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Welcome to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, hosted by Marie Segares.
About The Show
This podcast is focused on the unique challenges and joys of being a creative indie business owner in the yarn industry. Whether you’re a crochet or knitting designer, blogger, maker, podcaster, publisher, tech editor, or author; or a yarn spinner or dyer; or you make crochet hooks or knitting needles or accessories; this show will be all about how you can grow your business while hopefully staying productive, creative, and sane! I’ll share a new episode of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show every Wednesday with a format that combines solo shows and interviews.
About This Episode
This week’s episode is about how to identify the right magazines to target for article, design, and tutorial submissions. The publishing industry has changed so much in the last few years and you may not be thinking about submitting to magazines anymore. There are a lot of reasons you might want to periodically revisit whether submitting proposals to magazines is a good fit for your business, and if it is, which magazines make the most sense for you to consider as possible publishers.
To get you started, you can download this list of 30+ crochet and knitting magazines with proposal guidelines links and contact information. When proposal guidelines aren’t posted, you can reach out to the contact email and ask to join a proposal call list and/or to submit an unsolicited proposal. Please note that appearing on the list does not mean I’m endorsing the magazine! I haven’t even worked with most of these magazines before and I encourage you to do your due diligence before submitting a proposal.
Another great source for current magazine calls for proposals is the Designers group on Ravelry.
Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, or Design Submission: 10 Factors to Consider
- Distribution Channels and Customer Base
- Magazine’s Overall Aesthetic
- Editorial Calendar, Mood Board, and/or Call for Proposals
- Submission and Pre-Publication Process and the Publication Supports Available
- The Team
- Copyright and Exclusivity Terms
- Confidentiality/Pre-Publication Social Media Policies
- Deadline/Timeline for Current and Near Future Issues
- Cost of Submission
Considering these factors helps you decide if a particular magazine is a good fit with you values, your business goals, and your current schedule. It should also lead to a higher acceptance rate since you aren’t targeting magazines that don’t fit your style, and more satisfaction with the terms of your publishing agreement.
This post contains affiliate links.
1) Distribution Channels and Customer Base
Print magazines are available in local yarn shops (LYS), book stores, grocery stores, big box stores, and other places an indie may have a hard time accessing. Digital magazines may be available on a particular platform that you aren’t working with already. The magazine may expose you to a different (or larger) audience than those who have already been introduced to your work. You may choose a magazine that reaches your existing audience to reinforce your presence among future customers.
2) Magazine’s Overall Aesthetic
Besides the magazine’s website, blog, or Facebook page, Ravelry is a good source for looking through past issues. Some questions to ask to see if the magazine is the right fit for your business are:
- How does the overall aesthetic of the magazine connect with your (current or future) work?
- What type of yarn is used? (Large vs. indie brands, fiber types, weights, price points.)
- How do you feel about the styling, photography, and layout?
- What types of projects and articles are featured?
- What skill level(s) are targeted?
3) Editorial Calendar, Mood Board, and/or Call for Proposals
Do you feel inspired to propose something in response to a mood board or posted call for proposals? If not, you may want to target this magazine at another time. When mood boards or call information isn’t publicly available, try to find out about the editorial calendar so you can submit proposals that are timely.
4) Submission and Pre-Publication Process and the Publication Supports Available
Are you pitching an idea and then moving forward if it is approved by the editorial team? Or, are you sending in the completed content (the complete article or tutorial with photos, or the pattern with photographs of a completed sample) as the proposal?
What types of publication supports are available? Some examples include:
- Editing and tech editing,
- Styling and photography,
- Pattern layout and formatting,
- Content curation,
- Yarn (who selects the yarn, who arranges for yarn support),
- Promotion and marketing.
Decide what balance you are seeking between control and support. The more control you want to maintain, the less support you may need from a magazine. The more support you need, the less control of publication supports you may need.
What type of compensation does the magazine offer?
- Monetary compensation (fixed payments that provide an expected level of cash flow for your business or royalties or a percentage of sales that provide the possibility of income with some uncertainty).
- Advertising within the magazine (such as an ad for your blog or Ravelry page).
- Featured promotion via social media.
- Contributor copies of the magazine.
- Ability to use photos or edits after publication.
- Giveaways for your fans.
How does this fit with your business’s current financial and marketing needs?
6) The Team
Is there someone on the team (an editor, tech editor, or photographer) that you want to work with in the future? A magazine project can be a great introduction. If the magazine is a new venture, what do you know about the team – do they feel trustworthy and reliable to you? Conversely, are there people on the team that you’d like to avoid? Perhaps you’ve had problems with this person in the past, or you don’t like how this individual presents herself on social media.
7) Copyright and Exclusivity Terms
What copyright and exclusivity terms would your agreement with the magazine include?
- Does the magazine purchase all rights to the article/tutorial/design, first rights, or just the right to publish?
- Does the magazine have the permanent right to publish this work, or only for a specific time period?
- Does these terms include print and digital, print only, or digital only?
How do these terms balance out with other aspects of the agreement, particularly the compensation?
8) Confidentiality/Pre-Publication Social Media Policies
Can you keep a secret? If not, look for a magazine with a more liberal pre-publication social media policy! Consider whether you can mention that you are working with the magazine, will be included in a particular issue, share the yarn or products you will be using, post “sneak peak” photos, or even have the same content available online or in print prior to the publication of the magazine issue that would include your work.
9) Deadline/Timeline for Current and Near Future Issues
Even when you have a identified a target magazine that is a great fit for you and your business, there may be times when the deadlines and timelines don’t fit into your schedule for personal or business reasons. Be sure to consider deadlines before submitting proposals, because if your work is accepted, you won’t want to back out or miss a deadline, especially if you haven’t worked with that magazine in the past. When submissions and/or the final work will be physically mailed, think about how much time you’ll need to add to the deadline to accommodate shipping times, especially if the magazine is in a different country and your package will need to pass through customs.
10) Cost of Submission
This includes a combination of the costs for the proposal submission and the final work. If the submission process is very detailed or involved, you may spend more time/money on the proposal. When the proposals and final projects are submitted electronically, the costs can be relatively lower, assuming you are able to provide all of the content (including photographs). When you are dealing with physical submissions, consider the costs for expedited services or international mailing if appropriate. This is particularly important if your business is currently strapped for cash.
Many of these factors are interrelated. Considering each factor will help you decide which magazines you want to target in general, or at a specific time in your business’s evolution. Finding a magazine that is a good fit for your business can lead to a great partnership.
Here are some helpful links I’ve put together about submitting proposals.
- If you design garments but aren’t the best illustrator, a croqui template can help you show how your garments will fit on a body without having to draw a really sad stick figure. Designer Nexus has free croqui templates, and Prestige Pro Design has a wonderful board on Pinterest with lots of links to croqui templates.
- Tinking Turtle Designs has a “Post Mortem” series and reWOOLutionary knits has a debriefing series. Both include the actual design submissions along with details on the design process and the final design.
- I’ve set up a Pinterest board with a growing collection of links related to submitting magazine proposals.
- There’s a Craftsy class, Pattern Writing for Knitters Class, that may provide helpful information for newbie designers.
What other tips can you share about submitting designs to magazines? What questions do you have that weren’t addressed in this summary or in the show? Leave a comment below, Tweet me at @cyeshow, or leave a message at 646-713-8973. (You can call me for free through the Contact page.)
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