Posted by: nancyisanders | October 24, 2013

Highlights: Photo Research

As I’ve been working to self-edit my manuscript and read over it multiple times looking for various weak spots, I sat down and did some photo research.

Highlights says that “slides, photos or art-reference materials are helpful and sometimes crucial in evaluating submissions.”

So I’m planning on doing some photo research to include with my submission.

If you’ve never researched your topic before, you’ll be starting from scratch. It will take you some time to dig around and learn what photographs are out there and who has them in their collections and how much it costs for a publisher to use them.

Don’t feel as if this is a waste of your time, however. Just plan on using all this research in a future writing project, too. Plan to write a picture book on your topic or a blog post about your topic or another magazine article about your topic or even a nonfiction book about your topic.

A good place to start digging around is to look in the back or front of published books on your topic and find the list of photograph credits. Look where those authors got their photographs. Library of Congress? Private organization such as Corbis? Historic society, famous library, or museum?

Then, one by one, explore each of those sites and click on links to find out how someone can acquire those photographs, too. You might have to actually e-mail someone for a price list or a price quote.

Now, if you’re writing about a topic for Highlights that you already wrote about before, you might already know what pictures are out there and how to acquire them and how much they cost. I chose to write about a topic I’ve already researched, so I was able to dig up most of the photo info I needed pretty quickly in several hours.

Highlights will probably be most interested in photos they can acquire for free for at low cost, so I’m including those kinds of images in my submission. Here’s what I did:

Step 1:
I found 3-8 images I want to include in my submission. I got the official name of each image, the contact info, and the pricing.

Step 2:
I created a word document to be an image log of potential images I want to recommend to Highlights. This would fall under the category of “art-reference materials.” I inserted a low-resolution image of each picture in my word document. After each image, I typed in the name of the image, the contact info where that image can be found, and a ballpark figure of the pricing. (Pricing might differ slightly according to what right Highlights acquires.) I printed out a copy of this word document and put it in a folder marked “Image Log.”

Step 3:
I downloaded a high-resolution image of any public domain pictures from the Library of Congress or other free public domain sources that I’ve found. Highlights requires 300 dpi so I double-checked that the resolution is high enough. I burned these images on a disc. If you can’t find any free images in public domain of your topic, don’t despair. You don’t need to include a disc if your topic doesn’t have these images available for you to burn. An image log is sufficient.

There! My photo research is done and ready to include with my submission. I printed out another copy of my image log and put it in a folder marked “Submission.” I put the disc in this folder, too.

I also printed out the e-mail I just got back from the “expert” who sent me a short review to include with my submission. I added this to my “Submission” folder, too.

I’m starting to feel really good at this point. I actually have a folder marked “Submission” now where I’m putting things I’m gathering in preparation for submitting this. I’m tweaking and polishing my first draft and guess what? I no longer have a first draft! I have an official work in progress. Hopefully you do, too. Wahoo!

So…….How’s your photo research coming along? Do you have any questions? I’m not super tech-savvy in this area, but I’ve worked on several books with photographs, so I know a little bit and am happy to share what I know. Plus, I’d love to know how you’re progressing along your journey, too.

And be sure to hop on over to Irene Roth’s Fearless Writer’s Blog where Irene is hosting Day 4 of a 5-day post about my books!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: