Since this seems to be a topic that a lot of you want to know more about, I thought I would share my personal experience with you. Hopefully, you can learn (from my mistakes!) and be on the road to finding yourself in a magazine soon!
About a year an a half ago, I decided I wanted to try to submit some cards for publication. I went to my local Borders book store and found a few craft magazines and looked in the back for submission guidelines. I found two publications to start with. (Mistake #1: one of them was not my style at all!)
I submitted a few things to both calls and heard nothing. I submitted the next month and didn’t hear again. By month three, I really had the submitting part down and really forgot about the part that someday I might have something accepted!
And then it happened….an email from Cardmaker magazine with the news that they wanted a card I had submitted!!!! I will never forget the joy (and shock!) that came with that email!
My persistence had finally paid off ! If you want to get published, you just have to get out there an try. Here are a few things I have learned along the way—
1. Go to your local bookstore and look at all the publications out there (there are a lot!) and find the ones whose pages reflect your style. Many leading craft magazines lean toward a certain style and if you don’t fit that style—it may not be the fit for you.
2. Submit things that they ASK for. You will have much better success if you actually find out what publications are looking for (either printed in the back of the issues or on their website.)
3. When you submit, concentrate on sending quality NOT quantity. This is a mistake I first made. (Mistake #2!) Although it seems that if you send more in—your are more likely to be picked up and I guess statistically that is true. But, if you work hard on the design of a few cards—you will be more likely to have success than just submitting a bunch of cards that you threw together. Keep in mind that some magazines (such as Cardmaker) are now limiting the number of submissions each person can send in per call because they are getting too many submissions.
4. Compensation: Varies for each publication. Some send you a free issue. Some send you a free issue(s) and free product. Others send you free issues and also pay for your work. A range of payments I have received in the past has varied from $25-$150, depending on the publication and the project. Keep in mind that you ARE working. You have to spend time to write a detailed material list, instructions, etc. You also have to send the project in, which costs money. Keep this in mind if you submit.
5. When you decide where to submit your designs, make sure you follow the submission guidelines carefully. If they ask you to send in submissions with information on the back of the card, don’t send them an email. Just submit however they request.
Important things to remember:
1. Many publications are starting to request that all material that you submit be new (never posted online!). Check the website for specific details on this as it varies. Some magazines that do not pay do not require this because they are not paying for your work. They might simply ask you to remove the project from your blog/gallery for a certain amount of time.
2. Do not submit the same card to two publications at the same time. You can, however, submit the card to one and if you do not get picked up-you can then submit the design to another publication.
3. If you use someone else’s card design or template on your submission, you should get permission from the person who created the original design and give him/her credit in your card submission details. (However, in general, it is best to just stick with things you design. It is upsetting to see your original design printed in a magazine without your permission.)
What Gets Picked Up:
Sometimes it is hard to determine what will get picked up and what will not. Again, study the different stamping issues to see what styles they gravitate to. This will give you some direction (or let you know if your style fits that particular magazine.)
In general, cards that merely show a beautifully colored image will not get picked up, unless there is a focus on that particular coloring medium in that issue. Many people can color beautifully but there are a lot of cardmakers out there that cannot and do not want to see just colored images.
Clever designs and using unusual materials or ordinary supplies in creative ways are some things that most publishers look for.
Finally, whatever you submit, make sure your work is professional. Make sure your layers are straight and everything looks like it was done intentionally. If you submit electronically (via email), make sure the photograph is clear. Take the photo in a well-lighted area for best results.
If your project is picked up, make sure you send it in well before the deadline. You do not want to hold up the magazine because YOUR project is late. Also, be sure to send it in a cardboard mailer or box so that it doesn’t get damaged during shipping. It is also a good idea to get delivery confirmation so that the package can be tracked (in case it is lost en route!)
Most importantly—have fun! Do not get discouraged…everyone gets rejections—it is part of the process.
I hope this helps you! I just found out that my buddy Alli is going to be posting an article about getting published soon too…so be sure to check in on her blog for some more information to help get you started. I am sure she will have tons of good pointers! Good luck!
And THANK YOU for all the great responses and emails from my post yesterday!
Thanks for stopping by!