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  #11  
Old 08-05-2003, 02:43 PM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Actually, blink, HP has been selling pretty well. If you take a look on Amazon, it is the #2 Elements book...I've been pretty happy with the response, which is rarely negative.

About all that other stuff...Installation instructions appear on screen when you are installing the free tools. I would hardly say that an automated installer is "intimidating". If you have a better means of building the installer, I am all ears...

The free tools were primarily meant to fill requests for people who already bought Hidden Power. I will give people tools if they want them. While I was at it, I figured that other people might want the tools and that they might enjoy having a look at more than just samples. This seemed to fit the bill...and by adding a few little things it seemed like a promotional opportunity.

Who does it attract? Not really the novice. The novice is a great audience, but it isn't mine. I am not going to show people how to use a brush and such -- it isn't the point of the book. For the tools to fit with the book, they should be advanced. They are.

That there is little instruction with the free tools is really a matter of investment. I have limited time and resources...and really authors don't end up in chauffered limos. I have to write more books, get to my regular job, etc. I simply cannot support writing extensive documentation for tools that I frankly think are secondary. The primary tools are in the book. Those are described and are pretty darned useful. I am of the opinion they are all you really need. Supporting the free tools creates redundancy...and beside, anyone is free to ask questions here or on the newsletter or directly through email. I am not hiding. Tell me the questions and I'll answer. The free tools also provide some quick market research: what do people really want? What do they have questions about using?

I understand your points, and agree with a few. It may be better not to supply tools at all than to get people frustrated. Well, I guess I give users a lot of credit, and refuse to sell them short -- so I also guess I am willing to frustrate a few. People have trouble installing Elements for goodness sake...nothing is foolproof. These same people (not always) will probably not be the type of user the book was designed for. I had a choice: give away free tools, let them sit in a digital drawer, charge for them. I thought I was doing a nice thing by giving them away. Perhaps I should reconsider. I have probably hundreds more. Quite frankly, I think these are pretty well supported in comparison to a lot of other freeware you might try.

Am I doing more to sell Photoshop than Hidden Power? I don't think so. Not everyone has 700$ to spend on a program that they might not really need. Are the free tools supposed to be the solution? Nope. If they were, WHO WOULD BUY THE BOOK?! If I market the free tools and they have the full benefit, then I fail to sell ANY books to people who find them and learn them...and think that is all there is to it. Lots of people think the free tools are all there is in Hidden Power and that they don't need the darned book...I can't seem to make that clear either. So many people go to install te tools before reading the introduction that they don't know the password...One thing I have found is I can't force people to read much, and I can't disseminate information so everyone gets it. Some people love the free tools...Some think they should be magic, like they assume Photoshop will be. If for nothing else, they should be happy I saved them 700$.

I am sorry you had trouble installing the free tools. I am really not sure what to do about that. I might be able to make the installer more intelligent, but frankly that is NOT my forte. If someone changes the name of their Elements program folder (people do...I know!), making it smarter might actually cause MORE failures.

So...all that said, I appreciate your time. Believe me, I've what-ifed this to death. It is really the first advanced book for elements, and perhaps that alone makes it a stretch. It also makes it unique in the genre...if you want beginners books, there are about 40 of them. And perhaps its OK if it helps people advance to Photoshop -- as I write books for that too! I do know I will probably approach it a little differently next time -- and will probably have to as the program changes (I expect Adobe to remove even more on the next go-round than they did between 1 and 2, but have no idea what will happen).

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time...but I think this train is on the downside of the mountain. We'll see what happens next version.
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  #12  
Old 08-05-2003, 03:41 PM
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2003blink 2003blink is offline
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Ok richard, I understand perfectly now. I am sorry if my best intentions were not understood. In short, I think you should get rich and be able to retire off your book. That was the motivation.

Thanks and all the best wishes for your growing success!
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  #13  
Old 08-05-2003, 07:00 PM
pmarchant pmarchant is offline
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I've only bought two Elements books, the second being HP (the first I don't recommend at all).

I found I didn't need a beginner's book; I learnt by just playing with the program and going through the Elements tips on Jay Arraich's site

Obviously everyone is different, but it's worth checking out what's on the web first before forking out on a beginner's book. (Like me you might find you don't need the beginner's book, and the money you've saved can go towards the HP book instead )

Paul.
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  #14  
Old 08-06-2003, 10:05 AM
BobJones BobJones is offline
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Of all the photo books I've purchased, there are only two I would consider buying the 2nd edition. One is Katrin Eismann's Photoshop Restoration and Retouching (which is now available). The other is Richard's Hidden Powers.

If I were a graphics professional making my living in the field, I would have the full Photoshop, no hesitation. However, I'm not and I don't. Yes, there are things in the full Photoshop that I would find useful, but Elements, along with the core tools from the book, satisfy most of what I need. The free tools are a nice touch but Richard is correct. The ones in the book are the primary ones.

If Adobe removes more basic capabilities in the next version of Elements (or removes the ones that Richard has provided the interface to access such as curves), I don't think I would purchase it or recommend it to my friends.
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2003, 11:18 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Bob Jones Said:
Quote:
If Adobe removes more basic capabilities in the next version of Elements (or removes the ones that Richard has provided the interface to access such as curves), I don't think I would purchase it or recommend it to my friends.
Well, there are potentially other ways to work around things that they remove...It really depands on what they do. Who knows, they may open the program up MORE...quite possible. I also agree with you on Katrin's book ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...02/newwriting/ ). She is very good at what she does and has more of the timeless type of technique I use and try to preach.

Blink Said:
Quote:
I understand perfectly now. I am sorry if my best intentions were not understood.
Blink, I think you were trying to encourage me, and I appreciate it. I'd hoped the book would have made more of a splash, but some things take time. I doubt I'll retire on it, but I'd settle for making way so I can spend more dedicated time with it.

Paul Said:
Quote:
it's worth checking out what's on the web first before forking out on a beginner's book.
Perfect. I think this is absolutely right. Between the manual (which does tell you how to use the tools -- just not the context) and online tutorials, most users should have the opportunity to learn the basics virtually for free. Anything else is something I would hope would appear as a question on the newsletter and here on the forum! No need to buy a basic book to outgrow in a few weeks...[I won't ask which you WON'T buy...]
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  #16  
Old 08-07-2003, 10:15 AM
BobJones BobJones is offline
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Richard,

Thanks for your comments. I really do agree with you. I would be pleased if they open up the program more but they may also decide it was too open and tighten it up.

I'll be looking very carefully at the feature set of any new release will try the trial version. If there are reasonable and practical workarounds for things removed, great! But if they removed something that I felt was important to me and there isn't a workaround, they would need some awfully compelling new capabilities. Like you say, it depends on what they do.
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