As I’ve received a flurry of rejections at Arcangel over the past month I’ve been desperately trying to find some patterns in order to improve my acceptance rate. After all, the more images accepted the more likely there are to have sales.
If you’re unfamiliar with Arcangel, they are a premium book-cover agency, a small and friendly agency that offer high prices and a welcome escape from submitting to ever-degenerating microstock agencies.
Recent sale to soften the rejections blows!
Speaking of potentially high-value sales, I recently spotted the following image used on a book cover (still not sure how much I’ll earn but I suspect will be many hundreds of Shutterstock subs). Putain!
Here’s the original image…
Visiting nearby “Pueblos” near Madrid
I’ve been taking advantage of the nice spring weather to visit nearby “pueblos” in the Madrid region. These are small historic towns dotted around Madrid (I much prefer being outside the big city centres). I was visiting small cities dotted around Milan when I lived there back in 2014-2016, although was more enjoyable on a bike!
Here’s a map to give you an idea of where I’ve been exploring in and around Madrid:
Fuck you, Covid!
I would love to venture outside Madrid and visit Toledo and Avila for instance but there are restrictions on non-essential travel outside the Madrid triangle. Anyway, there’s lots of see in the surrounding areas.
So every weekend or so I was visiting these towns and capturing stock images…with the primary goal to capture book covers because you all know that uploading to micros these days is probably a giant waste of time.
So many rejections at Arcangel! Why?
So back to the reason for this post…those damn rejections at Arcangel…just how many in the past month alone (since February 28, 2021)?
|Images submitted||Accepted||Rejected||% Rejected|
Ouch, only 5% accepted! Really struggling to reach the 1,000 accepted images (currently at 997). Link to my port on there!
What makes for a strong book cover?
If you’re unfamiliar with the book cover market, I would suggest to read the following posts to understand what Arcangel are seeking and which types of images make for useful book covers:
Pick the Lucky 7 Winners! 😀
So, let’s play a game and tell me if you can spot out of the following batches which 7 images have been accepted. Try to make a mental note.
Not easy right, well here they are…
From the Pardo batch (5):
Juan Carlos I Park batch (1):
From the Manzanares el Real batch (1):
From the Alcala de Henares batch (1):
Lessons learned from a tough month
By now I have a pretty good idea about which types of images will be accepted and why but this month has thrown me a curve-ball and I’ve had to duly adapt to new standards. From the latest batch, I’ve come to the conclusion that:
- Symmetry is most welcome – check out these amazing tree-lined paths!
- Plenty of copy space is obligatory
- All days I was out were super sunny with few clouds in the sky, perhaps they would prefer cloudier/more moody types of light…or just post-processing
- Wide shots of castles will probably be rejected due to potential legal issues
- Same with artwork, even if post-processed as a silhouette
- There appears to be a limited market for doorways, windows and facades, unless captured extraordinarily
- Planning ahead is important, where to visit, lighting conditions and benchmarking on what is already available on offer
- Avoid uploading in black and white, just limits commercial value too much
- Keep exploring the nearby regions for interesting subjects….
Its not all gone to waste
Well, even if there are so many rejections, some of the subject-matter (not similar to the ones accepted) can still be placed on micros to be licensed for peanuts.
How are you getting on with your book covers?
Please comment below, would love to hear your thoughts.
Happy to hear that J. Whyte sold his first image on Arcangel and vlogged about it here:
I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Madrid, Spain, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage, when things go back to normal (mid-2021??). I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer (however, had recently go back into full-time office work to make ends meet). I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.
I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography