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Feature preview: Is self-publishing the best way to get noticed?

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Magazine previews, by Julie Bassett

In this feature we look at how you can create your own self-published art book of your digital work

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. We look at whether creating your own books and zines is as tempting as it first appears.

It’s no secret that the way we create and share artwork has dramatically changed over the past decade. Portfolios of work, once printed to proudly show off in massive A2 folders, are now stored digitally and shown via websites, iPad slideshows or even through professional-looking self-published books and zines.

This change has stemmed from a variety of factors, not least the current economic situation. A few years ago it was commonplace for artists, photographers and authors to be approached by publishers to write books, receiving payment for their work. Nowadays, it’s much harder to get a book deal, and if you do you have to consider time-scale, lack of creative control over content and the process in general. One way to avoid these potential publishing pitfalls is to self-publish your work.

Like the photobook market, the market for self-published materials has exploded and companies like Blurb and Yophoto are at the forefront of this revolution. In fact, by the end of 2011, over 400,000 people had created books with Blurb, with authors making over £1 million through sales on the Blurb Bookstore alone.

However when you’re already working hard creating artwork, illustrations or other content, why should you bother to take on the hassle of self-publishing a book too? The main benefit for the artist is that self-publishing enables them to maintain complete creative control of the process. From deciding the date when and how the book or zine launches to the tone, quality and creative content of the product, there’s no publisher who has invested money telling you what to do. Teresa Pereira, vice president of European market development for Blurb ( continues the list of self-publishing benefits: “Authors are able to decide when they want the book to be published rather than being held to a publisher’s release schedule. With self-publishing the time to market is literally days or weeks, rather than months or years. Also with Blurb you can have one copy of your physical book in your hands in about a week, or instantly if you choose to make an eBook.”

With the introduction of eBooks, the ways to create, buy and share your work have increased once again. The eBook market opens up a new world of opportunity where you as authors are unrestricted by traditional conventions of printing such as page numbers, paper sizes and the constant worry of what you see on screen being accurately represented in print.

Read more in issue 92 of Advanced Photoshop, on sale from 26 January 2012 via

Feature preview: Is self-publishing the best way to get noticed?