Px-LIDLIPS-Cover-091028Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School is on the way to the printer! The 228-page book features all 100 LIDLIPS that have been published on PixSylated to date. It is a perfect-bound (aka: paperback) that measures 5.25″ x 8″. The inside is black text and a few graphics on crisp, white paper. The layout is one LIPDLIPS per two-page spread–meaning that there’s plenty of room to scribble your own thoughts nearby. I’ve learned that a large number of photo instructors are already using LIDLIPS in their classrooms. So, I’ve also appended one or two reader questions at the bottom of each LIDLIPS as a way to kick-start more conversations. [Sorry, these reader questions are not shown in the online posts.]

LIPLIPS will start shipping in early December. Amazon will start booking orders online in “2 to 8 weeks” (I just love that precision.) In the meantime…

You can pre-order your autographed LIDLIPS directly from PixSylated. This will assure that you get your LIDLIPS as soon as possible. I’ll sign each copy. Plus, as a pre-order bonus, you’ll get free shipping (USA addresses only). There’s a “Buy Now” button just below the new cover design–just keep scrolling down.

The new LIDLIPS cover


Pre-Order an autographed LIDLIPS for $14.95, free shipping to USA addresses.

Your order will be processed securely through PayPal. You do not have to have a PayPal account to order. [The free shipping offer ends on the latter of December 1, 2009 or whenever Amazon gets LIDLIPS online.] Autographed copies will always be available through PixSylated.

If you’re curious about the results of the “votes” on the eight LIDLIPS cover candidates from last week’s post, read on.

About the new LIDLIPS Cover

Many thanks to the 100+ PixSylarians who added their comments to last week’s post that presented eight cover designs.

Minimalist #8

^ The clear winner was Minimalist #8–with almost 50% of the votes. This black cover was my favorite among the bunch too.

LIDLIPS Cover Candidates 091020

^ The second most popular was Red #1–which received 30% of the votes.

What impacted me the most were the five people who said that they did not like any of the options. My friend, John Paul Caponigro, was the first dissenter and stepped up to do what any friend should do during a critique–be passionately honest. JP wrote:

None of the above.
They’re all way too generic for you and a new book concept.
They don’t leverage your sexy color photographs or your distinctive hairdoo.
This is a great opportunity to assert the image of your brand.
Don’t play it safe.
You with a thousand flashes going off over your head.
You in an interesting environment looking off into space camera on the ground.
You and something high concept 21st century.
Be bold. Be distinctive. You are. So this cover should be too.
That’s my vote.

Within minutes of reading JP’s comments, I headed back to the drawing board (literally). My take-away was the huge disconnect between the cover candidates and the tone of the LIDLIPS. I see my LIDLIPS as being modern, bold, brief, and willing to test the boundaries of  photography. [As for me with a thousand flashes going off over my head, that’s the tone of my next book–Speedliter’s Handbook–to be published next spring.]

For the cover photo, I choose one of my favorite photos from the past year. It’s a photo of nothing more than light. I whimsically fired off my camera while walking down a sidewalk. I don’t remember what I was responding to–but there was something there that inspired me. No focus. No composition. No exposure setting. I just fired. The machine responded and collected a load of photons. I think it’s one of the strongest images I’ve ever made. [Sneak peek: LIDLIPS #101, A photograph does not have to be about anything.]

The design elements were inspired by a number of readers. Anna hit the nail on the head when she wrote:

The first time I saw one of your photographs it took my breath away. It was an image used for a LIDLIPS blog entry, delivered into my inbox earlier this year. I think you should use one of your own unique and compelling photographs for the book cover with the acronym “LIDLIPS” reversed out, (large, if you prefer) across the top, and then in smaller type “Lessons I …” and the sub-head somewhere at the bottom. This will guarantee striking, clean layout that reflects what the book is about, and because of the image, a more effective way to sell the book.

My friend, Bob Ray, reminded me of my ultimate goal with these powerful words: While photography is art to be viewed, book covers are art to entice a sale. As much as my ego would like to believe that every photographer knows about my brand and my persona, I am reminded that the world is a much larger place than I think it is and that the vast majority of people who see this cover online or in a bookstore will never have heard of me before.

In the end, I’m very happy with this cover–and very grateful that I had so many “beta-testers” for the earlier versions. There’s nothing I want to add, nor anything I feel it could do without.  All encouragement about my crazy hair and flash madness aside, this cover is a reflection of who I am and the Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School.

8 Responses to Meet LIDLIPS – The Book!

  1. Bruce says:

    I told you I’d be at the front of the line. Just placed my order! I’m glad to see this come to print and can’t wait to get my grubby fingers on my own copy.

    Congrats, Syl. And thanks.

  2. Gregg Zivney says:

    Hey Buddy!!

    Congratulations on the new book. Just placed my order.
    What a difference a year makes!


  3. Del says:

    Awesome, Syl! Love it. Ordering them for my kids as well. Congratulations! It will be a best seller, my friend.

  4. John Mathis says:

    Just placed my order, Syl, and looking forward to it. I continue to enjoy your insights and wish you great success with the book.

  5. Kim Schulz says:

    I live in Denmark, Europe and would love to buy a signed copy. The paypal site does however not add anything for shipping so how do I order it ?

    • Syl Arena says:

      Hey Kim – Thanks for pointing out the bug that hide the international shipping options. It’s now fixed. Can’t offer free shipping outside the US, but I’m very happy to ship overseas.

  6. Bob Ray says:

    While one cannot judge a book by its cover, one can make assumptions about an author by his cover choices.

    Here we have a challenging, visually-arresting title, enticing sub-head, magnificently artistic, flowing cover image and a powerful, prideful content description below.

    Cover art sells books. And magazines. And authors.

    The adventure is about to begin.

    Have a great ride, Syl …

  7. Kjartan says:

    I like the change of the title. It makes people curious about what “Lidlips” is.

    I am curious though about your choice of layout and typography here. It looks like a book from the late 70’s or early 80’s based on the font and the layout.

    Compare it to McNally’s “Hot Shoe Diaries”, Jarvis’ “The Best Camera” or DuChemin’s “Within the Frame” for a simple modern cover (to pick some from the bestseller lists).
    These are more manuals though, while “Lidlips” is more of an essay collection. I guess a better comparison would be Tagg’s “The Disciplinary Frame”, Barthes’ “Camera Lucida” or Dyer’s “The Ongoing Moment”.

    My point is that I think you’re going to loose a lot of buyers, since most people buy books based on the first impression – cover and blurb (I’m speaking as an ex-bookstore employee here). Everybody who reads this blog is going to buy it anyway (myself included), as they know the content and won’t really care that much about the cover, but Joe Q Public cares very much about the layout.

    If it’s still possible, my opinion is to redo the cover once more.
    The Lidlips series is great and I wish it all possible success as a book. A great cover is part of that.

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