Getting some InkPosted by Ali on March 19 at 02:39 pm
How to submit your designs to magazines
If you are anything like me, you have browsed the beading magazines. My personal favorites are Stringing and BeadStyle. I am more drawn to these 2 mags because the featured designs usually have a nice fashion focus and aren’t too technical. Both Stringing and BeadStyle have projects geared toward the beginning beader as well as longtime beaders interested in stringing and wire wrapping. The projects in either of these mags shouldn’t take more than a few hours for someone to complete. Most of them are from people like you and me that submit their designs in the hopes of being published and inspiring other beaders. Occasionally, the editors and staff at these magazines end up creating pieces to be published because they need something in particular that they weren’t able to find in the submissions. Plus, isn’t it nice to see the editors and staff can design too?
At Lima Beads we get constant requests from people asking how to get their names and designs out there. Hopefully the information we provide today will be helpful.
I spoke with Danielle Fox (editor of Stringing, Beads 2008, & Bead Star magazines), Erin Dolan (editorial assistant at Bead Style Magazine), and Cynthia Thornton (Green Girl Studios & well known jewelry design contributor to magazines). Pooling the knowledge from these 3 was very helpful. I have read the submission guidelines for the magazines in the past and have felt a bit hesitant about sending in my pieces. Do they keep my design forever, will I be rejected, do I get paid, how do I know what they want?
These are all questions I have asked myself and I’m pretty sure you have wondered as well. I am hoping to put all those questions and hesitations to bed.
Their submission guidelines can be found here: Contributor Guidelines. Here’s the down-low: Danielle Fox (editor) says and I quote “We are looking for new people.”
However, they do still appreciate their past contributors and will look at all designs on a level playing field.
Danielle let me in on some important things to keep in mind when considering one of your pieces for submission to Stringing:
- Craftsmanship, Craftsmanship, Craftsmanship
- The scale of your piece is appropriate for someone to actually wear, not hang on their wall
- Look at past issues to get a feel for the types and styles of the designs that are a good fit for Stringing.
- Make sure to consider the themes for each issue loosely laid out in the submission guidelines. This will give you an advantage because you can design something appropriate for the focus of that particular issue or section.
- Instructions are not something that your acceptance is based on. Danielle just says to do the best you can. They end up editing the instructions anyway to fit the format of the magazine. The most important part is a thorough materials list.
- Be unique in your style, while not being too complicated
- Pay attention to the deadlines for particular issues – if you want to send in a submission for consideration via email, it needs to be sent at least 2 weeks before the deadline. They will contact you and let you know if you should send the instructions or that your design won’t work at this time and to please try again. If you miss the 2 week deadline, you can still send in your piece with instructions to their office (see the submission guidelines). Try to take advantage of the email submission process. This will save you a lot of time.
- Don’t just send in one piece. Try a few (up to 4 per issue). You will have a better chance of getting a piece selected. Yeah!
- Keep up with the fashion on TV and in the magazines while definitely adding your own spin… Stringing and BeadStyle both have a strong focus on fashion.
- Stringing doesn’t usually publish sets of jewelry. That doesn’t mean that you can’t submit a set, maybe the necklace will be chosen for project page and the bracelet for the gallery. The project pages are usually necklaces.
- You get your pieces back, but know that if your design(s) are being published in the magazine, you won’t get them back for a few months. They hold onto the piece until the issue has been published.
- Last but not least you get PAID – necklaces earn more than bracelets and bracelets more than earrings.
- Once the issue publishes and they receive it in house, a complimentary copy of Stringing along with your design(s) and a check are sent to you.
- If you didn’t get accepted for the issue, Danielle asks that you please not get discouraged and to keep trying!
Their submission guidelines can be found here: Submitting Content to the Magazine. Important things to remember and take into account when submitting a design/s to BeadStyle Magazine are:
- Keep your design submissions cool and funky and fashionable, without the stitching and weaving. They won’t accept projects with these techniques.
- A good supplies list, especially for those unique or hard-to-find items.
- Make sure your submission has most of its components or similar components readily available from a retail source online. Examples of exceptions to this are if you have a super unique handmade one-of-a-kind component, but someone could substitute in their own super unique handmade one-of-a-kind component, or if one or some of your components are vintage. You just need to make sure to tell them that.
- Photography –
- BeadStyle does not require a physical piece up front. You submit a photo first. I think that most people probably have a camera that is digital so this is the quickest option.
- Take good pictures. Try not to have much else in the picture other that the pieces you are submitting. Avoid using pictures that have rocks and twigs and flowers in them . You can send in more than one picture of a piece – different angles, close-ups, on a jewelry neck, etc…
- BeadStyle doesn’t ask for instructions. They will write basic instructions for their readers.
- There are no submission deadlines, because they’re not based on any one issue.
- When you submit to BeadStyle, that includes both the magazine and their website. The decision is theirs.
- As with any design, you need to make sure that you are the originator of the design. They can’t publish a design that you completed in a class, saw somewhere online, or copied from another piece. Another important thing to remember is that they would appreciate you not submitting a piece that you are submitting to another magazine or that has been previously published.
- All the designs that have been submitted are pooled 1-2 times per month and the editorial staff selects the pieces and places them with the appropriate magazine issue.
- You will be contacted either way as soon as a decision is made. If your piece is selected, you will be told what it is being held for. As with Stringing, you will not get your piece back until the issue has published.
- BeadStyle also pays for pieces that are selected. The check however, will typically not be arriving with your returned piece of jewelry.
- Erin says “Don’t be discouraged and keep trying. If your piece didn’t get selected that doesn’t mean we don’t want you or what you are doing, so keep submitting.”
- Remember, you need to be selective in what you submit. Pick 5 you are proud of and think are strong and send them!
After speaking with the mags, I called up Cynthia from Green Girl Studios. I’m sure you have seen her jewelry designs in Stringing Magazine and her fantastical pewter bead designs on Lima Beads. She is an avid contributor so I thought her insights would prove valuable. She says it is very important to design season appropriate – colors and styles of jewelry. Keep in mind that in the winter most people will not be wearing tank tops! Don’t forget about the theme — it can really help you become more focused on the components and style you choose to design with. If you send in 3-4 pieces, they may end up wanting to hold onto them for a later issue. Cynthia also told me with a laugh that you get really good service at stores and restaurants if the person waiting on you has seen you in the magazines.
There are a lot of magazines out there. Just because these two were highlighted doesn’t mean that you should only submit to them. If another magazine “speaks” to your style of beading better, then consider becoming a contributor. Most magazines have websites with published submission guidelines.
If anyone has submitted their designs, please share your stories, successes, trials and tribulations. We’d love to hear what you have to say. As for me, I plan on trying out this whole submission process with Stringing and BeadStyle very soon. I will be first timer like many of you, so I’ll make sure to keep you posted!