Getting creative when thinking of new ideas to self-promote your photographs can be beneficial. One of those ways should be creating and publishing a photo book; this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your artistry.
The downside is actually getting your book published. There are a few hindrances when doing this since the production costs can be a bit high, and it is common for publishers to expect the photographer to cover all the publication costs.
Here are some questions you may have before embarking on this journey.
Where do I even start?
The first thing you will need to do is narrow down your audience. Understand what your audience wants. When you have that nailed down, selling to a publisher will be much easier. Research everything about your audience, including what engages them. A publisher will most likely pick up on an engaged and active audience. Every successful photobook has one thing in common - understanding its audience.
The next thing to understand is that you might turn a small profit. However, doing this can take your photography career to the next level. Think of a photobook as an in-depth business card and an expensive portfolio.
How to make a deal with a publisher?
Before you prepare to make a deal with the publisher you chose, make your own list of terms and conditions that are important to you. You want to prepare yourself when the time comes to negotiate your contract. Each publishing house works differently and will have its own asks. They might decide based on your reputation, book design, target market, and other aspects. You might even get lucky and find a publisher who will only require you to pay for preproduction costs. If covering your publishing expenses scares you, you can always use an external fund site like Kickstarter. You'd be surprised how many people would be willing to invest in your project.
Be your own best salesperson.
You know your material and should be your own best salesperson. When making your pitch to a publisher, you need to do your best to convince them that your work is a good investment for them. Research the current bookselling market - Amazon, and understand their algorithm. Typically, before the book comes out, online publishers will release a page. This is crucial to engage with your community and drive sales.
Besides knowing your audience and who the book appeals to, you will need to have a few more selling points to pitch to a publisher. Some publishers even require several presales before the book can fully be published and go press. This is where having connections will go a long way. You need more than just a "like" on Facebook to give your book some legs. Highlight what your photo book is aiming to achieve. Please list all the items your photos capture and what emotions they appeal to. This is where you want to focus on your photo book's niche.
What type of marketing should I do?
You will need to market and promote the heck out of your photo book to get recognition. You must self-promote through social media to get the book's name. You could also seek out a gallery and give your book as a portfolio to help promote it. You can also send material to social media sites that cover a genre of photography. If your niche is pet photography, many Instagram accounts focus on just pet photography. Sending photos to them to give you credit can help promote your work and book.
You could cut costs by designing the book independently if you have design skills. If not, you can hire an editor and/or designer to help with publication design, including unique papers, foldout pages, and more. This cost can have a varying price range.
Will you receive any copies?
Traditionally, publishers will give around 50 free copies. You may even have an opportunity to purchase some at a discount and move them yourself.
How many publishers should I reach out to?
This will depend on your own hustle. You may send it out to a few or 30 different publishers. Some publishers might even offer a publicist that they will pay for. Publicists can help with marketing and sales.
And once you publish one photo book, the chances of having more come to fruition are higher! Just remember, publishing a photo book will take an investment in your time and money.
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