So today in my Google reader, I see Margot Potter's spot-on post about getting published, and, well, go read it -- it's very good! (Er, if you can get the page to load! All that glitz and glitter makes for quite the bandwidth-hog blog) I would only disagree with a couple of things, and one is, you don't even have to be a good writer to get published in most craft magazines (but it does help).
A lot of beadwork magazines, for example, mainly want you to be knowledgeable and create a nice project, they'll take care of your bad grammar. But if you want to be accepted a second time, well, read Margot and/or do this:
- Do what they ask & don't be a diva. You are not the Queen. An article is basically a collaboration -- be a team player. If you don't like the rules, you can always self-publish.
- Read previous issues and/or the mag's writer's guidelines and follow them as closely as possible.
- Don't indundate the mag with long communications. If you have to ask a question for clarification, keep it short. Editors are BUSY people.
- Make the deadline (oops. This is why I'm more or less on hiatus this year -- between my health and grad school, I have too little control over my own time.)
Hmmm, after rereading this I realized I should prolly acknowledge that there are times to walk away from a publishing/design gig -- there are bad editors, sloppy publishers, etc. etc. and people who just don't treat you right. Sorry if I sounded like the drama was always coming from the designers/contributors. 8-)
There's just one other thing I'd disagree with Margot on, and that is self-promotion. I think you have to find a way to promote that fits your personality. You can make a heckuva lotta money just being yourself, and quietly delivering a good product. Not everyone wants their own craft show (Go Margot!). And not everyone (especially other women) wants to hear you tooting your own horn all the time. But it's true, without promotion, you and your beautiful gifts will probably just sit there.
Take Bonnie Brooks. You might not have heard of her, cause she's a modest thing, but as a hand-worker she can spin gold. Everything she touches turns be000tiful! The fact that she is a graphic designer and a consummate artisan makes her an excellent independent technical editor. Her hands and her eye for detail are there behind a lot of great craft books. She gets work because she does work. Good work begets good work. Or something... so keep working. Promotion is sometimes an inside job.
Utimately, there isn't a right or wrong way to promote, and, thereby, carve out a niche for yourself (and frankly I don't see crafters getting filthy rich at it anyway), so my advice would be to, yes, stretch, pounce on possibilities, but be yourself. Because at the end of the day, you're who you come home to. 8-)
Actually, there is no ladder to climb, only goals to set for yourself. Once you get into the so-called "big leagues," don't be surprised if the landscape looks pretty flat, because, after all, it's populated with folks just like you, who happened to arrive a little sooner than you did. But don't be too disappointed if you no longer have time to do what you love -- make things. Personal things. Deep things. Studio time is usually the first to go.
Thinking about all this promotion and getting published and being a designer, I guess my secret weapon is "Just Say Yes." When a new door opens, walk through. If you don't like the party, you can always leave. If you go broke following that lead, well, you've earned more in wisdom than if you hadn't tried it. You'll work smarter next time. If it's a waste of your time, no biggee, just pull back and focus on what's productive (for you). If you're scared, make yourself do it anyway. It will be less scary the next time. If your dream is to get published, that will never happen unless you submit something already! Woot!
Check my other posts on this topic (label: getting published) for a list of bead/jewelry-related magazines to submit to.