The Value of Self-Publishing
receive it if they wish to.”
In November of last year, Phillips
released SALT in an edition of 500
clothbound, hardcover books of 40 pages,
containing 17 color images. She is selling
the book for $39.95 via her website using
the Big Cartel shopping cart app. The
book is also stocked in select stores in
Australia, Japan, France and the United States, including Printed
Matter in New York.
The challenge of self-publishing was a “logical extension” of her
work, Phillips explains. “As a photographer, you’re always trying to
teach yourself how to do new things … The fact that there were certain
hurdles to deal with made it more interesting,” she adds.
She had previously only made books in small editions, so part
of the challenge was to figure out which printing process was best
suited to her project and her goal of a larger print run. She liked
books produced by Japanese publishers, so she arranged to travel to
the Reminders Photography Stronghold, a gallery and residence for
photographers in Tokyo, and to attend the Tokyo Art Book Fair. There,
she made decisions about the production values she wanted. Phillips
designed her book herself.
The cost of printing in Australia was prohibitive, so she found a
printer in Asia, which she admits was not “ideal, because my deadline
and budget didn’t permit me to travel to oversee the production process.”
Instead she communicated with the printer via email and Skype.
Because the books are offset-printed, it made sense to make 500 of
them. “Once the [printing] plates are complete, it’s more economical to
produce larger quantities,” she notes.
Phillips has promoted the book herself, reaching out to publications
she likes, though she says most often she’s been approached by websites
and blogs interested in featuring the work. It’s Nice That, Slate, Emaho
Magazine, Monster Children and other sites have featured SALT.
ABOVE: “Plate IV” from SALT.
Phillips says she enjoyed the
challenge of learning how to
publish her own book. “As a
photographer, you’re always
trying to teach yourself how
to do new things.”