Now that I have my zine set up for sale on my website, I am considering a number of options to promote it.
Potentially, I could leave it as is for the duration of the Landings exhibition to see if there is any interest in the publication. This would be reliant on organic sharing of the work, which thus far I have not been successful with. What was the most valuable during the launch if landings was doing the 90 second Instagram Live video with Bekkie, which actually provided me with some great feedback in the comments and I also have since had a few additional followers and messages about the work.
To capitalise on this, I could promote the work through Instagram via a sponsored post that targets an audience interested in such publications. There is a great deal of debate as to whether this is actually worthwhile, some noting that sponsoring a post through Instagram is quite limiting with mixed results (Speer, 2019). Even though, I have only had limited engagement after the Instagram live, this does feel like the most successful way to increase an audience for my work.
That said, I find Instagram useful to share work quickly but it can become more of a time-consuming distraction in the hunt for likes and shares. More and more I am thinking that direct forms of marketing would actually be more effective in putting my work in front of people actually interested in commissioning and licensing images. There is still a lot of value to be had from the platform but other sites, such as Linkedin may actually be a better option as a way of achieving this. However, I am still reliant on a proprietary platform to share and market my work.
Another option that I am intending to do is use the zine as a marketing tool and send it directly to editors and other potential audiences (Fig: 1). This has the benefit of cutting out the use of social media platforms, which are noisy and is easy to get swallowed up within the sea of images already present. Sending my zine directly has the benefit of placing a tangible photographic object into the hands of someone who is potentially interested in the images. If they spend all day looking at work on a computer screen it also has the added benefit of a changed experience for the viewer.
It is crucial that I research carefully into which publications to send my zine to, in order to match my work with their output. Editor of Huck Magazine, Andrea Kurland notes that it is important to match the work that you produce with the ethos and values of the magazine you are pitching to and to not create generic pitches that target a large number of publications (Kurland & Creativehub, 2020, p. 32). A focussed approach in sending out fewer higher quality pitches is what I should be doing. Therefore, I have identified 15 publications to send my zines. I will mail these and, which will also contain a cover letter and business card and links to the gallery on my website.
Clementine Schniederman noted during her guest lecture (2018) that French Newspaper ‘Le Monde’ tend to be interested in British themed stories (Fig: 2), so this will be one of the publications that I send my zine. My project from the view of a media publication could be used to illustrate some kind of editorial, or opinion piece on the current situation. As I am looking at community, connection, and identity, these are all things that have been fundamentally affected by the pandemic. Much of the media will be reporting on the human impact and post-analysing of the event, which is where my work would sit together with supporting copy (Fig: 3).
Kurland also discusses the importance of considering how the image will work with the broader context of the publication. You might be more valuable to them if you can also write, or at least be able to supply images together with words, whether your own, or in collaboration with a journalist (2020, p. 32). This makes a lot of sense as the images may be fantastic, but there is nothing to contextualise them.
I have had some experience with feature writing to accompany my images whilst working as a freelancer, albeit for the travel and lifestyle work that I used to do (Fig: 4). Words in support of my current work is quite a significant difference, although I am aiming to develop this through a number of essays that I have written during and between the modules (Fig: 5). I did produce an editorial style experiment earlier in the module (only posting now because the zine took over), which utilises images created for the last module together with a short article I wrote on the impact of covid-19 whilst trying to find a place to live. I have not taken this any further just yet, but it was valuable to think about how my images can work with words and also how they can co-exist on a magazine-style layout (Fig: 6).
Figure 6: Phil Hill (June, 2020) Editorial spread exploration using images and text together [click link to download].
Another avenue that I am interested in exploring is sharing my zine with the ‘Self Publish Be Happy’ library, as it states:
“Since issuing an open call in 2010 the library has received over 3,000 self-published books and zines from photographers around the world and become a key resource for academics, researchers and anyone interested in contemporary photography and visual culture. It continues to be open for submissions and anybody can send us their book.”(2020).
This of course is fairly generic and my zine would get swallowed up into the many others that already exist there, however on a personal level I quite like the idea of sharing my work in this way and it seems much more focussed towards other photographers and artists who are interested in the medium.
Kurland, A. & Creativehub, 2020. How to show your work. 1 ed. London: Printspace Studios LTD.
Schniederman, C., 2018. Guest Lecture, Falmouth Flexible. Falmouth: Falmouth University.
Self Publish Be Happy, 2020. Library. [Online] Available at: http://selfpublishbehappy.com/library/ [Accessed 29 July 2020].
Speer, M., 2019. Promoting Your Instagram Posts: Is It Worth It?. [Online]
Available at: https://medium.com/@realmikespeer/promoting-your-instagram-posts-is-it-worth-it-e80787f59c31 [Accessed 29 July 2020].