With so many free online publishing resources they present creative people the chance to showcase a body of work in a convienent and professional way. They certainly seem to be one of my driving forces to getting my commerical photo and design work shown to a wider audience.
Last year I used Blurb to create 7 x 7" softback books of my photo styling portfolio to send to styling agencies (this was when I was considering looking for representation in photo styling). I worked for weeks to create this book and mailed a few off to see what might happen. (p.s. there is no feeling like sending your work out into the world to see what opportunities might arise from it). After two interviews with agents I found that this was not the right time in my life to make this leap into the freelance world, perhaps someday. Netherless, I got to meet some great people in the commercial photo industry and was able to get a feel for the pros and cons about working with an agent. So to summarize, Blurb is a great free book software that offers you a chance to upload and format your professional looking books to keep or send out into the world.
I've been focusing my energies on doing this same type of thing again but this time with the help of ISSUU. ISSUU is a publishing media that gives its users the opportunity to publish professional looking online magazines minus the professional price tag. It seems to be the YouTube for print. Check it out for yourself. Browsing through the open library is like hanging out in the aisles of Barnes & Noble. I'm still working out some kinks but here are a few cover pages for my ISSUU mag that I have been working on. What do you think of the graphics? Should I keep them or dump them? I think the grease pencil markups add to the design of the pages and are meant to refer to the editing process that makes this whole thing (eventually) come together.