- Alan Bulley
Pressing Business: The Snap Collective Publishing
Alan Bulley gets the scoop from publishers in our new series of interviews with publishers, including a Q&A with Dr. Philipp Müller, Founder of Snap Collective Publishing
About Snap Collective
Snap Collective is an innovative and unconventional publishing concept, founded by Dr. Philipp W. Müller, designed to help to bring to life portfolios of international photographers and artists. The idea behind Snap Collective is to give artists a possibility to publish a photo book or a portfolio of their work by offering a streamlined platform with some of the best printing and distribution partners, the support of a design team and more.
Snap Collective works with Print-on-Demand technology, which means there is no financial risk involved and artists can print books as they are ordered. The artist receives a discount on all purchases and also receives royalties.
What is your view of the publishing market?
Excellent photographers deserve to publish a book. A book is both an old-fashioned—and at the same time innovative—way to communicate with fans and followers. It ennobles every photographers work.
How do you choose what projects you publish? How far in advance do you work?
Our editors are qualified and know what to do. I trust their decision making. If the editor and the photographer agree upon a new project the cover can be ready in three days and the pre-order campaign starts immediately afterwards. As soon as the project reaches a threshold of 25 pre-orders it has its “GO!” from the market. The photographer chooses the pictures for the book block and our designers are quick. About a month later the book is available in our shop and later in bookstores and online worldwide.
What has been the most commercially successful book you have published?
Sorry to disappoint you, but we are not interested in best sellers. If a book sells 25, 50 or 100 copies we are more than happy. Most of our titles reach this goal so they are all commercially successful. Our concept is based on the long tail economy—in other words lots of niche titles bringing our success.
What makes an effective proposal from an artist?
The proposal generally comes from us not from the artist. Our editors are always searching for amazing photographers and sending them our proposal. They are looking for outstanding works AND the artists ability to communicate in a professional way to fans and followers. This means that our proposal is to publish an art book for free, so that you can invest your time—rather than your money—to communicate with your fans and followers about the book.
What sort of financial arrangements do you have with artists (dealing with up-front costs, revenues, etc.)?
The German word for “publisher” is Verleger. To us, that means that it is the publisher — and only the publisher — who invests money. So, there are no up-front costs, no obligation to buy a certain number of copies, etc. Yes, it really is for free under two conditions: 1) that the photographers work is outstanding; and 2) that the photographer is willing to invest time communicating with fans and followers about the book. Once a year the photographer receives 12% royalties. That’s it.
How involved is the artist in book design?
It depends on the photographer. Our designer creates drafts and deals directly with the photographer. In some cases, the photographer does the design.
How do you market and distribute the books you publish? Where do they go? How many copies do you print on average?
During the pre-order phase the photographer does the pre-marketing with his or her community. We provide information and concrete help on how to reach the minimum 25 advance-sales to trigger production. Once the pre-order finishes successfully we offer the book to wholesalers worldwide. And yes, it’s then also available at Amazon.
What one message would you give photographers who want to publish their work?
Don't hesitate, just contact us! If you like to communicate with your fans and followers, you could be the right artist for us.
What's your dream publishing project?
SOLO by Mimo Khair was a dream project. When Madara, our editor, talked to Mimo for the first time there was an immediate “flow.” When she came to our office, I felt I had known her since my school days. She is a very sensitive and positive person, and she impressed me very much by sending handwritten letters to her friends and presenting her book by this old fashioned but lovely way. All of this led to a big success in terms of sales.
What's one thing that would surprise our readers about your work behind the scenes?
My wife and I, together with our eight kids and lots of crazy dogs are behind the scenes. We are an international, family-owned business based in Warsaw, Dusseldorf, Kyiv, London, and San Francisco. More places are coming as we grow!
Find out more about the SNAP Collective - HERE.
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