The way they work is fairly simple. They accept good photographs from photographers. They sell “usage rights” to each photo to anyone who wants to publish it.
If it’s for the cover of a national publication, the photo commands a much higher price to the photo library than if it were to be used on an inside page of a company’s annual report with a print run of 500. Each time the photo makes money, the library then remits part of the fee to the original copyright-holder (you the photographer).
I urge you to personally visit one of these libraries and browse through their catalogues. Look them up in your Yellow Pages under “Libraries, Photograph and/or Film”. Use your local hardcopy directory, or internet www.yellowpages.com.au You can make a LOT of money by giving them a saleable photo. But in order to understand what THEY consider a saleable photo, you must PERSONALLY visit a library and spend a couple of hours going through their catalogues. You won’t achieve anything by simply sending off your photos by mail and hoping for the best. I urge you: you MUST visit in person and go through their catalogues to understand their needs.