In lesson one of this series on getting your craft work published, I talked about some of the basic skills you need and then I followed it with lesson two where I talked about doing your homework on the various publishers out there. Once you’ve done your homework, you have probably narrowed down your list to a few magazine publishers to approach about your craft work (we’ll stick with magazines in this lesson since they are a good place for the novice craft writer to start), and hopefully, you have at least a few ideas to pitch to them. Or, at the very least, you need one craft project or finished piece that you feel would appeal to the magazine’s audience.
The next step is to find out how to submit your idea, and you’ll need to submit one idea to one publisher, not one idea to multiple publishers. That’s a major professional crafting and writing rule because if one publisher accepts it, you will only alienate other publishers if you take back your submission. That is simply wasting their time, and they won’t appreciate it. So, go for the publisher at the top of your list first. If you get turned down, simple move on to the next one.
Once you have picked your first publisher to contact, you’ll need to find out its submission guidelines, and unfortunately, not all magazines have the same guidelines. Thus, you can’t assume that you can just send in your query in any old format. There are specific rules to follow for each one. The good news is that 99 percent of the time (thanks to the WWW), you will find author submission guidelines posted on the publisher’s web site. In fact, Cyndi Lavin of the Jewelry and Beading Blog actually compiled a list of links to a slew of jewelry and beading magazines. So, if you are a jewelry designer, check out her post and bookmark it. She saved you a lot of work! If you are interested in submitting to other types of craft publishers, no worries, just head over to their web sites and look around. Most will have links visible on their home page that will direct you to the authors’ guidelines.
When you locate the guidelines, read them carefully and do your best to follow them. Normally, they will include information such as what type of crafts they do and do not accept and possibly a theme calendar; what type of format they accept work such as electronic or hard copy, Word, Word Perfect, .jpg, .tiff, all types of formats you’ll need to send your information in to them (and most accept only electronic submissions these days); what the actual format of the proposal should look like (one page, 12 point Times Roman font, etc.) along with how long it is; and I think you get the picture. They have a list of rules to follow, and you need to follow them.
Once you send it out, it is time to wait, and how long you have to wait really depends. I’ve head editors get back to me in a day and others get back to me three months later. Most will at least tell you they received your submission, but it usually takes awhile for them to evaluate it.
If you get rejected, which of course happens as it’s the nature of the beast called craft publishing, you go down to the next publisher on your list, and repeat the same procedure I just explained. More than likely, you’ll have to do only some minor changes to your submission before sending it out, but chances are you will have to do at least a few changes to it.
And, that’s the basic process. One word of caution, though. As I wrote in previous lessons, you really have to expect some rejection, but that does not mean your idea is not good. It may just not be right for that particular publisher. So, if you feel you have a winner, keep knocking on doors until one opens for you.