In the past couple days, I have been speaking of many different ways to help your small businesses grow. Today I will post a short blog and talk about another avenue you can take – submitting projects to various publications and magazines.
I often receive emails from people asking me how I became involved in being a contributing editor to Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine. I have been listed as a contributing editor for over fifteen years now (YIKES!) and I hope to continue to work with the magazine as long as they will have me.
The first time I submitted projects to magazines, I was scared and excited and unsure of myself. Many of you know that I used to design and create collectible teddy bears and I believe that submitting my bears were my first attempts at being published. I also want to say that it took many, many tries to get that first project noticed and published and it took a tough skin and many rejections. The key here is to not give up and to keep on trying if you believe you have something that would be interesting to others. Sometimes it could take several attempts, or even years of trying before being successful.
There are many reasons for this, and one of the most important things is that you need to learn not to take it personally if your submissions are not accepted. There are many reasons that projects are not picked up and you shouldn’t allow this to get you down.
Perhaps the project didn’t fit in the theme that the editor was working on. Editors work several seasons in advance and they only have a limited amount of space to fill in their publications. Not only does your project have to be something that catches the editor’s eye, but it also has to be timely as to what they are working on at the moment. Many publications have websites which have Editorial Guidelines which not only list time frames and themes for each issue, but also hints on formatting and what types of files and materials are required for submissions.
Another good way to prepare yourself to submit to a publication is to actually BUY and READ the magazine. Look at how they lay things out. Do they use a lot of step-by-step photos? Are you willing and able to provide these if your project is accepted? Is their formatting something that you feel comfortable with? All these are factors which may help you decide where you would like to submit.
Even as someone who has been submitting for many years, I still get somewhat nervous when sending in a project for consideration. I know that each project or article that I create needs to stand on its own merit and I realize and accept that if what I am submitting doesn’t fit into my editor’s plans, then it won’t be published. Nothing is a given.
Which brings to mind a final important factor that I will talk about today – you need to have a tough skin.
I realize that it is difficult to distance yourself from a project or article that you put your heart and soul into, but in order to be successful and survive in the publishing world, you need to do so. If your project is rejected, you need to take it in stride and try again. I am not saying that you have to LIKE it, but you need to not take it personally and try to take a breath and look objectively at what you submitted and perhaps explore the reasons that it was not accepted.
It may not be something that appealed to the editor. After all, editors are PEOPLE and we all have different likes and dislikes.
It may not have fit into the current theme that the editor was working on at the time you submitted. While sometimes an editor may ask to hold a project until the following year, this is rare as they realize that you probably don’t want to sit on it that long. Sometimes by passing on an item an editor is doing you a favor because you could still submit it somewhere else.
It may still need a little more ‘polish’ and professionalism. You need to objectively look at your project and decide if you really feel that it is completed in a way that will set a good example for others. After all – magazines and publications are teaching tools for their readers and the projects included are those that editors want to attract new readers and appease the readers that they have. With many people constantly submitting projects, it is only natural that they choose what they feel is most appealing and professional, as they want their publications to be the best that they can be.
I realize that this information is only the tip of the iceberg, but I hope it gives you some ideas to explore and implement in order to expand your own businesses. The bottom line is if you don’t try, you will never know.
Today I am finishing up my article for Creative Woodworks and Crafts which shows the transformation of my “ugly box” into a very eye-pleasing storage solution using DecoArt’s Chalky Finish Paint products. I blogged about it a couple of weeks ago and my editor thought it would be a good article for our readers as well.
I hope that you find these ideas useful, albeit brief. I encourage you to do some homework and then submit to several places with your own original designs. It may really give your business an unexpected boost. You never know if you don’t try.
Enjoy your Thursday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"