Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Getting Published in a Magazine! Ellen March ~ Sewing Summit 2013 (part 2)

Hi Everyone,

How many of you want to be published in a magazine? It is attainable when you know how to do it. I attended a class at Sewing Summit, last weekend, taught by Ellen March, the "talent" on the PBS show Sew It All. She is also the editor-in-chief for Sew News, Creative Machine Embroidery and Sew it All Magazines.

Some of the most important advice from Ellen, was that you really need to know the magazine that you are submitting to. Make sure that your project/design will "work" in their magazine. You don't want to submit a "primitive" style project to a "modern" magazine. You'll also want to know who the editors and assistant editors are. Sometimes the assistant is the person whom you'll be conversing with.

Ellen March "How to get published in a magazine" SEE YOUR NAME IN PRINT!
Ellen March, wearing a dress with sewing machines, buttons, scissors, and measuring cute!
Know the Audience
Know who reads the magazine and know what type of design they would want to make. Know what type of columns they write and check out the "article index" to see what they are writing about AND what they've written about in the past (go online). If they just wrote about something, you don't want to submit the same idea or project. Your chances of getting published are better when you have a new/fresh idea that hasn't been printed before.

Look for things that the magazine is "not" covering, something new and current. I will also sure that the items your project is made from are still available to the readers.  We want to make sure that they can "make" the project! Sometimes I contact the manufacturer, if I can't find the product online. And I also ask how they want their information written up in the instructions. Name, item number, contact, etc.

Submission Information
Look for the magazine submission information on their website. And also look for their editorial calendar. If you can't find the editorial calendar, sometimes you'll find one in their "Media Kit." Knowing this information is key, as it tells you exactly what they are looking for and when! You may also work up your own calendar, which can be set up with magazines you want to work with and also the themes and when things are due.

Understanding copyright~IMPORTANT!
Be SURE that what you are creating and submitting is your own work! Magazines want something that is YOUR design, not a "copy" of someone else's design. If your design "resembles" another designers work, and you think of their work when you see yours, then you really need to design something else.

Some magazines will have a proposal on their sites. To get noticed you'll want to write a "winning" proposal! Have a catchy headline, use "word play," be brief with the proposal. There is not a lot of time, in their planning meetings, to look at something too long.

Provides photo samples of your work, a sketch of a new idea, etc. And add a "cover letter" with a little bio and explain what you are contacting them about.

I think working with magazines is a lot of fun, and I've been doing it for several years, now. For more information, I have a Radio Talk Show interview on how to be published. So, be sure to listen to that, as well! I tell you step-by-step on how to get published.

Good Luck in your endeavors, if you have any questions, please send me a comment, below and I'll answer it for you!

All of the attendees at the summit, enjoying lunch!
What we found at our table when we came in for lunch! Swag from Coats Thread!
Love the way they "threaded" it all together!
Ellen March and Heather Bailey! I caught them together! So much fun! Love them both!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more....on how to Brand Yourself! by Olivia Omega


  1. Kaye Wood
    Owner, Kaye Wood Inc

    Magazines are always looking for timely projects. Get their guidelines for articles (they usually differ from each other). I send mine in the font the magazine usually uses and find they change very little. I usually use Creative Suite (InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop) to create the article, which makes it easy for the magazines to just plug it into their format.

    1. GREAT advice, especially coming from you, Kaye! I still need to really dive into the Creative Suite programs!

  2. Jennifer Houlden
    Owner/Designer/Fibre Artist at Quilts by Jen

    Great article Denise, thanks. I will be featured in a magazine next summer and yes it is important that you and the magazine mesh and complement each other.

    1. Congratulations Jennifer! Would love to know which magazine and project! I'll have to check it out! I have one coming out in Oct/Nov with The Quilter Magazine. And one in Create & Decorate for Jan/Feb 2014.

  3. Michele Crawford
    Quilt Designer at Flower Box Quilts

    I have been designing quilts and needlecraft projects for manufacturers and magazines for 24 years, and it's NOT as easy or as profitable as one might think. I have had over 4500 designs published though.

    Just wanted to ask Denise how you got licensed in the quilt and craft industry.


    1. Michele, Thanks for asking how I started licensing in the craft and quilt industry. I was a member of The Society of Creative Designers, and many manufacturers, editors and publishers came to our annual conferences. The designers set up 8' tables of our works, and they viewed them and made appointments with us. I happened to see someone looking at my table and it was the President of JHB buttons, and I told him I've always wanted to design buttons, so, I gave him my card and mentioned that the quilting industry was changing, at that time, with the fabrics going more bright and he contacted me later to find out more, and that's how it started. I designed 3 different fruit and quilt button lines for them.

      I was also contacted by a company and designed fabric gift and scrapbooking pieces, from my contacts through the Society. The Society has now merged with CHA, The Craft and Hobby Association. And they also have tables for designers to display their work, and walk the large trade floor to network and connect with EMP's (Editors, Manufacturers, and Publishers). I've made a lot of great contacts through being a "designer member" of CHA.

    2. Hi Denise,
      I just love your article and never considered adding my craft to a magazine. I'm a primitive/country doll designer and I still get customers asking what is primitive. So maybe a magazine might be a good way to introduce my product. Thanks for the eye opener...keep up the good work :-)

    3. A good place to start with primitive projects would be, Create an d Decorate Magazine. The editors name is Beverly Hotz, and it's really great to work with.

  4. Read your article and I love it!
    By Talena Bacon

    1. Thank you so much! I hope inspires you to submit!

  5. I started with a local magazine where I would feature a design and got advertising in exchange. It taught me how to organize myself, write consistent patterns and make the quilt all on time to meet their deadlines.
    Now that I know all of this I will no longer do it for free, A needle Pulling Thread magazine is not in my choice of magazines to work with.
    Since January I have been looking into American magazines, choosing carefully my submissions according to my schedule. I am happy as I am going to be featured 4 times... but it's a lot of work and you need to stay on top of it.
    I am curious Denise on how to get to the next level: Endorsements from manufacturers
    By Claire Haillot

    1. Hi Claire, Congratulations on getting published! It is a good feeling! Remember that you are worth getting paid!!! Negotiate with the editors on what you want, even getting your copyright back after a 6 month period is negotiable. Some magazines want full rights, you'll want yours back.

      As far as working with them and find out if they have a "designer program." And if they pay endorsement fees for resourcing their product. They will let you know what they do...Some will only compensate with product, some will do product and endorsements. In the craft/quilt industry the endorsements are not typically too high, but, if you use several products, you can receive a nice amount. Good luck! Create a spreadsheet of what to keep track of when submitting to magazines. I have a date, item, to whom, accepted, deadline, instructions sent, project sent, issue received, project back, etc..even add endorsement sent/received columns! It is like my lifeline...keeps me on track with where things are.


Thank you for your comments! I really enjoy what you have to say!