THE CASE of the STOLEN PORTFOLIO

We were recently notified by someone that about a dozen of our book cover designs were being used by a book cover design firm in India. That was surprising news to us. I quickly contacted the company in India and demanded an explanation.

The Indian company promptly responded that the designs were provided to them by one of their designers. The manager of the company apologized, removed our book cover designs from their portfolio, and stated that the designer would be “punished”. Considering their quick response to this matter and their explanation I’ve decided not to link to that company or print their name in this post. Should I?

An odd aspect to this situation is that the firm didn’t include the stolen designs directly in their online portfolio but only in an e-mail to potential clients and labeled the designs as their extended portfolio. So, if someone had not notified us by e-mail then we would have never learned about this incident. I’m trying to have good faith in believing that the Indian firm actually did remove the cover designs and not just changed the location to a URL I do not know about.

Ultimately, it’s quite foolish for a designer to use another designer’s portfolio. What happens when the design thief cannot deliver the same quality of designs as presented in the portfolio?

It’s very common for book cover designers to be influenced by the covers of other designers. It’s something else to blatantly use another’s portfolio as one’s own.

By |December 19th, 2007|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , |4 Comments

WEBSITE LAUNCH for ALE FIRSZT, illustrator

sorodesign recently completed the Web site for Argentine illustrator Alejandro Firszt. The design reflects Ale’s desire for a clean, minimalist layout.

Ale Firszt Illustrator

Authors and publishers interested in contracting with an illustrator should take a moment to examine Ale’s portfolio. He is an exceptional illustrator. Here are a couple of examples of his works:

By |December 13th, 2007|Categories: author websites|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

BLOG, E-BOOK, now what?

For almost three years I’ve been writing about the cultural heritage and social history of Buenos Aires, Argentina on my blog Buenos Aires, City of Faded Elegance. Since it’s a blog by an American living in a foreign country it tends to get grouped in the travel category. I do write a lot about how to experience travel on a more meaningful level than just a cursory visit to the sights that are in every guidebook. But in my blog I purposefully avoid most mentions of restaurants and hotels. I’ve always wanted to write much more than just a traveler’s account of a few days or even a few months in one locale.

Like all blogs my own now has an extensive archive. Whenever I come across a new blog I read the latest postings and, if I like those, I add the site to my news reader. I always intend to go back and browse the archived postings but I rarely do so. Figuring that a lot of visitors to my site also never make it too far into the archives, I decided to pull together a selection of postings from my archives and create a free e-book. It was a challenge to distill so much material down to 50 pages, which is the length I had in mind. I ended up with 57 pages.


Buenos Aires free e-book

So, I’ve taken my blog and made an e-book. What’s next?

In my blog’s archives I have enough text that could be converted to approximately 175 more pages. With some editing and arrangement there is certainly more than enough material to produce an insightful book on Buenos Aires. But no one wants to read a 225 page e-book. I certainly don’t (unless I have a nifty e-book reader) and am not intending to release a PDF like that (and definitely not for free).

There’s always the self-publishing route and a lot of our clients here at sorodesign take that approach. I know enough about self-publishing that it wouldn’t be difficult to produce some sales directly from blog.

I was just calculating the year-end stats of my blog for 2007 and it amounts to about 80,000 unique visitors a year coming to my blog on Buenos Aires. Argentina’s weak economy has resulted in a tourism boom so I’m always getting a lot of new readers to the blog seeking out things to do in Buenos Aires.

My inclination is to query literary agents and see what type of response I get. I’ll post updates on this blog about my own success or failure in going from blog to book.

BTW, Cecilia did the page layout for the e-book and she will be posting later about the actual layout.

By |December 8th, 2007|Categories: publishing|Tags: , |2 Comments

EXPERIMENTAL CALLIGRAPHY

Yanina Arabena is a young graphic designer that we employ on occasion to do some book design work with us. Lately she has been doing a lot of experimental calligraphy. Here is one example of her beautiful work and you can find more on her Flickr pages.


experimental calligraphy

By |November 30th, 2007|Categories: Book Design|Tags: |2 Comments

MINIATURE BOOKS

One of the things I like about living in a large city like Buenos Aires is the unexpected. A while back we were hanging out with our friend Robert at El Hipopótamo, one of those classic bars from the 1920s that dot Buenos Aires, when a bearded maker of miniature books came by selling his little books.

He had a selection of titles, most going for around $5. We chose the Cuentos de la Selva (Stories of the Jungle) by the classic Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga.

You can see the size of the book here next to an ink pen. The size of the book is 6cm x 7.5 cm.

[Oops…photo gone missing…]

Nice binding!

[Oops…photo gone missing…]

And despite the small size the print is very readable. (My little Sony digital camera doesn’t focus too well at this small of a distance – and I didn’t feel like throwing the book on the flatbed scanner – so any fuzziness in this photo is my camera and not the typography).

[Oops…photo gone missing…]

By |November 22nd, 2007|Categories: Book Design, rare books|Tags: , |4 Comments

DESIGNING BOOK COVERS

We’ve been busy designing book covers the past few months. The online portfolio has been updated and we’ve also created a PDF portfolio for download.


book cover designs

By |November 20th, 2007|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Busy, Busy, Busy

This blog has been quiet for a while but here at sorodesign we’ve been busy, busy, busy. Obviously, business is going great but that has left little time for blogging. We’ll be back to that soon. Jeff is also now back from a trip to the U.S. and brought back a lot of design goodies, all worthy of blog posts. And soon we will have a bunch of new designs for the portfolio. Stay tuned!

