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7 tips for pitching to photobook publishers

1 year ago

© Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy, 3rd Place, Professional competition, Still Life, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Publishing a photobook is high on the wishlist for many photographers so we’ve got seven top tips to help you on one of the most rewarding creative processes. If you enter the Sony World Photography Awards and are successful in your submission, your image or series could be included in our annual book. Our 2022 edition is available now.   


We all respond so much more to a beautiful object rather than an email or PDF, so we recommend putting some time to create a physical maquette of your book. Your dummy book doesn’t have to be a work of art, or expensively produced, it can just be a blank sketchbook you’ve picked up from your local art supply shop. If you make it clear this is just to show the overall concept, content and message your want to convey with your book then it will serve it’s purpose. 


Rather than sending multiple concepts, or even pitching a series of books, keep things simple and put forward one strong idea. Take your time to really think about what you feel is your strongest project - ask yourself why someone would want your book in their collection. 


Self-publishing is a great avenue to take if you have a highly individual book you are planning on releasing as a small print run. Combining your self-publishing adventure with a crowd-sourcing campaign is a brilliant way to market yourself.  


Take your time, with your submission, don’t rush it. A fully considered submission is much stronger than something’s that half-cooked.  


Finding the right publisher for you can make the pitching process all the more positive and pleasurable - there’s no point in approaching a fine art publisher if your dream is to create a zine-style street photography book. Take a look at your bookshelf and see who publishes your favourite books, it’s likely they’ll be a good place to start. 


Publishers get inundated with submissions, so try and find out what your desired publisher is looking for and what will make you stand out from the crowd. Gerhard Steidl, our Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient from 2020 says: ‘When the book captures my attention, when I learn something and see something I’ve never seen before, then be sure it can be a Steidl book.’ 


Creating a book is a long process, so be open to changes while also staying true to your overall vision.