Hi, I have some great photographs and today especially I have one/maybe more, that I know is "Excellent". How do I go about selling a photograph to newspaper/magazine? What are the first steps.... and can anyone recommend book(s) on this topic? Thank you!
Give us a little more information. What's the photo about and maybe even post it in the Gallery area. Chances are that if it's not timely news, you won't sell it to a newspaper. And newspapers are very cheap anyway and you would more than likely either have to GIVE it to them or be paid $25 for the image. Either way, it's not worth it.
Magazines are a different story, but most don't accept work on spec. Some do though and these are the ones you need to try. Be prepared to beat the bushes to find that someone who's willing to buy that image.
Look at magazines on the news stand and see if you can find anything suitible that prints your kind of photos. Buy the mag and study it thouroughly. It will usually say in the fine print if they will take unassigned work. You can also look them up on the internet. Most have websites and will have guidelines for writers or photographers. If they don't you can send a quick note to an editor...but do not pester them. They usually answer in 1 to 2 months. Be patient and wait....
Magazines are usually working 3 to 6 months ahead of the present month. And it can take up to 3 or more years before your work maybe used, with some of them.
I agree with Mark....show some of your photos in the gallery and get some comments and critiques.
If you want to sell to the newspapers the best way is to get to know the editors. I work with a couple newspapers in my area and I know the editors from them. When I have a good shot or cover an event they didn't I call them up and let them know. I then put the images on my website and they will let me know which ones, if any, they would like to use.
It is nearly impossible to sell a photo unless it is spectacular and newsworthy. A newspaper will occasionally buy a picture for a few dollars (it isn't worth the trouble). Once in a great while a single photo will sell in a photo magazine. Check with Photographers Marketplace.
The secret is to create a story. A story alone without a photo isn't worth much and likewise a photo alone without a story isn't worth much. Write a story and illustrate it with several photos and it stands a very good chance for publication. You may not be a great writer but if the idea is good and the photos are good they will re-write the story and publish it.
In the marketplace start out with less well know publications since they really need to fill "white space".