My Down & Dirty Dilemma



I’ve got a two-headed problem on my hands, and I guess I brought it on myself, so now I have to try and fix it myself. 

For the entire first half of my career as a Photoshop educator, I was probably best known for teaching Photoshop special effects. It started with my “Down & Dirty Tricks” column in Photoshop User magazine, and then that grew into one of my best selling books ever; Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks (A whole book of nothing but special effects), and every Photoshop seminar I’ve ever done has included a “Down & Dirty Tricks Class.” In fact, I’ve been doing a Down & Dirty Tricks class at nearly every Photoshop World Conference & Expo since the thing started back in 1999. 

So, here comes the problem. For the 2nd half of my career, I’ve been focusing on teaching Photoshop for photographers, or just photography in general (through my “The Digital Photography Book” series), so now most folks probably know me better as a Photoshop & Photography trainer.

I guess that’s why some people are so shocked (or even disappointed), when they come out to my new “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks” seminar tour and learn that I’m not teaching Camera Raw, or printing, or color correction, or sharpening.

Of course, it doesn’t mention that I’ll be teaching any of this on the Web site, or in the mailer, or  here on my blog, but some people still showed up expecting that I’d be teaching my photography workflow, and they were kind of cranked when I didn’t, and instead I did what I’ve been doing in the “Down & Dirty Tricks” column in Photoshop User for nearly 10 years—teaching commercial Photoshop special effects.

That problem is now extending to my new book, “Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks.” I saw on (link) some really harsh reviews because the book isn’t what they expected. If you read the reviews, you can see they were expecting another Camera Raw/Sharpening/Color Correction book but that’s just not what that book is all about—it’s to teach all the latest Photoshop special effects—the same ones we see used on the Web, in Print, in Ads, in Hollywood, and in magazines and all the techniques are grabbed directly from what you see in that media every day. It says all that right on the book itself (the back cover is shown above—click on it for a larger view). 

One reviewer said that Type effects have no use for photographers (it’s only one chapter of the book mind you, but if you’ve caught my “Designing with Type” class at Photoshop World, you’d probably disagree that type has no use for photographers), but again, it’s just one chapter. Anyway, besides telling people here on my blog, on the Web site, on the front and back covers of the book, I’m not sure what I can do to change people’s perception of what the book is, who it’s for, and why it’s OK to write a book that’s not on Camera Raw, not on sharpening, and instead one that unlocks the power of the other side of Photoshop. 

Any ideas you have to help me get this message out to potential readers (before I have an average review of 1-star, which at this rate won’t be long), I’m all ears.

Should I do a video clip? Should I rewrite the Amazon description? Should I do something else? I’m all ears, because I put so much work into that book, and I’ve gotten such amazing feedback from readers who totally “get” what the book is all about, but I’m also getting some really harsh feedback from people that bought it that shouldn’t have. Any suggestions would be warmly embraced. :)

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