Monday, January 20, 2014

Photography for Writers

This week’s post is an unashamed plug … but one I hope that will be of interest to you. (I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

Last week, I took delivery of the author copies of my latest book, Photography for Writers, which isn’t scheduled for publication until 28th March. However, if I have my copies then the chances are it’ll be available to everyone else sooner than the official publication date. 

The aim of the book is to show writers that it’s possible to offer photos with your work, even if all you have is a mobile phone, or a compact camera. Writers who can offer photos with their work stand a greater chance of getting their words published.

I was running a workshop on this subject at a writers’ circle on Saturday (well, I was drumming up support for the book) and part of the workshop involved looking at the letter and filler pages of some of the women’s magazines. We identified that the vast majority of readers letters to a magazine’s letters page were accompanied by photos. Now these weren’t photos taken at a photographer’s studio - they were shots captured on a mobile phone.

We also identified that many of the filler pages (such as those asking for household tips) all used photos. Indeed, eighteen months ago, That’s Life magazine paid £30 for a household tip, but £50 for one including a photo. In last week’s issue they only paid £50 for tips with a photo. In other words, they are no longer interested in word-only tips - they want all submissions to include a photo.

The market is changing. Digital photography means that everyone is capable of taking a publishable photo. And magazines are highly visual products. This means that articles need illustrating too. But don’t just take my word for it. This is what three magazine contributor guidelines say:

Best of British: “Articles that are accompanied by pictures stand a greater chance of publication.” 

Evergreen and This England magazines: “Illustrations, whether photographs or drawings, improve the chances of having your material accepted.” 

The Green Parent magazine: ” The availability of photos enhances the appeal of your article to us.”

Editors are busy people. Finding photos takes time. Writers who can supply some photos to accompany their words are making the editor’s life much easier and are therefore increasing their chances of success.

So, if you want to know answers to questions like:

- Do I insert the photos into my manuscript, or do I send them as separate attachments?
- Do I need to ask people’s permission to take their photograph?
- How do I caption my photographs?
- How do I take better pictures without having to read the camera’s manual?
- How can I use my camera as a digital notebook?

… and many, many more questions, then you might want to take a look at a copy of Photography for Writers.

ISBN: 9781780999357 – £7.99

(An eBook version will appear shortly after publication of the print version.)

Good luck!