Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chuck the Writer Completes Work on "Project 3"

I still can't believe I put this together.

I also still can't believe I didn't think of this sooner.

A little background.

I've covered the Vocal Group Hall of Fame inductions since the first one was held in 1998. In 2001, I started taking pictures along with my written coverage, both for Goldmine and Billboard magazines.

Last week, while puttering around through flickr, I discovered that Flickr had a partner company called Blurb, a company that could produce high-quality bound books.

So I thought about it ... and thought about it ... and decided that I would test out this Blurb software by creating a book containing the photographs I took of the inductions and concerts of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

First issue I needed to cover was to look through my archive and see if I could find the original DVD's that contained the source materials - my photographs. I also needed to make sure that the photos were of halfway decent quality (the first three years I covered the inductions with a Nikon CoolPix 800, the last few inductions were shot with my Nikon D70). Then, I needed to sort through the photos and pick the best of the best.

I decided that since I was most likely going to be paying for the publishing of this book myself, I would keep costs as low as I could - this book would be 7" by 7" (the same size as a 45 RPM record jacket), and would have 60 pages. Some artists I never got a chance to photograph (someone else took photos in the early inductions), other artists I didn't have the best quality photographs, etc.

But what I did have was some magic and rare photographs - bandmembers reuniting for the first time in nearly a generation. Groups giving their last recorded performance before the final surviving original vocalist retires or gets called to Glory. All-star jams featuring a blend of girl-groups or gospel harmonies or doo-wop elegance.

This morning, I put the finishing touches on "The Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Volume 1." I'm going to spend the next couple of days proofing it (and sending a digital copy to the Vocal Hall for review). Then up to the Blurb online printing company it goes. And then we go from there.

"Project 3" was chosen as a code name because it symbolized what would be my third published book. It would also be the first book in which I had complete autonomous control over the content, the photos and the text. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book, after publishing costs, will be designated for the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Am I going to sell a million copies? Probably not. But this is a boutique project, and I know that the people who would be interested in purchasing this book will be appreciative of music, vocal harmony and classic pop and soul.

The hard part is done. Other than proofreading and confirming that everything is where it's supposed to be, I've got my third book in the pipeline and it should be printed and bound very very soon.

Damn... this feels good...

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