk Printing and Presentation is remarkably lacking in pinned threads so we might persuade the mods to pin a zine swap thread in there. I guess this thread could also go in Talk Printing and Presentation but that’s up to @Ed Sutton
I've no problem with you starting a zine swap thread in the Printing and Presentation forum, Chris. (y)

I started this thread here because books/zines seem a appropriate places for projects to end up in. And I like backwaters. Hell, I've even started looking in the Film forum! :oops: :$
 
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#22
Starting to sound like a plan! Not wanting to steal anyone's thunder but I'd be happy to start a thread, it might be worth doing that in a forum that gets more traffic, Personal Projects & Themes seems to be a bit of a back water.

I've just had a quick look and Talk Printing and Presentation is remarkably lacking in pinned threads so we might persuade the mods to pin a zine swap thread in there. I guess this thread could also go in Talk Printing and Presentation but that’s up to @Ed Sutton
Nothing beats a good volunteer quite as well as an internet commuinity. Thumbs up from me (y)
 
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#23
Starting to sound like a plan! Not wanting to steal anyone's thunder but I'd be happy to start a thread, it might be worth doing that in a forum that gets more traffic, Personal Projects & Themes seems to be a bit of a back water.

I've just had a quick look and Talk Printing and Presentation is remarkably lacking in pinned threads so we might persuade the mods to pin a zine swap thread in there. I guess this thread could also go in Talk Printing and Presentation but that’s up to @Ed Sutton
No thunder stolen on my part, go for it! I agree finding the right forum is important, might be worth posting a cross reference thread in the film section, I feel like that may be the crowd who would be up for it.
 

sirch

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#24
OK, before rushing ambling into a whole new thread it seems worth agreeing amongst ourselves some sort of ground-rules, terms-or-reference, vague outline of what we want to do…

I’m tempted to call it a “Challenge” because that is a bit more headline-grabbing, e.g. “The Zine Swap Challenge” but then there are probably better suggestions, may be “Zine Swap Round 1” or “Zine Around”, “Zine Around April” (assuming we go with the April date), The Zine Group… Anyway something that makes people look if it appears in the New Posts list

Shall we say Saturday 25th of April as a target date for Zines to be in the post, with Saturday the 4th of April as a last date for people to commit, giving 3 weeks for printing etc.?

Some wording to introduce the concept:

What is a Zine? From the word magazine, generally it is a small circulation, self-published work. For this challenge it is a short collection of your photos, edited together into a magazine or small book format. Please note that self-published does not necessarily mean self-printed, you can print yourself or you can send your work off to a printing service – there is a thread about that >>here<<

The idea of this challenge is that you sign up and commit to producing a zine and posting it to all the other people in this zine community, everyone has to cover their own printing and postage costs and in return gets a fantastic zine collection from the other members of the group.
 
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#25
I like it. One thing, whilst we don't want to be overly prescriptive about the content, is it worth providing a link or two to other websites either of zine ideas or more about the concept? Only to avoid someone getting the wrong end of the stick and just turning it into a random collection of their best photos, which isn't really the idea.

Just a thought.
 
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#26
Is it worth putting a specification on the zines format and page count? Paetly as a hint as to what a zine is and alos to keep costs on a level playing field for everyone.

By the way these are great for posting ziney things out (Café Royal Books uses them) https://www.lilpackaging.com/collections/envelope The A1 size takes a fairly fat A5 publication. Unfortunately minimum order is 50 which works out at £14.50 or so. I use them for my business so not a problem for me.
 
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#27
Looks good. I was thinking of having it 6 monthly, so that if it worked, we could run it again up to Christmas within the same sort of timescales. End of April is fine though.

How about "Show Us Yer Zines" as the "Show Us yer.." threads seem to get good traction from people interested in that sort of thing. (Street, Cats, Infrared, film shots, etc). Too tacky?
Don't mind either way. You volunteered to "chair" it - you decide on the title.
 
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#28
Also, quick search on eBay turned up 25 hard backed A5 envelopes with "do not bend" for £6.45 (free postage). I've been using recycled Filmdev neg return envelopes which look to be the same thing and have had no complaints (yet).

Link to eBay
 

sirch

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#29
is it worth providing a link or two to other websites either of zine ideas or more about the concept? Only to avoid someone getting the wrong end of the stick and just turning it into a random collection of their best photos
Good idea, do you have any links?

Is it worth putting a specification on the zines format and page count?
Specification might be a bit too prescriptive perhaps, don't want to put people off ;-) I know that in general for binding purposes most printers have set numbers of pages, 8, 12, etc. but as with Craig's comment above some "advice" is probably a good idea.

The A1 size takes a fairly fat A5 publication
I assume an A1 envelope is not the same as A1 paper, I've never got my head around the post office letter sizes, obviously something that goes in the cheapest letter size is good if possible.

I was thinking of having it 6 monthly, so that if it worked, we could run it again up to Christmas
Sounds good, April and October avoids main holidays and the Christmas madness.

How about "Show Us Yer Zines" as the "Show Us yer.." threads seem to get good traction
I like the idea and I'm sure we could agonise over this too much but the "Show Us Yer ..." threads are usually posting a photo of the thing, and we don't want just a photo of someone's zine collection. "Share Yer Zines" ?

I'll try and put up a thread this evening and I can edit the content as required.
 
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#30
I assume an A1 envelope is not the same as A1 paper, I've never got my head around the post office letter sizes, obviously something that goes in the cheapest letter size is good if possible.
Envelope and paper sizes don't seem to be connected in any way I've been able to fathom out.

Specification might be a bit too prescriptive perhaps, don't want to put people off ;-)
I was only thinking of suggesting format/sizes for postage cost purposes adn to give people the idea it doesn't have to be a thick tome.

I like the idea and I'm sure we could agonise over this too much but the "Show Us Yer ..." threads are usually posting a photo of the thing, and we don't want just a photo of someone's zine collection. "Share Yer Zines" ?
Maybe suggest a screen shot of a few spreads to give a flavour of the zine?
 

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#32
I've just had a quick look and Talk Printing and Presentation is remarkably lacking in pinned threads so we might persuade the mods to pin a zine swap thread in there. I guess this thread could also go in Talk Printing and Presentation but that’s up to @Ed Sutton
No problems from the green team Chris as long as it doesn't turn into a selling platform.
And just one identical thread.
ie printing and presentation sounds like a plan.
Let me know when its running and I'll pin it (y)
 

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#33
No problems from the green team Chris as long as it doesn't turn into a selling platform.
And just one identical thread.
ie printing and presentation sounds like a plan.
Let me know when its running and I'll pin it (y)
Thanks Chris, no selling involved (y) :hug:
 
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#34
There's no hope for you now... you'll soon be accompanying your photos with the details of which old camera and make of film you've used... it's too late, Dave, you're b*ggered! ;)
Copy and paste this in pretty much every case - Pentax ME and HP5! :D
 
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#37
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#40
Yes, but that's to date; now you've visited the F&C section by this time next year you'll own at least three additional 35mm SLRs, a rangefinder and two 120 roll film cameras! :LOL:
I have three other SLRs (only one of which I've used for one roll of film, the others were gifted to me), a mjuII which I used to take fishing as a back up, plus a small collection of 'vintage' cameras. None will ever see another roll of film in my hands! :p
 
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