Tips For Publishing A Fine Art Book

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Publishing a collection in the form of a fine art book can be daunting. Now that I’ve completed my second photography book, I wanted to share some notes that helped me conceptualize and execute a project that has many moving parts.

  • Organize

A book is always comprised of different parts, which must flow together well. In a literary book this could mean the beginning, middle, and end of a plot. Photography books share this need for organization. They need to tell a story and undoubtedly when you place two images side by side, they begin to talk. The cornerstone of my organizing is lists because lists help me plan and process large amounts of information into smaller, more attainable parts. Once I have a plan, I can begin to execute it.

  • Create Content In Steps

Content creation is the bulk of a fine art book. It’s all about decisions. What kind of content will your book have? Will there be accompanying text, page numbers, inserts? How will you achieve the content and content flow that you desire? Everything about this step relies on process. The decisions made as you continue to create your content may be affected by your process, morph, or change direction. This is why you have your content organized, because undoubtedly art changes as it is being made. New ideas seemingly spring from the moment, and can sometimes exceed your expectations. Creating content in steps allows room for these changes without deeming them mistakes or leaving good work on the cutting room floor.

  • Stick To A Timeline

Creating a fine art book can be expansive, and it’s hard to know when to stop, or where the project ends. When you have your goals organized, and you’ve spent the necessary time creating your content, you’ll feel better about the end of the shooting portion of your project. I always set aside a good deal of time for editing, which always seems like it will be easy, but ends up taking the bulk of your time. Your collection is not complete without a sequence, and after your images are primped and ready, the puzzle of sequencing begins. Sticking to a timeline helps you set hard goals and allows you to rest when the work is done. Don’t let things drag on, know when to let go and be satisfied with a body of work.

  • Get New Eyes On It

You’re only as strong as your subjectivity. I exhibit extreme bias with my images. Sometimes I like certain ones with irrationality. This is problematic for being a proficient editor because you lose sight of your own project in your messy head of thoughts and emotions. Having people you trust take a look at your work can make all the difference in pointing out the simple things you probably missed. Take criticisms and sit with them before brushing them off or sticking to your original ideas. You have to let these suggestions marinate before sending your work to print.

  • Make A Publishing Rollout Plan

The release of a fine art book can feel overwhelming. To make this process easier, you also need to make a rollout plan for your work. When is the best time to release this material? Will you create supporting marketing material for your book? Where will you send your press release? Will you send a message to your subscribers alerting them of the news? These considerations need to be thoughtfully addressed because there is no sense in devoting so much time to a large undertaking that no one will know about or view. Once you feel that you’ve got a calendar of events, you can roll your collection out slowly, pacing yourself and allowing for your fans to have new discoveries along the way.

I hope these tips can help you the next time you want to exhibit your passions through the medium of a photography book. They are unique and special, with a language all their own for telling a story. With a little bit of focus, anyone can create a stunning piece that is sure to excite audiences.

Nicole Capobianco