I wrote a photography book….created it really. It doesn’t sell very well, and I do know why.
It’s hard. It doesn’t hand you anything, it challenges you to think and figure it out. I’ve had countless people tell me “I love this book, I really do, but you’d sell a lot more if it didn’t make people feel like they’re failing at reading it.”
They’re right. I’d sell more. But I’m stubborn. This book was made the way it is for a reason…there are thousands of books out that there simply TELL you to use this aperture for that effect and to use this kind of lens in this situation…and my book on composition is different. It’s meant to make your brain INVENT tools of composition, not just learn them.
And as frustrating as it is to not sell very many copies, every once in a while I get feedback that makes it all worth while:
“Dear Mr. Melges, I bought your book 2 years ago and I just love it. I have it on my ipad and I take it with me always. I’m only on page 60 but I won’t move on until I figure it out. I know that some of the ones I’ve figured out probably aren’t right, but it’s ok because they worked for me. Maybe that’s what supposed to happen, maybe people are supposed to think up their own rules. I have one I call “ping pong” and I’m positive it’s wrong but I promise I use it and it works and I’m going to write my own book about it someday.”
This kid is 17. He got the book when he was 15, and even though it’s just 100 pages, he’s barely past halfway through it two years later. If no one else EVER understands my book, at least I know he did, lol. He’s an incredible inspiration because he’s not looking for anyone to TELL him the answers. He’s creating photography in his own image. And if he takes a decade to get to the end of my book, he wins the race.