By |September 24th, 2007|Categories: Book Design|Tags: |1 Comment

TRAVEL GUIDES by the chapter

If you travel a lot then you know the problem of carrying around guidebooks: they can be large and you often don’t use half the chapters in the book. A travel guide friend of mine actually recommends ripping out the pages that you don’t want from a guidebook in order to make it lighter, easier to carry around.

Lonely Planet is introducing downloadable chapters of its guidebooks. The price of each chapter varies but it seems to be around $2.50 or so. It reminds me of the TravelFish guides to southeast Asia that we wrote about last month.


lonely planet

So far, Lonely Planet only has chapters from its Latin American guidebooks available for download. This concept is particularly good for travelers on the road. In many countries it’s very difficult to find English-language travel books.

By |July 25th, 2007|Categories: e-book design, publishing|Tags: , |3 Comments

THE VALUE ofAUTHOR WEBSITES

Agent Kristin has a post on her blog Pub Rants about the importance of an author having a Web site:

I ended up chatting with a B&N book buyer. She said that the most important tool an author could have is a website.

And I agree. The buyers do actually look at author websites and potentially use them for their internet marketing.

She also has some excellent tips about how authors should get creative with their Web sites. Go read the post.

By |July 17th, 2007|Categories: author websites|Tags: |2 Comments

NON-FICTION WRITERS & their Websites

With all the emphasis on platform as a necessity for getting non-fiction published, one might assume that the ratio of non-fiction writers with Web sites would be higher than that of fiction writers.

One recent bit of advice to non-fiction writers: “You need to have a fantastic Website, even before you get an agent.” (link thanks to Joe Wikert).


But based on the July 15 issue of Kirkus non-fiction reviews
:

Of the 60 reviewed authors only 24 had Web sites. That’s 40%, which is lower than our calculation for novelists with Web sites.

Amir D. Aczel, THE JESUIT AND THE SKULL
Steve Almond, (NOT THAT YOU ASKED)
Emerson W. Baker, THE DEVIL OF GREAT ISLAND
John D. Barrow, NEW THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
Bill Bass, BEYOND THE BODY FARM
Bob Beckel, COMMON GROUND
Jane Bernstein, RACHEL IN THE WORLD
Nancy Marie Brown, THE FAR TRAVELER
Matthew Brzezinski, RED MOON RISING
James Campbell, THE GHOST MOUNTAIN BOYS
Gillian Clark, OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
Robert Cole, UNDER THE GUN IN IRAQ
Stacy A. Cordery, ALICE
Michael D’Antonio, A BALL, A DOG, AND A MONKEY
Phoebe Damrosch, SERVICE INCLUDED
Christopher J. Dodd, LETTERS FROM NUREMBERG (Ok, Presidential candidates automatically have a publishing platform!)
Dominic Dromgoole, WILL & ME
Norbert Ehrenfreund, THE NUREMBERG LEGACY
Kathleen Flinn, THE SHARPER YOUR KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY
James R. Gaines, FOR LIBERTY AND GLORY
John Gray, BLACK MASS
Boze Hadleigh, BROADWAY BABYLON
Lesley Hazleton, JEZEBEL
Andrew Helfer, RONALD REAGAN
Paul Hoffman, KING’S GAMBIT
Corinne Hofmann, REUNION IN BARSALOI
A.J. Jacobs, THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY
Catherine James, DANDELION
Robert D. Kaplan, HOG PILOTS, BLUE WATER GRUNTS
Hugh Kennedy, THE GREAT ARAB CONQUESTS
Glenn Kessler, THE CONFIDANTE
Jon Kukla, MR. JEFFERSON’S WOMEN
Alan Lapidus, EVERYTHING BY DESIGN
Jon Latimer, 1812
Paul Maher, Jr., JACK KEROUAC’S AMERICAN JOURNEY
Cristina Marcano, HUGO CHÁVEZ
Marco Martinez, HARD CORPS
Mark Matthews, THE LOST YEARS
Brian Morton, PRINCE
Michael J. Neufeld, VON BRAUN
Henry Petroski, THE TOOTHPICK
Paul Pines, MY BROTHER’S MADNESS
Norman Podhoretz, WORLD WAR IV
Katherine Ramsland, BEATING THE DEVIL’S GAME
Jim Reisler, THE BEST GAME EVER
John Elder Robison, LOOK ME IN THE EYE
Jessica Snyder Sachs, GOOD GERMS, BAD GERMS
Frank Schaeffer, CRAZY FOR GOD
Richard Shelton, CROSSING THE YARD
Peggy Shumaker, JUST BREATH NORMALLY
Ed Sikov, DARK VICTORY
Barbara Sjoholm, THE PALACE OF THE SNOW QUEEN
Jeffrey Toobin, THE NINE
Lou Ureneck, BACKCAST
Charles Van Onselen, THE FOX AND THE FLIES
Geoffrey C. Ward, THE WAR
Susan Warren, BACKYARD GIANTS
Andrew Wilson, HAROLD ROBBINS
Mort Zachter, DOUGH
Keld Zeruneith, THE WOODEN HORSE

By |July 16th, 2007|Categories: author websites|Tags: |7 Comments