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Thursday, October 28, 2010

End of Day 1 PhotoPlus Expo

This is today's last post. We'll be picking it up first thing tomorrow, and promise all kinds of surprises, including video. It's been a long but good day that ended on a perfect note, with a Sony AmericanPHOTO party that was exactly what we needed. There was great food and drink, all in a wonderful space with amazing work projected across huge walls. I want to thank Brain Smith for the invite.

One of the highlights of the day was the Darius Himes/Mary Virginia Swanson "How To Publish Your Photobook" seminar (a book with the same title will be out Winter 2011). They are both wonderfully engaging speakers, and so giving with their information.

Some of the important points they made were:

1. Own the domain name of your book. Know how to use social media to build a strong audience for your work.

2. Is your book a S, M, L or XL project?

3. Know how to talk about your book. Does your idea have a clearly defined subject? What is it?

4. Figure out who your audience is and be able to spell it out. Do you know how to reach them?

They suggested you really do research--looking at a lot of books to understand what different publishers look for, what kind of books they publish, what kind of paper they use, etc. Spend time on the publishers' website to understand who they are and what they can offer. Know that it is very rare for publishers to take blind submissions. Try to build a relationship with a publisher--portfolio reviews can help you in this.

Darius talked about his company, Radius, and what kind of books they publish. It is not in the publishing a photo book where the money can be made, unless there is a way to spin off things like calendars, cards, etc. Money can be made back through limited-editions done in addition to the trade publication. But if you're looking to become rich through publishing you will be disappointed.

Both touched on self-publishing and made the most important point: If you are not able to be the one and only--to be able to handle all aspects of getting your book out there, then it isn't for you. There are so many facets to putting a book out into the world that it is important to remember that your book needs to have a life of its own--it is a book, it is not your photographs. And that is an important and vital distinction to remember.

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