It was during the conference wrap-up at Photoshop World, just after Larry Becker’s presentation of the Guru Awards, and I’m sitting backstage when my show director told me it was time to get ‘mic’d up” for my closing comments to the crowd. I headed over to the audio crew, and while they were running the mic cable down the back of my jacket, I looked up at one of the huge screens and saw that my book publisher, Nancy Davis of Peachpit Press had taken the stage and was addressing the crowd.
When you’re backstage, if you’re not wearing a headset, you can’t hear the audio from the stage (the audio speakers are on the other side of the curtain, facing away from you, so I can’t actually hear what Nancy is saying — it just sounds like muffled voices, but a graphic appears on the center screen and I see covers of my books from over the years appearing quickly one-by-one, and then I am absolutely floored to see the headline “Over 5-Million Copies Sold!” in huge letters across the screen. My jaw dropped. I literally had no idea. The last time anyone had shared an overall sales number was when I hit 1-million, and I figured they would have told me when I hit two million, but not a word until that moment. I was stunned.
I ran up on stage, hugged Nancy and thanked her, then looked out at the wonderful cheers of a standing ovation from the Photoshop World crowd, with my loving wife Kalebra in the front row (who knew about it all but somehow managed to keep it a secret). It was all pretty overwhelming, but it was at that moment that I realized I should say a few words. I was not at all prepared to make a short speech, but I stumbled my way through this surreal moment and left the stage a bit dazed and amazed.
Now that I’ve had a few days to come back down to earth (and get some much-needed sleep), I want to do it right. I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who have read my books, passed them on to friends, shared photos of the covers, tweeted about them, written blog posts about them, did reviews on Amazon, created YouTube videos about them, or just dropped me a line to say thanks.
A very special thanks to my amazing wife Kalebra — her fingerprints are on every book I’ve ever written. Thank you for being my idea generator, sounding board, advice desk, tie breaker, creative consultant, and for getting me through some really tough books that I otherwise wouldn’t have survived. She is my partner in every book we create, and I couldn’t do any of this without her (and wouldn’t want to). Thank you, my love.
I’m indebted to my in-house book editor Kim Doty, and my Art Director Jessica Maldonado. They are a big part of the reason for those sales, and they are as committed, and talented of a team as there is in this industry. I consider myself very blessed to get to work with them each day. I am surrounded by an incredible team here at KelbyOne and pinch myself daily that I have the job I do, and the best team in the business to help me produce these books.
Getting to write books is a privilege and one I never take for granted.
I’m very thankful to Nancy Davis and her team at Peachpit Press who are so committed to making books that really help people. I’m honored by the readers who’ve taken a chance on me and my books, and for any of their success in Photoshop, Photography, or Lightroom that I contributed to even in the smallest way, I’m forever grateful. Seeing their success and progress is a thrill and it keeps me wanting to write more books, to share the latest things I’ve learned, and to keep us all moving ahead doing the one thing that we all want to do — to simply make better images.
Thanks for letting my books be a part of your photographic, Photoshop, and Lightroom education. It is truly an honor.
The 5 millions thanks go to you Scott for all what you did for the photographer community. The support, the services, the inspiration and all the amaking things you gave us to improve. So, 5mio thx back to you from Bangkok
Thank you, Olivier! :)
I bought a few of those books and I still rely upon them regularly. I somehow managed to get multiple copies of both the Portrait Retouching book and Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It. They are wonderful guides and I’ve recommended them more times than I can recall.
Congratulations on hitting this milestone. It’s a testament to the value of what you offer to the photography world.
Thank you, William – and thanks for recommending them, too! )
Congrats, Scott. I too, like so many, have several of your books in my library of photography subjects. Thanks for all of the sharing and teaching that you do and for the fantastic reference material that you provide.
Thanks for the kind words, Florian :)
Congratulations, Scott. I’m not surprised, actually, as your tutorial books are some of the clearest, most accessible, easy to understand and useful books on my shelf. You’re a boss. Keep up the great work!
Thank you so much. :)
Congrats! – you’ve done in the photo industry what many before you have tried, but failed. You’ve built up a remarkable business and brand. Thanks for all the good info in your blogs
Thanks Johan!!! :)
Scott, I was glad I was there at PSW to see that moment. Just seeing the amount of books that you have written pop-up on the screen one-by-one was a sight to behold. Congratulations on this major accomplishment! I have a dedicated shelf in my bookcase for my Scott Kelby books, and I treasure all of them. Every book is well written, and easy to follow, and I refer to them often. You’ve made a huge difference in my photography and Lightroom skills over the years and I can’t thank you enough. Thanks again for all you do!
You are very kind, John. I greatly appreciate your support and friendship, these many years. It was great seeing your smiling face cruising around Orlando at PSW. :)
I just turned around and looked at my bookshelf. Nine SK photography titles. Then I checked my iPad-Kindle app. Three more. (Well, one duplicate, Lightroom Mobile). I’ve purged a few over the years (titles that cover old, old versions) but kept one out of date title (7-Point System). That one is autographed — it has a special place.
I even have “Its a Jesus Thing”, which isn’t about photography, it’s about life, and faith and so much more.
I’ll make you a deal. You keep writing. I’ll keep buying.
Above all, hearty congratulations to you, Kalebra, and the team that makes it happen.
Hi Steve; Nine titles!!! :) My kid’s college tuition fund thanks you! (I’ll pass on your comments to Kalebra and the team).
Congratulations Scott! I too started with you way back with your magazine articles and Down and Dirty for Photoshop 5. Three of my Kelby books are signed by you, and I still use all of them as a reference when necessary.
You are one of the main reasons I can use Photoshop so well today, and for that I’m extremely grateful! Keep up the great work!
Thanks, Mark. I hope to one day sign a fourth. :)
I am just so grateful that the first book I purchased to help me with Photoshop was one your books! Your commitment to helping people become better at photography and all that entails is just astounding. Your enthusiasm and amazing ability to make a difficult subject understandable to those of us struggling to learn is just part of why you’ve sold those 5 million books.
Congratulations on a HUGE milestone and Thank You for making my journey that much easier and enjoyable. Please don’t stop now!!
Thank you so much, Judy. :)
Well deserved Scott, and Congrats!!!
Your books & training were instrumental when I first started learning photography & photoshop. K1 continues to be my go-to place for photoshop, Lightroom, and photography training!!
Currently I own 5 print books and 4 ebooks. I’m pretty sure I’ll be at 11 or 12 books by years end!!!
Awwww, you’re a good man, Alex. Many thanks for the support, and kind words :)
Congrats Scott!!! I’m finally fixed and recovering, will hopefully make next PSW so I can see all my friends again!!!!
Hope to see you there, Ken! Glad you’re on the mend.
Thanks John..for sure! I put this off for a year and it got unbearable, I’m one week into recovering. It’s a lot better now than it was the day after!!
Congrats on the awesome number of book sales :-) I have a handfull or so of your books. Speaking of writing, can you tell when Lightroom CC book is up for a fresh edition ? as I remember, the latest is from 2015
Thanks and keep up the good work
Congrats on 5 million Scott! My copy of “How Do I Do That in Photoshop” is slated to arrive tomorrow. I enjoy your writings as well seeing you on The Grid and other social media.
Where did the Photoshop Guys go….Corey is still there but what happened to RC and others?