A new 8 part miniseries where Ottawa Photographer Tony Fouhse takes us through his new project, from the first photo to the book launch. Tony is an internationally exhibited and collected photographer who was formerly a full time editorial/commercial photographer. These posts originally appeared in his newsletter HYPO which you can subscribe to here to see more of his work visit his website here.
To pre-order Tony’s book go here.
Anatomy Of A Project
Episode Nº 6: Hype
In the past I’ve always written (and posted) about my projects as they were in progress. I’d post lots of photos, write about my ambitions for the work, my approach and process, and (mostly) about how confused I was.
That seems to make people feel closer, more engaged with the work when it finally appears.(Not that that’s the reason I do it. The reason I do it is so I better understand what I’m doing, what I’m working towards,)
But I’ve kept this new project (The Garden) pretty much to myself, only written about it tangentially, only posted the occasional picture.
Now, though, it’s pretty much done. The edit and sequence finalized, the dummy made, the final post production of the files complete. All that remains is the hype and the launch. But the thing is essentially ready to release.
And when I release it, I’ll want to “move product”. By that I mean I’ll want people to see and be engaged with the work, and buy the book.
So I’ve been wondering: How do you move product?
Of course there’s not any one way that’s best, there are many paths. There’s the seduce-the-powers-that-be option (not my style). There’s the pay-to-play option (I refuse to participate). And the spend-the-next-year-or-two-promoting-the-work option (I’d rather work on something new).
So perhaps a better way to phrase the question is: What’s the best way for me to move product?
I asked my newsletter readers some questions about this matter. Here are the questions, along with their answers . . .
1/ Would you feel more involved with a project (and more likely to buy the resulting book) if images and other details were shared as the project evolved?
One person said they would not feel more involved but might buy a book anyway. The rest were very interested in the process, said that that engagement made them feel attached to the project and more likely to buy the book.
2/ Does it make any sense to post the complete project on my website and/or send it around for some free hype a few months before offering the book for sale?
One person thought posting the complete project made sense. All the other respondents thought it would be better to show an extract of the book. But there was a variety of opinion as to how much to show. Some thought a couple of pictures and short text would be enough. Others wanted to see “more than a teaser” so they could figure out whether it tickled their fancy (or not).
3/ Is there an optimum month to release a book?
Almost everyone said it didn’t matter. A few respondents were quite sure September was best, but May was also good.
I would have asked “What’s a good way to launch a book, especially if, like me, you want to operate as much as possible outside the Academy and Gallery System”? But I already know the answer to that question . . .
My most recent book (Endless Plain) was launched a year and a half ago. I knew some local photographers (whose work I respect) who were also launching books around that time. We banded together, arranged to exhibit our work in two exterior locations, had an opening/book launch and a few other events. Turned the thing into a Mini Popup Foto Festival.
Involving more photographers in a launch makes sense. Each brings their own group of people – and a greater buzz is created.
Because Victoria, Ian, Ava and I were working outside official channels (the academy/ white cube system) we were able to pull the whole thing together in just over a month. Lots of people attended the opening, we sold a bunch of books and, bonus – during the two weeks the photos were on display many passers-by stopped to look at, think about and discuss the pictures, I’d call the whole thing a success.