Enduring All The "Seasons"
To order your copy of "Seasons," click on the pic below:
Seven years is a long time, and a lot of seasons - especially when it comes to completing a book project, but here we are. There were also a lot of bacon double cheeseburgers consumed by Yours Truly in those seven years, but I digress..
"Seasons" is now complete, the books have been printed (500 copies in this first printing, with the first 200 being individually signed and numbered), and they're (slowly) on the way from overseas, the arrival date here in the states coming in roughly two weeks - sixty-three cases full of books, yikes! I will begin mailing out the copies to all who ordered soon after.
The origins of this book date back to 2012, when I embarked on a replacement to my very first book, a rather amateurish effort from 2010 titled "Solitary Traveler," which in reality was a thinly disguised love letter (in convenient book form) to a junior high school sweetheart to whom I'd recently reacquainted. Much embarrassment ensued, and I wanted to sweep whatever memories of that first effort under the rug as quickly as possible, though in recent years I've softened my tone on that book. One of the stories from that book even makes an appearance in "Seasons," albeit in shortened form.
Later in 2010 I published a second book called "Seasons of the Solitary Traveler," a more photo-centric book, divided into four chapters, representing the four seasons. But my photography skills were still in their formative phase, so while it was an improvement on "Solitary Traveler," it still fell well short of the mark I'd set for myself.
This new book project in 2012 was to be entitled "Stories From The Road," and its intent was to eclipse those first two books in every way possible.
Above: The proposed cover for "Stories From The Road" (the "Solitary Traveler" and "and Images" part of the title was later discarded)
The project dragged on through spring of 2015, when I'd completed nearly 75% of the book.
Then I took the time to read the manuscript of that book over, and realized mighty quickly it was, at least in format, becoming way too similar to that first, failed effort. While a few of the stories were compelling (and in fact five of those stories are featured in "Seasons"), I had become a better photographer by that point, and the photos included were taking a backseat to the stories. So I shelved the project...
A loyal follower of mine on Facebook (whom I consider a valued friend) kept nudging me as I continued to post images there, along with the stories behind them. She would often say, "When are you writing a book?"
Eventually though, those constant queries from her got whittled down to a single word:
I knew exactly what she meant, and I would have to acquiesce eventually, as others also chimed in - in their desire to see something from me in physical form that featured both words and images in equal measure.
Above: The original 2018 "landscape oriented" proposed cover for "Seasons"
So this time I pivoted back to the second book, "Seasons of the Solitary Traveler," deciding to adopt the format from that old book, and apply it to the new one - a book with four main chapters, one for each season. I'd gotten as far as designing a cover for this book, now re-titled just "Seasons." But almost immediately after, I'd put the project on pause. After a few traumatic upheavals (my broken arm and wrist from December 2017 being the least of them) my frazzled brain needed to regroup...
When I designed the cover for "Seasons" in 2018, the idea was for the book to be a paperback, landscape-oriented book, printed in small quantities much like its predecessor "Seasons of the Solitary Traveler" was some eight years earlier.
Once my head had cleared, and once I'd revisited the project a year later, I knew - instinctively - that it had to be much more than just a small time project, meant for a handful of friends like the first two books were. It needed to be bolder, bigger, more definitive, more accessible.
And waaaaaay outside my comfort zone.
There was no going back now.
In the meantime, I'd seen a new book by Geddy Lee, former bassist and vocalist for the band Rush, titled "Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass," an enormous 400-page, 12" x 12" hardcover featuring Geddy's bass collection and interviews with many of his contemporaries and influences. What struck me was the nice balance between words and images in such a large hardcover format - and I knew that was the direction this new book had to take.
But strangely, because it was the safe thing to do, I contacted the company in Atlanta who printed my first two books, as we'd worked together well then. I never looked for alternate options. They had since become a larger publishing company, and were willing to publish the new book as a "print on demand" title. I made a few visits, showed them the work in progress, and threw around a few dollar figures. But after a few cancelled meetings, a push by the publisher to compromise and make the book smaller, and most importantly, a $1,500 editing fee which would have brought a proposed selling price of $80 per book, not to mention a paltry profit margin for me - I was left to start over. I never signed a contract with them, and I moved on after one cancelled meeting too many in early October.
I'd intended for the book to be on sale as I'd envisioned, at a reasonable price, and ready by Christmas - but I knew the odds of that happening now were very slim. By making the safe choice, I'd wasted two months - and time was running out. My stress levels were off the charts by this point.
Around that same time I'd received a private message on Instagram from someone in Johnson City - a print broker who told me, in no uncertain terms, that he could "crush" on-demand print prices, allowing me to sell the book at a much lower price, and still significantly increase my profit margin. I thought, "Well, that's fightin' talk," so I met with Jerry Greer of Mountain Trail Press in Johnson City soon after.
It was there that I discovered so many things about properly publishing a book that I never was told by the previous publisher. By the time I was done learning all the things I needed to know in subsequent meetings and email exchanges with Jerry, and applying those things to the book, it had completely transformed. And most importantly, the finished product matched the vision I had for it, with little or no compromise. Jerry was most instrumental in making this project a reality.
I soon realized that if I had gone with the previous publisher, the book many of you will have in hand by the end of the month would have been awful. You might have gotten it before Christmas, but it would have been a compromised and pale (not to mention expensive!) shadow of what it was to become. It was necessary to completely redo the book from scratch, and delay the release until after the new year, just so I could produce the best product I could.
And my hope is, for all of you who have ordered, this new book will be well worth the wait. It's not perfect by any means - at least to my exacting standards - but I'm still proud of the finished product.
I hope you'll be proud too. Click the photo below to order your own copy (if you haven't ordered already):