Saturday, February 6, 2010

Big Seven! (or Getting Published is Cool!!!)

The first time I saw one of my pieces in print, it was so exciting that I ran around my office (that's right, in the halls of the Pentagon) dancing overjoyed about it. I got back to my spreadsheets quickly, but that day was so wonderful!!

Well, this week I had a huge surprise and danced even more overjoyed around my Air Force classroom, much to the amusement of my class (who are all manly servicemen) because...I've had seven pieces picked up for publication this summer!!! Seriously! Seven!!!! In three different magazines!!

I was worried about blogging about the lovely moment when the contract emails came in because I didn't want to brag. But, I shared the news with a new and wonderful bead-minded friend and she said: Share! Share!

You might see these from Lisa New, for instance!!!

I want to share more than just my joy, I want to share a few how-to's about submissions that I've learned along the way from other blogs and magazines along the way. Whooo hoo!!! I'm by no means the expert, but still, there are a few things that I think are important:

1. Read the submission guidelines. There are due dates, which are the main thing, that are a lot earlier than you might think. So, you have to plan ahead. Right now, for instance, the deadline for Autumn/Fall designs is coming up for Interweave's Stringing magazine. (The link will take you to the contributors page where the guidelines are available to download.) There are also some styling hints that lead to what the editors are trying to convey through that issue. They can be a great inspiration when you start thinking about a design that might work.

2. Take good pictures. For me, this is the hardest part. Some magazines have options for emailing submissions and some even accept pieces that way, so you have to really let the piece tell its three dimensional story in just two dimensions. I wish there was some magic I could send your way if you need help, but in lieu of that I'm going to give you this link to Julie Nordine's Credit River Art Glass blog article on her photography "secrets."


3. Get in the habit of writing directions. It's all about breaking the process down into steps. Think of the steps you're taking along the way. Read the projects already in magazines to figure out the writing "formula" for a particular publication. Part of that formula is using the correct terms for types of beads, components or tools. I used to refer to most beads as just glass or stones or pretty thingies...now, I'm much more descriptive with the size, shape, cut, color, type, etc. Plus, keep good notes on your sources. This habit fell in line for me with keeping better records for taxes, so now I can tell you where (almost) everything in my stash is from or who made it.

4. Do a little research. Do you know the color of the year? Do you know what's in style for the coming seasons? Okay, turquoise is the color, but I'll be the first to admit I'm not all that stylish. I wear a uniform to work, for crying out loud! haaaaaaaaa But, I'm much more aware of the Pantone color palette thanks to my friends at the Art Bead Scene. Also, what are the latest books coming out? For instance, Interweave's Chain Style just came out (and it's awesome, by the way). I looked there for some inspiration and tried some new designs using chain as a main component. Or, another trend: thrifty girls!! I tried making some less expensive designs using base metal components and I really love the results! Great for a reader, but also great for a customer!


5. Stick to your design esthetic. What makes your designs yours? I had some trouble with this one early on. I was so focused on making something that other people/editors would like that I didn't really love the end results! And, I want to love a piece if I'm going to see it in print! My designs often feature a variety of beads and asymmetry; but, that makes a design hard to write about...so many sources, so many steps in creating the "mixed up" look in the end. With a little practice, though, now I can write those difficult projects on designs that are truly mine. As an example, A Walk in the Forest is a necklace that's truly mine but wasn't all that easy to write about.

6. Don't get discouraged. Sometimes you get picked and sometimes you don't. There are generally more of the latter for me, but the feeling of being part of the team just once makes it worth it!! haaaaaaaaaaa And, you just might end up with a hot streak in a chilly week in February like me!!!!

9 comments:

  1. WOOHOO! I am so very happy for you. Anything is possible if you believe (and work really hard!) Great tips! Wish I had had them before I started submitting because I think that sometimes it was just dumb luck that I got in! I set a goal of being published once per month in 2009....tons of work and staying on top of things. But I did it. And it was rewarding. I have taken a much more lax approach this year...there is room for all! Enjoy the day, Jen! Erin

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  2. Yay! I'm so happy for you! Cannot wait to see your lovelies. Did the earrings make it in?

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  3. Thanks ladies! No, Sharon, but they're going to get their own post. :)

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  4. Fantastic! I am having this rather funny mental picture of you dancing around in your ACUs (or what ever the Air Force TLA is). This is really great advice you give here. Very generous.

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  5. Great information! Two of my items will be making it into two different magazines this summer. This is a first for me and I am very excited.

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  6. congratulations gorgeous! Never mind sharing.....shout it from the rooftops I say! ;o)

    hugs

    hello gorgeous xxx

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  7. Hi. I follow your blog and have it on my list of favorites. Therefore I have given you the Sunshine Bloggers award! Stop by http://jbirdsgarden.blogspot.com/ to pick it up!

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  8. I already did my little dance for you in private, LOL, but I had to come here, first of all to say I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!! I'm so excited & totally in awe of what you've accomplished!! I also wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts on submitting pieces. I had no clue of the steps & am so grateful for friends who have paved the way for me. :o) Can't wait to share in your excitement as these magazines hit the mailboxes & shelves!!

    ~ Julie

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  9. Such well-written, thoughtful advice! I think #6 is especially important. Magazine pages are limited and editors try to find a good mix of designers, styles, beads, etc. If your design wasn't picked, it does not necessarily mean that there was anything wrong with it. It's quite possible that they received 50 pearl and chain necklaces and they couldn't publish all of them. So keep trying!

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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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