A Step-by-Step Guide to Sharing Your Printed Projects Online

Newspaper Club x Format

This month, we’re teaming up with Format—a website builder that helps creatives share and sell their work online. Below, the editorial team at Format Magazine have written a step-by-step guide to sharing your printed work online — including tips for photographing your printed projects and pitching your work to online publications.

1. Photograph your work

You’ll have different photography needs depending on what you want to do with your work online: Is your goal to sell your work in your online store? Are you trying to get your project featured in online publications?

If you’re trying to sell copies, showcase the size and texture of your magazine. Consider photographing it next to objects that will demonstrate its scale, like on a coffee table or in the hands of a reader. Creating a GIF or short film flipping through the pages of your magazine can also give people a more physical feel for the work.

If you simply want to share your project online, use basic flat lay images clearly showing the contents of your magazine in a clean and professional way.

Next, choose a background. A simple white tabletop or cloth is always a safe choice, and is easy to edit in Photoshop later.

Wooden floors or tables, colorful fabric, and tiled floors are all unique settings to photograph your work against and add texture to your images. Or try placing your work outdoors against grass or rocks. If you’d like to show the scale of your work, ask a friend to model and hold your magazine, or try photographing it on a nicely arranged coffee table, desk, or bookshelf.

2. Write a description of your print project

Your written description should include factual information like:

  • The dimensions of the work
  • The number of pages
  • The material it's printed on
  • How many copies were printed

You’ll also want to write a statement introducing the work. If your magazine includes text, such as a written essay or artist statement, you can excerpt this in your online description.

Your description doesn’t need to be hundreds of words long to be effective. A few sentences can be enough to give your project context. Even if you think that the images in your work speak for themselves, adding at least a few words will go a long way in making your printed material accessible to an online audience.

3. Upload your project to your website

If you already have a personal website, this is easy. Just add your photographs and written statement to the relevant page on your website, or create a new page just for this project.

If you don’t have a personal website, now is a good time to consider creating one! Website platforms like Format let you quickly create an online portfolio by using one of many fully customizable themes.

Creating a website may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With Format, you can easily create a two-page site to showcase one project in about fifteen minutes in just four steps:

  1. Choose a URL.
  2. Select a theme.
  3. Upload your magazine photos and description to one page.
  4. Then create another page to host your bio and contact info.

That’s it, you have a website now! Simply uploading your most recent project and adding a brief bio is a great start to an online portfolio. You may eventually want to add some past projects and more detailed information about your work, but there’s no rush. Now you have your site created, you can start sharing your printed material with the world.

4. List your work for sale on your website

If you’d rather not sell your printed project, skip this step. But if you want to make your printed material available for purchase, now’s the time to list it for sale on your online store.

Already got a store set up? You know the drill. Be sure to include a clear description (see above!) of what the customer is getting, where you’re able to ship and how much shipping will cost, and how long customers can expect shipping to take. The great thing about selling magazines and zines online is that they tend to be lightweight and inexpensive to ship. But it’s still a good idea to research shipping costs for different regions of the world and decide if you want to commit to worldwide shipping or focus on selling closer to home.

If you don’t have an online store, setting one up can be as simple as adding one to your personal website and uploading the work you want to sell. Alternatively, you can add a note that your printed project is available for purchase on request. But making your work available in a store will make for a more streamlined and easy to navigate customer experience, and is a good idea to try if you want to sell a lot of copies.

5. Share on social media

Don’t be shy about promoting your work. Even if you don’t have a gigantic following on social media, it’s still worthwhile to share what you’ve created with your community.

If you’re aiming to sell your work, be sure to share links to your online store in your Instagram bio, Story, and on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms you use. This will get the word out and makes it easy for people to share your work with others who might be into it.

6. Pitch your work to online publications

Now that your printed project is on your website, it’s time to pitch it to blogs and magazines. Getting your work recognized by publications can help you sell copies, get new clients, and grow your profile as an artist.

Make a list of online publications that seem like a good fit for your work, see if they’re accepting submissions, and get in touch. (Consult this handy list of websites and blogs to get started!)

Personalizing each pitch to the specific outlet makes it more likely editors will take a closer look at your message. Contacting lesser-known blogs and magazines is a good first step. Smaller publications tend to receive fewer pitches than major ones, so are more likely to publish your project. And getting some publication credits under your belt can help you get recognized by larger publications.

Whether or not you decide to sell your printed work or pursue press recognition, photographing it and sharing it on your website ensures that you have a digital archive of the project, and can help you see your work from a new perspective. As you go through the process of uploading your print material to the internet, you may learn new things about how to present your work and even generate ideas for future projects.

Format is a website builder designed for photographers, designers, and artists of all kinds to showcase and sell their work online. Try out Format yourself with special access to an extended one-month trial.

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