I first had contact with Paige a few years ago when she asked me to create an album for the "One Amazing Album" column in the April 2012 issue of Scrapbook Trends and most recently she gave me the opportunity to be a Guest Designer for American Crafts. She is an amazing scrapbooker and after I wrote my original "tips for publication" article it occurred to me that Paige would have the BEST tips out there. So I wrote her and asked if she would be willing to do a Guest Blog post on that topic and she graciously accepted (Thanks Paige!). So without further ado, here are Paige's tips for getting publications :)
TIPS FOR GETTING PUBLISHED by Paige Evans
Make note of what we’re looking for!
Scrapbook Trends/CARDS/Simply Handmade/Cricut/Cricut Idea Books/Create Idea Books calls are all updated the day after a call ends (well, at the moment it’s taking a bit longer because we’re changing staff, but they will be!) on this website: http://northridgepublishing.com/forms/submit-creation. Write down the calls you’re interested in submitting to and get to work! Pay close attention to deadlines because once they’re over, they’re over and can’t be submitted to.
Submit to very specific calls!
Challenges and articles receive the fewest submissions, so your chances of getting picked up increase by submitting to those. Open-ended or catch-all calls like “showcase” receive dozens, if not hundreds, of submissions, and when only 6 or so layouts can be picked out of hundreds, well, do the math :) The narrower the call, the better.
Keep track of product/supplies you use!
As you’re creating your projects, write down what you’re using somewhere. When you submit your projects, it’s so very helpful for us if you include the supplies you used along with a sentence or two about your project. Sometimes people say “supplies available upon request” in the “supplies” field, but that’s no good. When we’re writing the supplies and tip and we have a question about a product/technique, it’s so much easier and faster to look up the supplies you used in your submission form rather than email you and wait for a response. Bottom line: include your COMPLETE list of supplies - from big ticket items like patterned paper and embellishments to things you maybe wouldn’t think of like the font for journaling or brand of pen and adhesive.
Use current/new product!
We want to be on top of current trends so using new product is a must. Also, we work 6 months in advance so even brand new product will be half a year old by the time your projects are in print. Getting your hands on CHA product in advance is always a bonus!
Use trendy techniques!
Stay on top of techniques by scrolling through galleries like twopeasinabucket.com and scrapbook.com. Read design team blogs (like American Crafts, Crate Paper, BasicGrey, Pebbles, Studio Calico, and more) and see what their designers are doing. It’s okay to scraplift an idea/technique, just try to vary it slightly and make it your own! Currently we’re seeing a lot of layering, clustering, white backgrounds, spray mist, painting and artsy-fartsy-ness, feathers, wood veneer embellishments, die cutting backed with patterned paper, doilies, chevron, banners, honeycomb, and stitching. Keep up with the trends!
Use great photos on your layouts!
Unless the requirement is “scrapbooking poor quality photos” always use great photos. Photos straight from the camera aren’t usually great – unless you know how to use your camera, lighting is usually dim and not enticing. Luckily there are free picture editing programs like Picasa and free “actions” on Photoshop so with a click of a button you can make your photos look professional. The better quality your photos, the better your chances of getting picked are!
Take great photos of your projects!
Along the same lines as using great photos on your layouts, take great photos of your layouts/projects! You don’t need to put them in a fancy set up scene, unless you want to, but really all we want to see is the project itself. Crop out the background! Make sure lighting is awesome (again, this can be achieved after the picture is taken and then you can fix it in a photo editing program).
Sometimes it takes awhile to build up and define and figure out your own style. Keep on keeping at it and submit submit submit! The more you submit the better your chances of being seen and noticed and then picked up are.
If you are picked up, do everything correctly!
Once you’ve been picked up (CONGRATS!) make sure you fill out all the paperwork and requirements necessary and complete everything ON TIME! If you’re consistently sending in things late… well… we may not pick up your stuff for awhile :) Or if your forms are incomplete and we have to keep hassling you for information, we’ll remember that too :)