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Selling to Calendar Publishers

Calendar publishers produce many thousands of calendars a year and getting an income from this method of selling calendars means you are selling your photographs only, the publisher already has the client base and infrastructure to sell the calendars.

Large publishers generally use picture libraries/agencies to find the photographs they want to use, but they are open to new material from individuals, if targeted correctly. The first thing you must do is to make sure you study what they have used before and this can be done by checking out what is available in the marketplace in the High Street, and other retailers, or online at websites such as Amazon, but also by getting hold of the publishers catalogues to see what is being offered to their clients. Take a look at Calendar Publishers and B2B Suppliers listed in Calendar Further Information.

It is probably more critical when selling images that you are able to produce precisely what is required in respect of subject matter, quality and format. Doing your research beforehand will enable you to get noticed. It is also a good idea to find out when they are going to be looking at new submissions. Whilst many will consider new work at any time, some only select at certain times of the year or when they are renewing their range. Some will be working a very long way a head of schedule, so it may be sometime before you see your work produced. Some like Judges based in East Sussex have a Photographers Submission page where you can contact them with details of what you  have to offer.

So what is required

Usually you will have to submit between 20-30 photographs, and once on their books they will tend to supply you with a ‘wish list’ and to existing photographers they have used before. Typically they will use 2-3 different photographers for a calendar so that they are not totally reliant on one.

Terms and Fees

Typically they will pay between £75-£400 for UK rights.

Once they decide if they want to use your photo, they phone to check you haven’t already assigned it to anyone else and if not, then take on the right to use the photo for 1 year only and in return pay you a fee, during which time you are not able to sell the rights of that particular photo to another calendar publisher. Their contract terms usually only specify that you cannot sell the rights to another calendar publisher, so that leaves you with the option to be able to go on using the photo for other publishing ventures. However in some cases, particularly where you have been commissioned to take a specific image for them, this may not be the case as usually these terms restrict that the image is only for them to use. If they want to use the same photo again another year, there will be another fee.

Finding Calendar Publishers

There are many calendar publishers and you can find them listed in guides such as:

  • Freelance Photographers Market Handbook (annual handbook of the Bureau of Freelance Photographers)

  • Writers & Artists Year book (annual)

  • Photographers Market (annual publication with mainly US and Canada publishers, but with today's global economy and the internet there is no reason why they should not be approached).

  • Online Search for Calendar Publishers or Calendar Printers

There are also companies who sell to the corporate marketplace where they offer their clients the opportunity to overprint on their calendar designs and use them as marketing aids for their businesses. We've all seen one in the office from the stationary supplier, or in the case of garage mechanics, the tyre company. These can be found via an internet search using the following keywords such as Commercial Calendars, Business Gifts, Business Promotions.

See also Calendar Further Information for links to calendar publishers.

We have many other articles looking at different aspects of calendars from producing to printing them, to getting an income from them, looking at charity and fundraising calendars as well as templates and much more. See Calendars for the full list.


By: Tracey Park Section: Reference Section Key:
Page Ref: calendar_publishers Topic: Calendars  Last Updated: 10/2010

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