The Great Ideazine
     March 24, 2010Volume 9   Number 8   Issue 256     
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Introduction

Well, I managed to stay on topic for the third week in a row. I finish up the down and dirty methods this week.


Quick and Dirty Physical Products Part Three

by Jim Green

Picking up where I left off last week....

Graphics

Kunaki does provide free graphics you can use in your projects. However, they are the sort of free graphics that tend to look generic.

Here are three simple tips to help overcome this problem.

Number One, think like a graphic designer. Think about your “message”. Does the photo you've chosen support it? It’s amazing how easily we become “blind” when we're dealing with our own products. We do tend to choose images associated with our own personal “symbols” or tastes. You have to do what a well-trained graphic designer or illustrator would do – be utterly objective, and think of the project. And what it’s all about.

Number Two, pay attention to your text. When I say “text”, I'm not talking about writing. I'm talking about fonts. Many people don't realize that when it comes to a marketing graphic, fonts are design elements. Your fonts should also support your message. There is only one time where this rule is superseded: Never use a font that isn't clear and easy to read. No matter how appropriate the style might be. (And pay attention to your text placement on the page!)

Finally, you can license quality clipart on-line, as well as photos to put into your books quite inexpensively - for as little as $1 per item. It is worth it to do this, since “free” clipart usually requires licensing payments anyway, if you want to use it for commercial purposes.

Books

If you want to avoid binders altogether, you'll likely have the option of buying your own spine binding machine that allows you to use the plastic ring combs. They run from $136.99 (process 24 sheets at once) to $729.99 (does 450 sheets at once). The higher the prices, the faster the machine works, and the more sheets you can process at once.

You can get a GBc ProClick special punch from Staples machine that will punch up to 6 sheets for $78.99 at time of writing, set up for GBC ProClick snap together spines (comes with special tool for adding and removing sheets safely.)

Logistically, however, if you had even an order of 30 books, making them up 6 pages at a time is rather a daunting thought. Lulu.com – Allows you to create your own publishing products in batches from 1 to 1000. You can have them produce:

  • Books
  • Calendars
  • Cookbooks
  • Photo books
  • CDs and DVDs

And you can get a “buy now” banner or button to put on your website to use as a link to drive your sales through to Lulu. You can also offer your books through Lulu in both eBook and paperback (complete with ISBN and bar code). Costs vary greatly with each individual project.

If you still want to produce your own cover illustrations, or print covers right onto CD’s you plan to burn and distribute yourself, be sure to upgrade to a colour laser printer. These usually start at around $300. There are cheaper colour laser printers, and it’s a good idea to check them out in person at your local Best Buy, Staples or office supply store – you'll soon get a feel for what features you need and which one is right for you. (Just make sure you ask about toner costs and options!)

If you want to outsource the whole thing, here is a site with a number of Fulfillment Services. Please note that I have not tried any of them, so cannot make any kind of recommendation. Business.com.

And don't forget Kunaki, if you're thinking books on DVD or CD.

Graphics

A professional illustration means exactly that. And professional means that the graphic has to support you and your personality (if that’s important to your book), your message, your subject – and of course, be original. So where do you get graphics like this?

You can download royalty-free photos very inexpensively from places like iStockPhoto.com or Big Stock Photo for as little as $1 for a small photo and $21 for the largest version.

For clipart, try Clipart.com. (They also have sounds, illustrations and “vinyl ready” artwork.) And if Climate not planning to use any more graphics for a while after your Big Project, they allow you to purchase a handy one week subscription for B.A.S.5, instead of locking you into a long term subscription like most of the larger stock companies do.

Just remember that stock photos or illustrations, while not as lackluster as popular canned images, you do not receive exclusive licensing rights: you may come across your photo on someone else’s website or product one day.

If B.A.S. planning to use them on a physical product, do choose the 300 pi. resolution option – 72 or 96 dpi is for web use only.

Video

Kunaki is still the best option for duplication and shipping (and no there is no affiliate link!) – but you can beef up the quality of your product by upgrading your production methods with better recording and editing equipment.

Video Editing Software

If you really would rather not use one of the free programs, you could purchase video editing software such as Blaze Media Pro audio/video editing converter – only $50.00 at time of writing (and a 19 mb download). This program has deluxe features for a low budget price. At time of writing they are offering a free 15-day download and trial. You can also opt to receive your free trial on CD - shipping charge applies.

Another video editing program that I use, and comes with enthusiastic reviews is CyberLink PowerDirector 7 Deluxe (“Ultra” will export to Blue Ray!). At $69.95, it doesn't cost much more that Blaze Media pro. I like the fact that it lets me use .MOV files.

Among all the other bells and whistles, it has a process called “Magic Clean”, which allows you to add sharpness, contrast, brightness and other clean up techniques usually reserved for static photography. Its “Magic Fix” feature can also steady video that is jerky and uneven. It does not seem to work with .WMV, however, other than to export it to your computer in that format if so desired. But on the other hand, it does allow you to save to MPEG-2 – the best format for burning video on DVDs. And it does burn discs.

Another unique feature is the “picture within picture” capability, and you can lay multiple audio tracks. CyberLink Power Director 7 Deluxe is more “newbie” friendly and less complex than Blaze Media Pro. And there are four versions with various different features, ranging in price from $49.95 to $119.95 at time of writing.

The best laid plans are prone to change, I had planned to finish talking about the software and equipment that I use, but it appears that I haven't exhausted this topic yet, so look for the final instalment next week.


Final Notes
from Your Faithful Editor

For a complete step by step video tutorial on domain flipping, including how to find good keyword domains, how to add value to your domains, and where and how to sell them for the highest price, check out 7DollarDeal.com.

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