Ever read a craft or sewing magazine and thought "I could do that?" You are probably right. You can!
Last year I worked with Homespun magazine and produced a quilt for their April 2014 issue. I am currently working on another project (it's a secret until it's published!) for their December 2015 issue.
Today some of my favourite bloggers who are also regular magazine contributors are sharing their tips and tricks of how you can successfully pitch to an editor and get your original sewing project into print!
From my experiences working with magazines, here are my top tips.
Know your magazines. With titles that suit your style of sewing and your aesthetic. This may also depend on the publications available where you live. Australia, UK and USA all have a variety of different publications across a wide range of creative hobbies.
Once you find one or more titles that you think would suit your style of sewing, find out whether they take contributors. Some advertise directly - the current issue of Down Under Quilts has a large ad calling for submissions. Otherwise you can email the editor and ask. Before you make contact, I strongly recommend you...
Prepare Your Pitch. You need to tell the editor why you would be a good fit for their publication. Having a well formed idea of one or more possible projects, photos of something you've started or similar already competed.
Work To A Deadline. This is critical. Magazines adhere to strict timelines as your project will need to go through other processes once you've submitted, like professional photography, editing, graphic design and layout. For the December issue of Homespun, my project must be completed and delivered by June.
Be confident. Why not you? It's easy for us to say "my work isn't good enough" or "why would they want little old me?". Don't stifle a goal or dream with negative self talk. Pull up your big girl panties and GET IT DONE. The worst worst worst thing that could happen is an editor saying "no thanks" to your pitch. You've lost nothing.
Anorina from Samelia's Mum has contributed many projects to a variety of publications including Patchwork & Stitching, Down Under Quilts and Handmade. Here is her advice to potential contributors.
"My main bit of advice on how to start out is to take good high resolution photos. Editors will probably get a lot of submission requests regularly, so until they know you (and your work) take some great photos to submit. The more detailed the better. A clear and well-lit photo of your project will win over a blurry, dark picture.
My second piece of advice is don't give up. Send you project proposal to a number of editors. Their details can be found at the start or end of the magazine. If they don't respond within a few days/week, don't be afraid to follow up. They're busy people and not necessarily always in the office or at their desks."
"As a designer with 6 magazine projects under my belt over the last 2 years, here are my suggestions:
Find out the editor or deputy editor's name and email them or call them directly with your idea. This information is usually available in the magazine itself or on their website. It's a little personal touch and shows that you have done your research.
Have a clear concept that is developed as much as possible - ideally you should be able to send a picture of a finished product (or one very similar e.g. using the same technique) and/or a pattern so the editor gets a clear idea of the end-product they would be getting. You can also pitch multiple ideas, so if one of them doesn't fit what they are looking for, another one may.
If you have a blog featuring free tutorials/patterns, it's useful to send a link to the editor as it gives them an idea of how you write the step-by-step instructions for a project. Whilst the quality and uniqueness of the end-product is paramount, the ability of the designer to translate that into easy to follow instructions for a reader is also very important.
Magazines are usually after original material so it needs to be a unique design not published or being sold elsewhere. Though there are exceptions - I have just had a project published in Hoop-la! magazine (a new embroidery magazine that is a sister publication to Mollie Makes) who wanted to use one of the free patterns and tutorials from my blog. Also remember that magazines will want exclusivity on the design for a period of time (e.g. 6 months or a year) so bear that in mind when you are pitching an idea."
Sedef's recent contribution to Homespun are these gorgeous handmade letters and numbers, found in the April 2015 issue. More details on her blog here.
|Image courtesy of Down Grapevine Lane|
Melissa from Ms Midge was interviewed and had several of her quilts featured in the most recent issue of Down Under Quilts. She is also a contributor to the online publication Make Modern. Here is her advice.
"If you want to work with magazines, take the time to put together a portfolio of your work, including any past work you have done with publications, both online and in print. Write a personalised email to each publication you are approaching, opposed to a generic letter. Work out what it is you want from a possible partnership with the publication, and let them know what you have to offer and how you can do so.
Once you have some work lined up with magazines, keep to the deadlines you have been provided. If I know I have a deadline in two months, I am more inclined to get that project done straight away, so I won't be finishing it last minute and possibly making mistakes or missing the deadline. It's better to have a project submitted weeks in advance rather than sitting up untilthe night before it's due."
|Wavelength Quilt sewn by Ms Midge|
Fabulous advice from some lovely and very talented ladies - thank you for sharing your expertise Anorina, Sedef and Melissa. Aside from their wonderful magazine work they all have blogs that you should follow!
If you've thought about submitting to a magazine I hope this post spurs you into action and gets you into print! If you have any questions, please ask!