Read a Book Today

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

It’s National Read A Book Day.

Did you know that reading improves memory, concentration and reduces stress, which is why I like to read a book in bed each night before falling asleep. Studies have show that older adults who spend time reading show a slower cognitive decline and tend to participate in more mentally stimulating activities over their lifetime. Books are expensive entertainment, educational and a time machine!

Most photographers dream of accomplishing two things in the publishing world: The first is being featured in National Geographic or maybe Playboy and the second is showcasing their photography in their own book. I can’t help you with that first goal but can, at least a little, with the second.

Let’s start at the beginning… Why do people write photo books? I think that they do it for three reasons

  • To become famous
  • To help people
  • To make money

The proportion of each of these aspects vary depending on the particular writer. As an aside, I once told a book publisher those three reasons and she asked, “who said that?” and my answer was “I did!” If you’re interested, my reason for writing all of the 37 books I’ve published so far is #2.

Unless you are very, very lucky—notice I didn’t sale talented—you won’t ever get rich writing a photo book or even get a chance to publish one. And in case you’re wondering, my most recent book is Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers. As I write this, copies are available from Amazon for $18.70 with used copies for $17.28 as I write this. If you’re a Prime member, the new book is cheaper. The original cover image is shown above right and provides a peek into how the photo book world operates. This was the only time a publisher picked a cover photograph that I really liked.

Now to the bad news: Everybody’s been almost everywhere and photographed just about everything. To book publishers this means who is making the photographs is more important than where they were made.

Unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube or Twitter, the chance of having a photography book featuring your photographs of Yosemite or Monument Valley are slim but you’ll have a slightly better shot of having your work showcased in a how-to book. To publish a how-to book, you don’t need an agent and believe me finding an agent to accept you as a client is harder than finding a publisher for your first book. But in today’s publishing world having those hundreds of thousands of social media followers will make it easier to publish a how-to book because most publishers don’t want to market your book. They want you to do it.

In the meantime sit back, relax and read a book and use #ReadABookDay to post about it on social media.


Let me make a reading suggestion: Pick up a copy of Michael Freeman’s book Black & White Photography: The timeless art of monochrome in the post-digital age. Amazon is selling it for $16.37 new or only $10.43 used, as I write this. It’s a great read.