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I would appreciate ANY advice on publishing photography books. I have now got a writer and a graphic designer who are helping me but what to do next. I am not a business woman at ALL and I know there are the Vanity Press options, which would be the best option there? I know one has to be pretty famous to get actual publishing houses interested so I am aware that is almost impossible but I do feel that this Klein Karoo series would make quite a nice publication. Thanks all
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No it's not impossible - but does take a lot of hard work and persistence to get a publisher interested.
I don't have any experience of publishing books of photographs, but the actual process is the same whatever the subject, and I have seen three books of my own through to publication. The first thing to do is loads of research. Find publishers whose list contains books of a similar style to the one you are planning. It's no use contacting, for example, a publisher that only does fiction or children's books - but you would be surprised how many people do just that.
Once you have found a suitable publisher you then have to persuade them that yours will be their next best seller. Send them a taster - perhaps the first chapter and a selection of images, then sit and wait patiently. If they turn you down don't get despondent - it isn't necessarily that they think your idea is a bad one, may be merely that they have something similar planned, or have reached their quota for the forseeable future. Just go to the next on your list and try again.
Vanity Publishing? Well it always used to be said that if a book was good enoughyou should be able to find someone to pay you to print it, rather than you having to pay them However, there have been many very successful privately printed books, and if the subject has a limited appeal that's the only way to go (I think a publisher has to have something like 3000 sales to even think about breaking even, let alone make a profit). The problem with Vanity Publishing is not the publishing/printing of your book, rather it's the sales and storage of it.
I have a son who works in publishing so if I can be of any further help, just pm me.
There are two options
1 find a publisher who will take on the project
2 do it yourself
If a publisher does it. They will take care of everything from production schedule, to contracts, to printing, storage, marketing, sales and promotion, placement in wholesalers, exhibiting and storage. A good publisher will make sure it's seen. The down side is they take a major share of the revenue - you end up with about 10% of the nett revenue (on a book selling for £15 you'll get about 60-70p) The contract they produce will usually state that they also own the title.
Do it yourself, like we did, and you have to organise everything, which isn't too difficult. The difficult bit is knowing how many to print and then getting them in the eyes of the public.
Take us as an example, excluding the hardbacks that we had advanced orders for we had 2000 softbacks printed. We then started to sell them through the site and via a distributor. The distributor takes care of the retail channels, but you are never sure whether they are doing a good job. We haven't sold anywhere near as many as we hoped through that channel. And every month you are charged for storage.
We have sold about 1500 of those books and it's taken two years. When considering these figures bear also in mind we have over 400k people visit our site each month. Now our book is a popular subject, but a saturated one, and the book wasn't in the mass production publisher price. So a niche book at a lower price may do much better. Certainly if you market it well.
If you do it yourself make sure the storage aspect is thought through. The books need to be in a secure and dry environment.
Have a look at lulu - they seem to be a good option for self publishing in smaller quantities.
Get hold of a copy of the Writers & Artists Yearbook.
Try contacting book publishers directly. The book used to give advice on presenting work to publishers and gives you all the details on who to contact. It most likely still has a section on presenting your work.
The one I have linked to is for the UK, but they may be available in different countries.
I've traveled across the Karoo - wonderful area.
Many thanks to all of you, this will really help.
Get a copy of the Writers and Artists yearbook as linked and approach the agents. In the current publishing climate it's the only way not to end up on a slush pile.
A good many of the houses, small and mainstream, won't look at works not submitted by agents.
One mans monograph method. A slightly different slant, but it might be interesting.
another method would be the Blurb type route and only sell on demand of course.
Quote: A good many of the houses, small and mainstream, won't look at works not submitted by agents
Not true for non-fiction.
ever seen a slush pile, Sheila -
The publisher of "Outdoor Photography" / "Black & White Photography" also publish books and have had adverts in those magazines for people to contact them if they think they have a good proposal or need some guidance.
GMC Publications based in Lewes, East Sussex
May be worth contacting them in the New Year
With any publishing you have to take a step back and say, can I make money from this, because that's how the publishers look at it.
Why will people buy it?
A few years ago now, I had a company all set to go with a book and the only reason they jumped on board was that I had a forward/chapter written by a man who was as they say 'a housewives favourite.' I'm not to precious to get wounded by this - it's how it is.
Sadly, he went and died and quick as Larry, the publishers jumped ship.
It came down to why would people buy it. Photographic editions are often bunged into the coffee table category, often touted by people as the quality end of the market, but in reality the decorative end of it - nothing more than things to adorn spaces.
And that question of why would people buy it is one the publisher will ask you. What makes your work any different to those around it, when those around it will be by more recognisable names.
One quick route is to be seen in the right places first, a good prominent exhibition, a well sold piece will often spur the money to start talking.
There are many great books never published because it's all about money.
Quote: Ever seen a slush pile, Sheila -
Fortunately my books didn't end up in one
Quote: One quick route is to be seen in the right places first, a good prominent exhibition, a well sold piece will often spur the money to start talking.
There are many great books never published because it's all about money
Sadly that's all too true. Publishing IS all about making money, and TBH most books of photographs won't make any - no matter how good they are.
They will and do, otherwise they simply wouldn't get published.
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