Fine Art Photographer Jenna Martin shares a LOT of great advice on finding publishers who may want to license your photography for book covers. It’s a nice little niche you may want to consider!
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How to Get Your Photography Published
for Book Covers with Jenna Martin
Making the Calls
- Contact publishers
-Search their website and find or call and ask for their Creative or Marketing Director.
-Explain to them what you do.
“I create fine art photographs for book covers.”
-Send an email with a link to your website and portfolio.
-Small to mid-size publishers will be more apt to work with you one on one.
-Large publishers may give the same “assignment” to multiple photographers and then choose their favorite – which may not be yours.
Make it Easy for Them
- Make sure your website:
-contains a collection of your BEST work
-is easy to navigate
-is clean and well organized
- Create several mock-ups to show how your work can be used.
- Learn to shoot with negative space in mind to leave room for text.
Licensing Your Images
- Most publishers will have a standard contract. READ ALL OF IT!!
- For your protection – if possible, have a lawyer read through the agreement.
- Most licensure agreements will be specific for distribution and marketing of ONE SPECIFIC book. IF it sells well and there are alternate methods of distribution (ex. movie posters) there should be a clause to create a NEW contract for continued use of the image.
- For some images, you will be giving up the COPYRIGHTS. YOU decide. If it’s a favorite or striking image that sells well for you on its own, you may just want to license the use of it while retaining the copyrights.
- Selling the copyright for the image will be more $$ than licensing the image for use.
- ASK QUESTIONS!! If there’s a section that you don’t fully understand or that you’re not comfortable with, don’t settle – make them fix it.
- Look at other contracts (online) Are they paying you enough?
- Average price $800 – $1500 per cover
Tips for Success
- Go to a bookstore or library and study the covers. Take note of how negative space is incorporated and the types of images that are used as wrap-arounds.
- Don’t take rejection personally. Send the emails, make the calls, and keep submitting your work.
- Become proficient with creating and editing with your software. When publishers ask for edits, it will take less time and effort.
- Read more books and talk to authors. Find a genre that fits with your style of images and pursue it.
- Don’t be afraid of publishers. They want to sell books for their authors. It’s ok for them to be picky. Trust them, they know what works.
- Avoid being overly critical of framing/positioning of your subject. Let them worry about it. Their creative team will manipulate your image to make it work. Just SEND it in!
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