- Are you able to meet deadlines no matter what?
- Can you string words together into basic grammatically correct sentences?
- Are you okay with following specifications?
- Can you handle rejection without getting too freaked out?
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, then move on and read something else on this blog because craft publishing is not for you. And here’s why.
Deadlines! ugh! When you commit to producing a written work and finished craft project for a client (which is what a publisher becomes), then you are signing a virtual contract. Granted, you may not have to sign one that says you’ll have the work to him/her or else, but it won’t take long to burn bridges with editors if you don’t do what you say you will do. It doesn’t matter that your glue didn’t dry in time or your baby came down with Bing-Ling Flu. It’s not that they don’t care, but they also have deadlines to meet, and if you can’t support them they won’t be around to offer you future work.
Grammar? I don’t know no stinking grammar! I realize that grammar can be a frightening word for some people, but if you are going to get published, you must be able to actually write well. And, that includes grammatically correct text. Sure, your editor may find a few comma splices to fix, but other than that, if she has to totally rewrite your work, she could have just done it herself in the first place. Why does she need you?
Expect some specs. Every book, magazine, or web publisher has its own way of putting words and images together. Some of the books I’ve been working on recently are super duper heavy when it comes to codes and specific format requirements. This is the less glamorous side of writing, but it saves publishers oodles of time if everything is in the proper place before they publish it. Most will have guidelines (more on that later in a future blog post) as well as template requirements and all kinds not-so-fun format specifications for you to follow. If you feel squeamish about this, you’ll need to get over it.
Dear Joan, thank you, but… Finally, there’s the notion that more than likely you’ll get your share (and then some) of politely worded emails and/or letters thanking you for your “interesting/unique/unusual” project; however, they do not feel it will fit within their current publishing scope or whatever. Basically, thank you but no thank you. They won’t tell you why your projects are not accepted because their job is not to critique your work. Before jumping to the conclusion that there is something wrong with it, consider any other number of reasons why it wasn’t accepted: too seasonal, too similar to a project they had already, not the right colors they are looking for, too easy, too hard, too [fill in the blank]. But, expect it and learn to deal with it. Feel free to cry for a few minutes, but then suck it up, and find another publisher to send the project off to asap.
If you’ve been seriously thinking of becoming a published craft designer, then seriously think about these questions.
That’s it! Lesson 1 is ova! Feel free to list your answers in the comments section. I know there is a lot more to talk about, and I plan to in future posts as part of this series, but these I felt were the 4 top questions to consider first.