So you wanna be published in a magazine?
Every so often I get asked how to go about being published, so I thought I'd share a few tips I've found to be helpful along my way.
It was almost 4 years ago this month that I sent my first entry into Cloth Paper Scissors, never thinking I even had a smidgeon of a chance of being accepted. Low and behold, a couple weeks after I entered my submission, I was chosen for an article! It was one of the most exciting days of my life and I'll never forget the thrill of opening that email and sheer fright...because....they wanted my work to be sent and I no longer had it.
Lesson number one:
1. If you choose to email the publisher with an article query, ensure you have the items you are sending in. Seems like a no 'brainer' but for me, I didn't think I'd get accepted and I just happened to sell those pieces I sent in. EEEEk. Well things turned out okay because I was able to recreate those items (after discussing it with the then editor, Pokey Bolton), but it was a scary thought that I almost lost the biggest opportunity of my life because of my ignorance!
2. Read the guidelines for each magazine you wish to submit to. Each one has specific regulations on what they are looking for. Some want an email first with specific sized pictures, others want your actual artwork sent in. You can miss an opportunity by not following the rules!
3. While we are on the topic of reading....read the publication! If you have the next big 'Bird' art piece that is just out of this world, make sure that wasn't a recent cover article or main article in the magazine. They generally are looking for fresh ideas or new takes on established processes. Put YOUR spin on a project.
4. Take great pictures. If you have a beautiful project but shoddy pictures, it probably isn't going to make the cut if you are emailing a query. Pictures can make or break an online submission.
5. If you have an idea for an article, write a short outline in your query to let the editors know that if you are chosen to write about the process, you are ready to go with an article.
6. Enter the calls for submissions. It's a great way to get your feet wet and become a recognized name within the magazine.
7. Blog about your work. Every so often there are editors scouting talent online through blogs, facebook, pinterest and other various social media outlets for new ideas and artists (or established artists with interesting projects) to feature in their magazine. I've received several opportunities that exact way!
8. Do your best work. Send in your best work. But don't wait until it's so perfect that you never get started trying. Does that make sense? There is always going to be something bigger and better out there but it's not going to be YOURS or YOU....so just take a chance and try.
9. Every no leads to a yes. You may not get accepted the first time you send in a piece of art, or perhaps it may take you 3 or 4 tries. Don't let it get you down to the point you stop trying. It's all a matter of timing, other submissions, magazine vision for a particular publication, and so on. You never know when all of that is going to shift so just DO IT:)
10. Be mindful that publications are created months and months out. That means a couple of things. If you send something in November that is perfect for Christmas, you are wayyyyyy too late and probably way too early. Christmas articles are starting to be born right about now, in late Spring for the the Nov/Dec issues (if not earlier). Not every magazine is holiday specific but several do have a slant on a particular season or holiday especially around the big ones during the course of the year. Because the magazines work on projects so far in advance, it also means your work will be tied up for 6-12 months when sent in. In most cases, if you are published, you will get your work back within 30-45 days of the publication hitting the stands. If it is a paying job (not all are), that is about when you can expect payment as well.
11. Clearly label with your contact information all of your pieces. If a publication requires return shipment payment from you, ensure you enclose that information if you want your work back.
12. Last but not least, I just have to repeat myself in that if you want to be published, simply go ahead and take a chance. Give it a shot. You never will be published if you don't at least try:)
What are you waiting for? Go make some art!
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