Overview

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Introduction

Photography books have never commanded greater interest than they do today. Over the past 15-20 years, interest in photography books has grown at an accelerated rate, due in no small part to the welcoming embrace of photography by the contemporary art world. Each year, hundreds are published worldwide, collected and hunted down by the obsessed—many sold at triple and quadruple their original retail value. They provide an artist a passport to the international photography scene; exhibitions, talks, gallery walks, book signings, and press interviews are all brought into being through their publication. Both the supply and the demand seem to be increasing.

In this atmosphere, the opportunities for publishing a book of one’s photographs have never been more plentiful. Now more than ever, both aspiring artists and established professional photographers ask, “How do I get my project to a publisher?”

With the publishing field constantly expanding, the need for a guide to answer that question and to point out the various avenues to pursue and pitfalls to avoid is obvious. Publish Your Photography Book is written with photographers in mind. Its sole aim is to crack open the door to the publishing world and lead the reader through an exploration of this rich sphere.

The book is assembled into six sections. The first section, “The Photography Book Phenomenon,” initiates the reader to the history of photography book publishing. From the early 1990s to the present, there has been a burgeoning number of publishers, particularly small art publishers, on the international scene, while at the same time technological developments have placed more and more tools for bookmaking directly into the hands of artists and photographers. This two-fold growth in the field has been coupled with an academic interest in the history of the photography book, and the confluence of these trends has led to a renaissance in the medium.

The second section, “The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing,” provides an overview of the publishing industry. Regardless of whether you intend to self-publish—making a book by hand, contracting parts out to various specialists, or utilizing print-on-demand (POD) technology—or are seeking a trade-book publisher, this section reveals how publishers think and the decisions they make in taking on a photography book.

The third and fourth sections, “The Making of Your Book” and “The Marketing of Your Book,” respectively, look closely at the actual process of making and then marketing a book of photographs. Every stage is covered in detail, including the conceptualization of a book and delineation of the editorial content, the design and production process, and finally the creation of a comprehensive marketing strategy, which covers what to do leading up to and just after the official launch of the book.

Case Studies,” the fifth section, is built around discussions and interviews with published photographers from across the spectrum of the photography world. There is nothing more informative than learning from real-life examples. The sixth, and last, section, “Resources, Appendices, and Worksheets,” contains a wealth of resources and information to aid in your understanding of the publishing industry and in preparing your work for publication. Here you will find lists of independent bookstores, publisher submission requirements, author questionnaire forms, sample timelines, and other publishing industry and book arts resources designed to aid you in moving forward toward a book of your photographs.

Throughout the book, numerous examples of published photography books illustrate the diversity within the field. The range of approaches to a well-conceived and well-crafted book of photography is virtually unlimited, and photographers of all types have expanded our horizons through their creativity and engagement. Ultimately, this book is about our inherent desire to communicate, about creating and manifesting one’s creative vision in book form. Photographs can be disseminated in many ways, but as a book it has a lasting appeal to a very wide audience. Publish Your Photography Book speaks to, and with, all the readers, designers, publishers, typographers, and, of course, the photographers who have ever wished to see a book of their photographs out in the world.