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How to Promote Your Self-Published Photobook

Marianne Stenger
12th September 2017

If you’re planning to self-publish your first photobook, you’re probably wondering what you can do to get the word out and promote your work. We’ve already shared tips on things like working out your photobook’s theme and designing a cover, and these are definitely important things to think about.

But regardless of how great your photos, layout and book cover may be, without proper promotion, your photobook simply won’t be flying off the shelves. Here are five steps you can follow to promote your self-published photobook.

Identify your target audience

Before you can start promoting your photography project and photobook online or in person, you’ll need to identify your audience in order to make your marketing efforts count.

Ask yourself who would be most interested in or identify with the subject of your photobook and then figure out how to target this demographic. For instance, would it be interesting to foodies and cooking enthusiasts or would it appeal more to parents of small children?

Once you know who is most likely to be interested in and purchase your photobook, you can do some research and gather information such as what publications they like to read or which social networks and websites they frequent.

Choose the right publisher

Choose your photography publisher wisely and look into their distribution policies before you commit to anything or make a significant financial investment.

Many companies can print your photobook, but not all of them offer distribution. If this is the case, the responsibility of selling and distributing the books will rest fully on you as the photographer, which means you’ll have less time for promotion and marketing.

With Bob Books, photographers can take advantage of the print-on-demand online bookshop. This means you can avoid the risk of having to print and purchase a certain amount of copies in advance, and makes the process of publishing and promoting the photobook more doable.

Don’t wait until after the book is published

The promotion of your photobook should start even before the book is available for purchase, as this will help you drum up some interest in your work and the photobook you plan to publish.

If you don’t already have your own website, start by creating one that features some information about yourself as a photographer as well as a separate section or page that’s dedicated entirely to your photography project and the resulting photobook.

The next step is to look for ways to generate some interest in the book, which can be done in a number of ways, both online and in person. For instance, you could look for local galleries that would let you display some of your work, contact relevant publications that might be interested in doing a blog post or feature about your project and start sharing teasers with your followers on social media.

Engage with your audience

The best way to sell your photobook is to actually engage with your audience and start a conversation, because no one likes to be talked at. Fortunately, social media has made it easier than ever to engage with your fan base and potential customers on a more personal level.

Some of the ways to engage with your audience include crafting descriptive posts that use compelling language, asking relevant questions, encouraging people to share their feedback or opinions and, of course, responding to messages and comments.

You should also look for trending hashtags that are relevant to your photography project and photobook to make sure your messages and posts will reach the widest audience possible.

Keep at it

Promoting your photobook isn’t something you can do once or twice and then forget about. In order for your photobook to reach as many people as possible, you have to create an ongoing marketing strategy.

If you really don’t know where to start or feel that you just won’t have time to promote your photobook, you can consider hiring a freelance publicist. Many freelance publicists can be hired on an hourly basis and will be able to help you put together a marketing plan or, depending on what your goals are, contact publications and galleries on your behalf.