Given some recent scrapbook message board discussions, and some questions that friends have asked me over the last year or so I thought I would post some tips on getting published. If you are interested in giving it a shot, read on. If not (and the publishing scene is not for everyone, which is totally fine), then feel free to skip this post. =)
1. Educate yourself. Read and learn all you can about good design principles. Study the pages in the magazines you are targeting and ask yourself what catches your eye, and if there is a particular common thread. That may give you a clue as to what the editors are looking for. Browse the galleries of the scrappers you like who have been published and see what you can pick up from their work. Ask scrappers you admire for some feedback on your work. Above all, make sure everything you submit is you very best work.
2. Read the calls carefully. It helps to understand exactly what they are looking for. For example, there was a call recently for travel pages with cool ways to include memorabilia. “Travel page” is obviously important in that sentence, but the “cool ways to include memorabilia” should really be the focus.
3. Think outside the box. Sometimes it helps to put a slightly different spin on a traditional topic. For example, if there’s a call for Mother’s Day pages, try creating a page about the frustrations and challenges of being a mom, rather than the happy times. If you don’t have children, make a page about the children in your life, or your feelings about becoming a mother in the future (whether you plan to, or not!)
4. Incorporate a cool technique or tip on your page. This is really not as hard as it sounds. Take a product or tool and brain storm on how you can use it in a non-conventional way. You may think you don’t have anything “new” to share, but just because you know how to do something, doesn’t mean everyone else does too. Make sure to include a brief sentence about that in your email when you submit your page.
5. Use products that are new or currently available. Now this one is a bit controversial because magazines have a 4-6 month lag time between accepting pages and actually getting the print into readers’ hands. Plus, although some magazines specifically request current product, others aren’t so concerned with what product is being used as much as how it is used. Each magazine and each call are different, so again, make sure to read the calls carefully. But my rule of thumb in general (not always) is to use newer stuff.
6. If at first (second, third, fourth, or fifth) you don’t succeed, try try again!! It took me about 5 or 6 months of regularly submitting before I had a page picked up for the first time. I’ve heard of scrappers submitting on and off for a couple of years before they get anything picked up. Don’t give up–the editors will notice you at some point. Remember, there are SO many factors that go into the pages they do select for any given feature so don’t take rejection personally. Your page may be totally publication worthy, but there are already enough 12×12 single pages in the feature, and they need a 2 pager. Or they’ve already got a clean and simple page, and would like a shabby chic one to appeal to a broad readership. Or the colors just don’t go with the other pages in the feature. See what I mean? KEEP AT IT!!
Hope that helps somebody. Do what you love, and love what you do. Peace out!