In August 2010, just over three years after launching this blog, I received an email from a man named Frank Gallaugher who told me about a new photo site that Barnes and Nobles was launching called Pixiq, which planned to feature the most popular photography bloggers in the world.
Frank was an editor at Lark Books at the time, which specialized in photography guides and was part of Sterling Publishing, which was owned by Barnes and Nobles.
He said he had been reading my blog for a while and wanted to bring me onboard as the photography rights expert on Pixiq. I ended up signing a contract where I remained for two years before they terminated my contract last August.
Frank, however, left Pixiq within a few months of the launching of the site, which showed it was doomed to begin with because it ended up shutting down without warning last May to the surprise of the remaining writers.
It wasn’t until June 2012 when I heard from Frank again. This time he was an editor at Ilex Press, a publisher based in the United Kingdom that specializes in photography books.
And this time, he was wondering if I would be interested in writing a book on citizen journalism. Of course I was, I told him.
Ilex Press, whose most popular author is Michael Freeman, works by commissioning potential writers to write a few chapters and gather a few photos that Ilex then turns into a BLAD (Book Layout and Design), which is a mini-book synopsis of the planned book that they shop around to various publishers in the United States.
Then once a publisher agrees to take on the project, Ilex becomes the co-publisher.
I wrote four chapters, gathered a bunch of photos, some from my own collection and several from my readers, and sent it all to Ilex during the first week of August 2012. They published the content into a nice looking BLAD and began shopping it around.
It wasn’t until April 2013 that I received word that an American publisher had agreed to the book and we can now move forward with the project.
The American publisher is Cengage Learning PTR, which specializes in educational books, including photography guide books. Its most popular author on the photo side is David Busch, who has published countless books on cameras and photography.
I’ve already signed the contract agreeing to complete the book by mid-September in three monthly installments with the first deadline in mid-July and the book due out next year.
So it’s going to be a very busy summer for me, meaning that I may not be able to publish all the stories that come my way for PINAC, although I’m going to try to write at least one story a day during the week.
This is a huge step for my journalism career, especially considering they’ve already talked to me about writing more books after I finish this one, so I will be doing plenty of editing and revisions before submitting the drafts, something I don’t really do on this blog out of the franticness of getting the stories online and the knowledge that I could always correct minor grammatical errors once a story is published.
In order to meet my deadline, I need to write a chapter a day, but my days will also be filled with conducting interviews and doing loads of research, so it would be helpful if you can submit potential stories on the PINAC forums rather than emailing them to me to ensure they make it on the site because otherwise, they might slip through the cracks while I focus on finishing the book.
So how can you help?
I need to gather 300 high-quality, high resolution photos for the book, including 100 photos by July 18. These photos should depict some aspect of citizen journalism whether it is of citizen journalists taking photos or a photo taken by a citizen journalist capturing news that otherwise would not have been captured. You can see some examples of the photos that are going in the book in my Ten Rules for Recording Cops piece.
I’ve noticed many people do not like the term “citizen journalist,” but that is the term generally accepted to define people doing journalistic work but who have not had formal journalistic training or professional experience.
The purpose of this book is to establish some sort of legal and ethical guidelines to citizen journalists as well as provide technical advice and case studies of various citizen journalists.
My personal goal is to further legitimize citizen journalism where police will stop harassing, threatening and arresting citizens who record them.
Unfortunately, the publishers are not offering any monetary compensation for photos used, but they are guaranteeing a copy of the final book, which will include your photo, your byline and your website address, if you have one.
I’m not comfortable asking photographers for free photos but that’s the deal they presented to me. If you would like to submit a photo for consideration, please email it to me at Carlos Miller with the subject heading, “Citizen journalism photo,” so I can keep track of them all because otherwise, the photos can easily get lost in the mass of emails I receive on a daily basis.
One reader emailed me stating that he believed the proposed cover of the book sends out the wrong message because it is reminiscent of the Black Panthers black power fist, which depicted a more violent overtone than should be presented with citizen journalism.
I had no say in the design of the cover, but I have no problem with it either. If anything, I would prefer they use a variation of the PINAC Power Fist logo, but at this point, I’m going to focus on the content on the book and address any issues with the cover at a later date.
Also, the raised fist has been used for centuries as a symbol of resistance and activism, which is along the lines of what this blog and this book is about.
But I would be interested in hearing what you guys have to say. The cover is not set in stone as the book won’t be published until next year.
I will be receiving a modest advance, split up over the next three months based on me meeting my deadlines, but I won’t be receiving the first payment until the end of July.
And if the book sells enough copies, I will start making even more money on royalties once I’ve surpassed the amount of my advance.
And if it becomes a best-seller, I will receive even more royalties and be a lot more stress-free than I’ve been these past few months in trying to take this site to another level.
Donations, advertising and expenses
Since leaving Pixiq, my income has been drastically reduced while my expenses in running this site has significantly increased with band width costing me almost $300 a month and more than a thousand dollars going into the technical upgrade and redesign of the site with money still owed to the developers as well as more money needed to get them to fix the ongoing glitches as well as to continue improving every aspect of the site.
Last month, a generous PINAC reader paid the entire bandwidth bill, which lifted a huge burden from my shoulders, and many more of you have been very generous and consistent in your donations and it’s all fully appreciated.
I haven’t received this month’s bill but I imagine it’s going to be high as usual, so I would appreciate any donations to help foot the cost.
Last month, I joined the Federated Media advertising network, which explains the ads you’ve been seeing. Right now, the ads are bringing in a few dollars a day, but that is supposed to increase in a couple of months.
I’ve also just sold my first direct ad to Freedom Cam, a company that specializes in dash cams, which you can see in the right-hand column. I will also be posting a review of that camera along with a review of Dash Cam USA because it’s getting to the point where we need to protect ourselves with as many cameras as possible.
Reduced prices on PINAC merchandise
I am offering the remainder of the t-shirts I have in stock on PINAC Nation for $20 as opposed to the usual $23 in order to raise some quick dollars to tide me over until they send me my initial advance payment.
The XXL and XXXL are now selling for $21 and $22 respectively where they were selling for $3.50 more than that (That’s how much extra they cost me for those sizes).
And the remaining hoodies are now going for $32 instead of $42.
Last month, I introduced a new design as you can see, front and back, below.
And I have a couple more designs I hope to introduce in the coming weeks. I am also considering introducing Photography is Not a Crime license plate frames, so let me know what you think about that.
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My lifelong dream has been to write a book, so I am very grateful of having this opportunity and very thankful that Frank Gallaugher believed in my work enough to not only give me the opportunity to write for Pixiq, which on the whole scheme of things, really wasn’t that bad considering I was receiving monthly paychecks, but also for opening up the doors to allow me to write this book, which is going to be published in multiple languages and sold throughout the world.
And I’m very grateful and thankful for my readers because without you guys, this would not be happening.
It’s not a bad situation considering my original plan when I launched this blog in 2007 after my initial arrest for photographing cops was to keep it up long enough to document my trial and then move on in pursuit of something permanent that would pay the bills.
I’m hoping that time has finally come.