I thought i would write a little about the books i have read to expand my understanding of the microstock business. It's not a massive list of reading so don't worry.
Actually my book shelf currently contains 2 books on microstock specifically, a few on photography in general and one on the 3D software 'Blender' Program.
As i do hope to get back into 3D at some point in the future i thought i would add my thoughts on "The Essential Blender" publication also. But first:
Microstock Photography - By Douglas Freer
The title captures your attention in the first instance: "How to make money from your digital images". It starts off by giving a little background on how the microstock industry got started, how it has grown and progressed into what it is today after which you start to get an idea of what it takes, or rather, what mental attitude to take, to be successful at microstock.
There is background info on the top microstock sites out there and how they function (subscriptions/credits etc) and although that part is slightly out of date due to changes in pricing and the like its still helpful to read through especially if you are completely new to microstocking.
Chapter 3 "what sells and what does not" is very useful in that it reminds us that even the greatest landscape photo in the world probably wouldn't sell very well for stock if there wasn't any 'copyspace' to one side of the image for the potential buyer to stick their company logo or text on! There are plenty of full colour images as examples downloaded from, yes you guessed it, istock/shutterstock etc to show what sells and more importantly WHY it sells.
There is a chapter on the technical side of submitting photos to sites: The noise reduction, white balance, checking histograms etc as well as further advice for the home photographer on setting up a modest home lighting studio.
I particularly like chapter 10: Case Studies. In which a number of microstockers give their experiences and their earnings details from 2006 across all the sites they had a portfolio. Certainly that was 2006.. and it's now 2010 but all the same.. interesting reading.
The last chapter is all about copyright, trademarks, model releases etc.
These are by no means all the chapters or a complete list of everything in the book. It's just the parts i recall and remember stuck in my mind when i read it. Of course, i still read it and go back for inspiration when i feel the wheels are turning a little slower than i would like them to.
All in all i found it a good book. Interesting and useful but not patronising or overly detailed with a 'light' writing style that didn't make unrealistic and grandiose promises of massive amounts of money 5 minutes after putting it's principles into practice . I would recommend it to anyone already starting out in microstock. And if you haven't even started uploading your images to DT or SS yet then i would seriously consider reading this book more than once before you even attempt at submitting your images to stock sites. It will save you a lot of rejections!