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.
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.
- Interweave: http://interweave.com/Magazines/
- Stampington & Company: http://stampington.com/
- Northridge Publishing: http://northridgepublishing.com/index.html
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!