Light & Land

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Behind the Photograph - Charlie’s favourite photographs and how they were made

21st April 2020

Dear friends of Light & Land.

I have just published my most recent book, Behind the Photograph, which I am happy to say is doing well. I published it myself under my own imprint Flung Publishing.

It brought with it many considerations that I thought I would share in the hope that some of you may consider publishing a book of your own work.

These days, there are more photographers publishing books of their work than ever before. It is truly wonderful that this is the case.The number is growing, yet very few of these books will be available through traditional bookshop outlets. Years ago, the rather derogatory phrase of ‘Vanity Publishing’ was applied to those who went down this road but now publishers and distributors have become a little less cruel and have rephrased the term to ‘self-publishing’.

From the outset, I endorse and applaud ‘self-publishing’. Get our photography out to the wider world is what I say!

If self-publishing is your chosen way, then there are many considerations. In the main, the primary ones will always be establishing the market and a realistic focus on distribution, promotion and storage of stock. Then comes courage and self-confidence and if the decision is still to go for it, there will be decisions about design, book format, ISBN application, the number of pages, whether to publish in paperback or hardback; woven in with decisions on content, text and testimonials from well-known bods saying what a wonderful photographer you are.

Then follows decisions on timing such as catching the Christmas market etc. An associated exhibition, perhaps, along with a launch party. Where would the exhibition be held?

Then sourcing reliable printers (UK, Europe or Far East) and requesting samples. There are very many other factors that those in the publishing industry will point out, do ask advice of fellow photographers about who will guide and advise.

You can buy Behind The Photograph from

There will always be the burning and often agonising question to be answered of ‘print run’, often followed immediately by loss of confidence once more.

How many shall I print? Another encouragement to dare to print more is the seductive reduction in print run costs if the run is decided on being higher.

Confidence in healthy future sales predictions may well result in increased print run numbers therefore bringing the unit price down. Makes sense... or does it?

Conversely, loss of confidence (combined with a realistic, less fanciful outlook of predicted sales numbers) brings a reduction in print run costs, yet of course an increase in unit price. What to do?!

When confidence returns and with it a little more of a gung-ho attitude, a greater print run might be chosen.

Of course, there are alternatives to all of this scary stuff. There are many companies like Blurb and PhotoBox with whom you can publish a book albeit at rather a high price. Going down this road make large print runs uneconomical.

The conventional way would be to have an idea, create a strong book title, write a one-page A4 overview of your book, build a portfolio of your work and call to make an appointment with a traditional publisher.

In this manner, risk is taken by the publisher and whilst your royalty may not equate to what you may have earned had you self-pub- lished, you will become published; which was, after all, your ‘goal’.

Either way, do consider publishing and sharing your photography. Oh, and have confidence.

One of the many human characteristics that often accompanies any creative endeavour is lack of confidence. So, walk tall and publish.

Light and Land

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