The 6 Things you Need to know to get Featured in Print Magazines

A guest post by Marcie of La Bella Jewelry La Bella Joya Jewelry.

Two years ago, I took the plunge and submitted one of my projects to a magazine. At the time, I hadn’t made plans to submit it, I just knew it was a unique piece, I liked it, and it turned out relatively easy to make.

Looking back, I am so glad that I decided to send that e-mail and put my work out there!

It opened a whole world of opportunities that I didn’t even know existed for someone creating handmade.

Today, I’d like to give you my checklist for creating and submitting work that magazines will want to publish. These are the steps that I take before I even think about submitting to a magazine, whether print or digital. I hope you’ll find them useful the next time you’re thinking about expanding your audience or taking the leap to putting your work out there.

(And lest you think that I’ve got magazines beating down my doors for a chance at my work, I will tell you I’ve run into just as many “no’s” along with the “yes’s”, which is, consequently, how I developed my list of what to do and what NOT to do.)

Okay, let’s get started.

1. KNOW THE PUBLICATION:

This is #1 and the most important. It seems kind of obvious that a magazine like Stringing wouldn’t accept an intricate beadwoven cuff, but I’m talking here about the more subtle differences.

In my own field, when I think of Beadwork Magazine, I tend to think of more modern takes on beadwoven jewelry with projects that produce great results in less time. Bead and Button Magazine, on the other hand, tends to invite work that takes a little longer and is more elegant and styled.

Stitch is a great example of a magazine seeking styles with modern colors and shapes while Belle Armoire, for example, tends to lean toward the lighter more romantic designs.

2. KNOW THE THEMES:

Magazine editors don’t release submission guidelines on their websites because they’re bored with nothing to do. Those guidelines are there because the editors have taken the time to come up with themes and trends that they want reflected in upcoming issues. If you can create within those trends and themes, you’ll be right on track with the editors, and stand a much better chance of getting published.

For example, let’s say the theme is Steampunk. Well, now, it’s your job to do some research on Victorian styles or watch some movies with Steampunk vibes (A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is my favorite) and ask yourself how you can interpret those themes into your mixed media collages or unique scrapbook pages.

3. KNOW THE FORMAT:

Wanna know a secret?

I don’t own a subscription to every magazine that I submit to. I can’t, I just don’t have the dinero right now, but whenever I get a few extra minutes in the Barnes and Noble, I choose to spend it with my nose buried in new publications.

I study how the directions are written and make note of the kinds of materials that are being used. I pay attention to how the pictures are styled and photographed, and yes, I’ll buy the magazine if it’s something that I want to research further. (If you really want to keep digging, think about buying back issues, they tend to be $1 or $2 cheaper than the current issue)

Also, make sure that when you submit, stick to the submission guidelines.

If they don’t want snail mail submissions, then don’t send them!

4. KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES

Despite the possibility of submitting to 6 or 7 jewelry magazines simultaneously, there are a couple that I’ve never submitted to.

Why?

I simply know that my work is not ready for that platform and that I am not ready for that amount of work. However, it gives me something to shoot for and helps me set goals. For example, Belle Armoire Jewelry is one of my favorite magazines (It’s usually the one that I buy off the stands) and I’m constantly inspired by the work within. Yet, I know that what I do is not exactly what that magazine is looking for. So, I’ll challenge myself to look at my work from the perspective of a Belle Armoire reader and think….what could I offer that reader?

How can you create pieces that are worthy of this publication while still staying true to your craft?

5. KNOW YOUR WORK:

This one may be even more important than #1.

What is unique about your piece that others haven’t seen before? What do you have to offer to a group of beaders, quilters, weavers, and potters that is already pretty much inundated with new projects?

How are you going to convey that in the one or two photos that you get to send to an editor? (Photos are so important. Unless otherwise noted, send in at least two, a whole-piece shot, and a detail shot, of the most interesting or unique part of the piece) Be confident and write with confidence about your piece, and why it’s different and what you have to offer, no one knows your work better than you

6. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS:

Think outside the box when looking for publications and ask yourself if your work can pull double duty.

It would seem obvious to send that beautifully glazed ceramic pendant to a jewelry magazine, but is that glazing technique something that the readers of Pottery Illustrated might be interested in?

Is it the kind of process that could work just as well for potters wanting to enhance their handmade serving pieces?

I hope that I’ve given you some useful information to consider the next time that you’re thinking about submitting work to any kind of publication.

You already have the creative skills to craft works of art, now combine that with a little research and who knows, maybe YOU will be the one with editors knocking down your door for a chance at your work!

I’ll leave you with a few links to some of the publishers looking for fresh faces.

Be sure to search around until you find “submission guidelines” for each publication.

Alright, this is by no means an exhaustive list and I do hope that you’ll check out at least a few of these links. I want the editors to wonder why they’re inboxes are suddenly loaded with amazing and inspiring pieces from brand new designers! Good luck!

About Marcie: Marcie Abney is a self-taught beader whose work and projects have been featured in a variety of jewelry design publications. You can find her finished pieces and DIY tutorials in her shop or visit her blog for more information and inspiration.

8 comments | Click here to reply

Thanks great information. I’ve been thinking about trying to submit some items and this has helped motivate me.

Wendy

Awesome Wendy. Keep us posted!
-Brittni

papernstitch

I too am thinking about getting published in magazines, since I have been writing a lot of patterns lately. I am curious about how much they pay, and whether they want the tutorial to be exclusive, ie can you still sell the pattern yourself later?

Chantelle

Chantelle,
Every magazine is different, but in general each magazine that I have been featured in has paid for my work, and usually they retain the rights to your pattern for at least a year. It’s definitely worth looking into, and if you have any questions, simply mail the editor for more information.
Good luck and I hope you take the leap!
Marcie

Marcie Abney

Thanks for chiming in to answer Chantelle’s question Marcie. I just wanted to add my experience as well when it comes to magazines and getting paid. If the magazine is simply featuring your product as part of a style or shopping roundup then you probably won’t be getting paid. Of course, you’ll get other things out of those types of features instead (like sales from interested readers, etc). BUT if you are offering to write an article as a freelancer or are pitching a pattern, how-to article or something along those lines you will most likely be paid and have to sign a contract, etc. It will vary from magazine to magazine, but the pay is typically not great by any means. That said, I would still highly recommend doing it whenever you have the opportunity. Just make sure they include a URL where people can find you online to run alongside your article, pattern, how-to, etc and you’ll get the best of both worlds: a little cash for your time + new leads and/or potential customers.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Dearest sweet Brittni and Marcie, thank YOU so much for sharing this. I am thingkin of submitting my work to magazines too and this helps lots! I should do some research on the magazines im interesting in. Have a lovely merry happy day an love to you!

jacqueline

but but but what about mainstream publications like Lucky or Womens Day? Do they publish their submission guidelines? I haven’t found them.
I’ve been asked to submit to 2 BIG national publications. They asked me to send in my work. The first time, they “changed direction”. The second time….waiting to hear (this one is for my other product line…).
Thank you for any advice/insight!!!
🙂
Sara

Buster and boo

Thank you so much for this article!!! I’ve been wondering what to do and how to do it, and now I have something to go about. Honestly I have done a couple of things mentioned, but now I can concentrate on some other aspects of trying to get my wedding hangers noticed. I very much appreciate this article!

Tammy Johnson
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