photo book publishing path – part five

The fifth, and final, installment of a five-part series on getting your photo book into print from my photographer friend Sara Frances. Start with Part One.

Getting your Book Out There

Thought you were done, once You’ve done a great design and edited away any little errors?! To make your book findable on the web, on Amazon, in libraries and stores you must have an ISBN (with barcode for the cover) and preferably also a Library of Congress number. The LOC is a free sign-up on line, the ISBN will cost $35 as of last report at Bowker.com. Don’t forget to copyright!

John Fielder is a star with his extensive line of fine landscape books and accessories; this image from Colorado Black on White. Note this is a chapter heading page, reading like a story.

Warehousing, distribution, wholesaling, fulfillment

You’re ready for the next part of the game: warehousing, distribution, wholesaling, fulfillment, and PR. Unless you have a huge garage, insured, heated to accommodate several pallets of heavy, bulky boxes, you need a distributor. And are you planning to take orders, pack and ship, take returns, vet stores for their business licenses and payment, collect and report sales taxes, keep track of inventory? Not a wrong answer; especially for a limited, short run doing this yourself makes sense.

Here’s the reason I enjoy John’s work so much: he writes little experiences about his hikes, the weather and unexpected things he encounters in nature. Not just picture books!

A possible distributor

My distributor, Thin Air Collective is run by Melissa Serdinsky (formerly of Perseus and Ingram). She’s decided to go the small business route to help artists, photographers, memoirists, and poets in particular. She’ll do it all the warehousing, order taking, credit card orders, store vetting, fulfillment, and accounting for you for a minimal fee, and I tell you she knows everyone and everything in this highly volatile industry. Both wholesaling (to an outlet that offers books from many difference publishers as a convenient on-stopper to stores) and special purchase sales (bulk purchase to a library system, non-profit, or corporate incentive gift) are under her purview as well. Tell her I sent you: melissa@thinairpub.com.

Early on, John decided to fill a niche with a series of self-published, regional interest books. He does everything, including high profile web sales and in-person appearances at special interest events, not just book stores. He’s a consummate promoter.

Promotion

But you can’t just rest and expect the orders to come in. PR on virtually all books, even by high profile authors, require a hands-on approach by you! Gallery events, gallery or bookstore or other venue talks (don’t expect a fee, and some venues require a minimum guaranteed book purchase or an organizer fee.) Facebook and Instagram are essential. Blog and postings weekly to lure readers with extra content are essential. No, you don’t continually ask, “Buy my book!” You give readers tips and anecdotes and insider information they can’t get elsewhere. Your public wants a connection. Start a mail list for your book: ConstantContact or iContact seem to be favorites. Offer gallery prints as a special deal along with a signed copy of your hard bound edition. Have links that make it easy for people buy. It’s a continuing job, but the public will love you for the value they receive!

Marty Knapp is another fine promoter. He emphasizes fine art print sales, but books and accessories help support his gallery. His email list is probably equal to John’s—and the model for the rest of us as we get started!

Sara Frances

author photo sara francisSara is a many-decades Master Photographic Craftsman out of Denver whose artistic focus has always been book making with images. Her albums won PPA merits starting well before digital capture, as well as for what is believed to be the first ever awarded portrait album. She has evolved from daily, shorter-term studio photography into exclusively special projects of long commitment. Her second hybrid photo/memoir art book, Fragments of Spirit, now published under her own mark, Photo Mirage Books, is available mid-December 2020.

Renewing her lifelong interest in creative writing, she was recently was accepted for Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Poetry Collective, graduating a year later with a forthcoming hybrid work marrying over 275 manipulated iPhone images with 120 poems: What to Wear to Paradise.

Her three-year quest to learn all facets of the art book industry has influenced her to give back with hands-on publishing classes. She is a judge for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and for Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA.) She teaches for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Denver, for PPA Super One Day seminars, and also mentors hybrid image/text projects.

To find Sara on social media search SaraFrancesPhotographer or email – imagination@photomirage.com

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