Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So you want to get published?

Hi, are you wondering where I have been? Well buckle you seat belts and put your trays in the upright position cause this is going to be a long post.

I got a pretty big order from, and didn't have all the cards I needed in stock:( It took me the better part of Saturday to get those done and shipped. Please know that I am not complaining, I am totally thrilled, but just couldn't play at making new stuff.

The rest of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were spent getting items ready for submission to several magazines that had deadlines on Monday and Tuesday. The card shown here is one of the cards I made for CARDS Magazine for a category titled Simple Sentiments. I will know by early next week if it has been accepted, if it gets picked up I will have to remove the picture. I am sharing this with you because before I made my first submission I wondered about how the process worked and couldn't find any information about it on blogs that I read. Frankly, the people who are getting published just say it after the fact and I wondered how they got there. Well, today my friends, I am going to share my very limited knowledge in the hopes that if it is your personal desire to get published that this at least points you in the right direction.

My personal rule is that I only submit items to magazines I really love. While it is a thrill to get an email saying your work has been accepted, it really means more to me that it is a publication that I have been drooling over for the past few years or if it's a new one like Home & Heart, that it has content I love. That is why my first submission went to Paper Crafts. I have been a subscriber for years and was kicking around their website one day when I noticed a category titled Send us Your Work under Create. They had categories listed that had a deadline coming up in a few days. I submitted 2 cards and got an email back in about a week saying one of them had been accepted, woohoo! "Well", I thought "this is a pretty easy thing to do." So the next time I sent 8 cards, one got picked up in that round. My batting average just took a plunge. The next time I sent 5 items, nothing got picked up. My point in sharing this is I really think I had a skewed view right off about how easy it is to get items accepted. My last 2 submissions, nothing has been accepted. You really have to have tough skin if this is something you want to do. I think there are a few things you can do to increase your chances, but beyond that you never really know what the editor is looking for at any given call. They might love your card, but the colors you used won't fit with the other card they have already chosen that it going to be on the same page (This is just my personal take on it, but I am pretty sure this is very close to the actual reality of it). So here is what I think you can do to increase your chances....

1. Be authentic, use your own style, don't try to mimic someone else.

2. Study previous issues of the magazine to see what kind of items they lean toward. You might think I am contradicting myself, but here is an example. Most of the cards I make I use stamps. If you study these magazines they tend to showcase cards that don't have a single thing stamped on them. That is why the card I posted today doesn't have a stamped image in sight.

3. Keep your creation relatively simple. These companies are trying to sell magazines to the paper crafting masses. Their goal is to have items that people look at and think, "Gosh, that is wonderful and I could copy/do that!"

4. Don't get discouraged. If you love stamping and your goal is to get published keep trying.

5. Be sure you are comfortable writing directions for you card or project and keep detailed lists of the products that you use while making your item.

6. Use current, trend setting products. Paper and other product that is several years old isn't going to cut it for magazines trying to get advertisers and buyers.

Well, I hope that helps and that this information is even relevant for you.

One other thing today. Kim at My Favorite Things is having a 10% off sale through Friday the 18 and is donating proceeds from the sale to a dear friend of hers that just lost his wife to a rare form of ovarian cancer. The story is heartbreaking, but Kim is trying to do some good by raising some money to set up a college fund for the 2 young boys this young mother left behind. So if you ever thought about getting some MFT stamps, now is the time to get them and support a worthy cause at the same time. Thank you.

Whew, I told you this was going to be a long one...thanks so much for stamping by!



Jessie/knightrone said...

Gorgeous card, and thanks for the info on submitting cards to magazines!!! I need to start trying to do that!!! Thank you for my beautiful card you sent me too, it is amazing!!! I love it and I will keep it forever and ever!!!

Sandra Smart said...

Thanks for sharing the info on getting just may prompt me to try! And congrats on your big order, it is so nice when then happens!

Carrie said...

Great info! Congrats on your order, that's exciting! Good luck, you do such beautiful work, I'm sure something will get picked up:)

Katie said...

Hi Laura,

Thanks so much for sharing your insight on the whole publishing thing - it has been rather discouraging on my end.

I do have a question for you though. When you submit (let's say Papercrafts) do you just do a list of products you use and/or do you describe how you put the card together, do you describe all the technique, dimensions, et. So how detailed are you when you submit?

BTW, great card!!

Janna~Country Creek Creations said...

Laura another beautiful card. I really love it. Love the colors & the simplicit look. It's always nice to get orders but even nicer when it is complete huh? ;) Thank you for the info on the sale. WOuld like to help out. So tragic how things happen. Well take care & have a great week. Janna

Ashley said...

Very cute card! I'm going to have to give it a try! I'm taking an acrylic book class on Saturday, so I'm sure that will motivate me to work with 'clear' objects! I'm new to the publishing aspect of paper art and wondered if you get paid for your publications? How detailed are your descriptions? Thanks for posting this was MUCH needed!

Kristin said...

You are full of great tips! Thanks for being so generous with all you've learned... and good luck on getting published- this card is fabulous!

LeAnne said...

Lauren, your cards are great! All of them! I wish you luck on publishing...I just read something on Lauren Meader's blog about what/how she does is the link, hope it is helpful:
Go to the post for April 9.\