It is by no means the only method.
Hopefully you might be able to use some of this information.
a) You will need to set up a database for all species so that you can keep track of all the slides or digital files that you have sent out to publishers. For Slides I use a program called NSCS Pro2 for slides. . It has a client database, invoicing, slide captioning and labeling, thumbnail image database, stock photo management, submission tracking, search and sort features and more. Label all slides that are worthy of publication. Mine have two labels each. One with my name, address, and phone number. The other has "image info", "slide number", and copyright. Image info, should include Common Name, Latin Name, and Location. SlideScribe is a good source for quality labels. You can find them at SlideScribe.com.
b) Pick up the most recent copy of the book "Photographer's Market" and go through page by page and highlight the publishers that you feel may be interested in your work. Once you choose a publication, pick up the most recent copy of that publication and see what type of photos they are using and how they are using them.
c) Your next step is to send the photo editor a letter of inquiry. Introduce yourself and add any photo credits or experience. Tell them that you are interested in sending them a sample of your work for their review and hopeful use. Ask for a list of photo guidelines. Let them know that any tips, suggestions, or a list of upcoming needs would be greatly appreciated. When the editor responds to your letter of inquiry, you should get some images together and send them out while your name is still fresh in the mind of the editor.
d) Don't send your slides in boxes. Use archival safe slide pages and sandwich the pages between layers of stiff cardboard. These pages hold 20 slide each. With these pages, it will be much more convenient for an editor to view your slides. He will place the pages on a light box and scrutinize your work using a loupe. You should do the same.
e) Send only your very best images. I sometimes shoot all day with the hope of getting a couple shots of publication quality. The difference between a "good photographer" and a "great photographer", is that the "great photographer" shows only a very small percentage of his or her work ! There is a lot of competition as you well know. Make a good first impression; you only have one shot at this.
Does this all seem like a lot of work ? Believe me, it is !
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