Publication Tips

Publication Tips

Every once in a blue moon, I receive emails, tweets, or comments from fellow crafters such as yourself that are interested in bring published in the different crafty magazines we see on our store shelves. I am always eager and willing to help because so many fellow crafters helped me when I reached out to them! So here are my tips. The information I’m providing is based from my experiences only. So, please don’t take this as “the law of the publication land”. The information is simply here to help you along your journey.

Before you submit:

  1. Scour the magazines on store shelves and online. By doing your research you can find out the magazines styles and figure out which magazine(s) suits your personal style.
  2. Look out for publication calls or editorial calendars. Sometimes you have to write the editor for the calendar. It can be a short direct email like, “Dear Mr/Mrs. So & So, I am interested in submitting to your publication and was wondering if you could email me an updated editorial calendar. Thank you, Your name, Your blog address”
  3. Once you’ve found some submission calls you’re interested in, read the call very carefully. It is best to submit creations that are for a specific category. If you are unsure of which category to submit to, go with your gut and use your best instincts. I’ve had cards picked up and thrown into different categories, so if the editors like your design and thinks it fits their needs, they will pick it up.
  4. Keep track of deadlines on a calendar, more specifically the time the call ends on a specific day. If you are on PST, take note of the EST difference of +3 hours.
  5. Some magazines do not accept cards that have been published anywhere online such as a blog or online gallery.

Creating for a call:

  1. If you have cards in your stash that fit a certain category, by all means SUBMIT them!
  2. Keep track of the supplies you are using. I organize my supplies by brand/collection so that I can easily recall what product I used for a creation. Maybe you could keep track of your supplies in a notebook/journal!
  3. Do not used retired products that can no longer be purchased. If a retired product accidentally slips into a design and is picked up for publication, it will not hurt your chances of having it published. Just take not of the brand/type/collection in your write-up.
  4. If possible use current and/or new products when creating. Editors love seeing new product!
  5. Make sure your finished product is clean and polished. So no adhesive boogers, crooked cuts, or exposed adhesive. Simply, submit your best!

Photographing your creations:

  1. Photograph/scan your creations on a neutral background (white, black, kraft, cream, beige, etc.).
  2. Take clear well-lit straight-on photos, no funny angles.
  3. Use natural outdoor lighting as much as possible. If you live in a dreary place, like myself, you might want to create your own light box or invest in some external lighting (like an external camera flash to bounce the flash, some Ott-lights, or a photographer’s light tent).
  4. Use photo editing software such as Gimp or Picnic to sharpen and resize those photos.
  5. Do not add any watermarks. Most editors judge the creations blindly and do not like the addition of watermarks.

Submitting your creations:

  1. When you submit your creations, you will be asked to add all your personal information and details about your card such as instructions and supplies. If you submit to Take Ten, you simply mail in your creations.
  2. Follow the submission guidelines per each publication. Paper Crafts has an online form to submit and CARDS Magazine asks that you email cards to a specific email address. Make sure to follow the instructions pertaining to file sizes of photos.
  3. To remember your supplies and instructions, take a quick screen shot of all the information before sending it! This way, when the editor chooses your creation your information is good to go! No digging needed!

The Waiting Game:

  1. Once you’ve submitted, you have to wait. Most publications do not send emails if you’re not accepted, only when you’re accepted.
  2. Most publications take a week to get back to you if you are picked up. Paper Crafts Magazine is kind enough to tweet and post their status on Facebook for their eager artists!
  3. If you’re picked up…YAY!!!!!
  4. If you’re not picked up, it’s okay to cry. I cried for about 3-4 months straight, just ask my DH. Try try try try try again! Don’t be afraid to ask a friend’s advice. I actually wrote Susan, an editor from Paper Crafts, asking for advice and she kindly responded. Go ahead and email me! I’m here if you need help! Seriously-

So you’ve been accepted:

  1. Make sure to send your creation safely and in a timely manner. Some publications require you to submit forms online as well.
  2. Some publications pay and some pay in product. If the publication pays, you will have to submit a W-9 for tax purposes.
  3. You are required to keep track of your own earnings.
  4. You will have to wait until the issue is in stores to receive compensation, sometimes you have to wait even longer.
  5. There is a lot of work that goes into being published and to me, it’s WELL WORTH IT!

Paper Crafts Magazine “do”s and “don’t”s:

  • Never:
  • Send food, candy, liquid, or any item that may melt or leak unless specifically requested, and please package it separately from paper project pieces when sending it.
  • Email your contract to Ahtanya. Your contract should be physically mailed with your project (see second bullet below).
  • Miss a deadline.
    • When your project is late, it creates a domino effect for each step in our production process and results in added costs we must incur.
    • Unfortunately, effective immediately, we will begin making deductions from your project fees. However, we realize that international mail can be a pill, so we will review this on a case by case basis.
  • Always:
    • Fill out the contract completely every time. Don’t forget your signature, zip code, SSN (if a US resident).
    • Send the signed contract, your project(s), and your printed copies of supplies and instruction lists all in one package.
    • Email your supply and instruction lists to the appropriate person (usually Susan) on or before the deadline.
      • These documents are used by the writers (who are off-site) and saved on the network for future reference – often answering a question from a reader years after the issue has been printed.
    • Carefully pack your items to prevent breakage.
    • Be on time. YAY!

STILL have some burning questions?

Maybe these tips from the kind editors at Paper Crafts Magazine can help answer those questions!

Good luck on your paper crafting journey :)

97 Comments on Publication Tips

  1. susan r. opel
    January 5, 2011 at 18:18 (5 years ago)

    Utterly stellar, info, Tiff! I will retweet and share on FB for all of the Paper Crafts fans!

    • iheartart
      January 5, 2011 at 18:23 (5 years ago)

      Thank you so much Susan, in more ways than one, THANK YOU!

      • susan r. opel
        January 5, 2011 at 19:04 (5 years ago)


  2. Ann Cox
    January 5, 2011 at 18:27 (5 years ago)

    Thanks, Tiff! It’s so easy to get discouraged…any suggestions will help! 😀

    • iheartart
      January 5, 2011 at 18:28 (5 years ago)

      Ann, if you ever get discouraged I am here for ya! Never ever ever give up!

  3. Libby
    January 5, 2011 at 18:38 (5 years ago)

    Tiff you ROCK, what wonderful info!!

    • iheartart
      January 5, 2011 at 18:59 (5 years ago)

      Thanks Libby! YOU are the one that rocks!

  4. steph
    January 5, 2011 at 18:38 (5 years ago)

    thanks so much for the info, tiff :)! i always wanted to learn more about this topic. happy new year! *hugs* and much aloha, steph :)

  5. Diana Slaughter
    January 5, 2011 at 18:57 (5 years ago)

    Hi Tiffany-Just wanted to say thanks for the great tips. I have been published a few times now and it certainly is a thrill-no doubt. I agree 100% to keep trying if at first you don’t succeed. Thanks again.

    • iheartart
      January 5, 2011 at 18:58 (5 years ago)

      I love getting those magazines! I send the extras to family and they love them too :) Thanks for checking out the post!

  6. Ryann Salamon
    January 5, 2011 at 19:41 (5 years ago)

    Yay Tiff!!

  7. Ruza
    January 5, 2011 at 20:24 (5 years ago)

    Thank you for the insite!!! This will help for future submissions.

  8. Lisa - papergrace
    January 5, 2011 at 20:25 (5 years ago)

    THANK YOU!!!! I am TOTALLY bookmarking this!! As you know, I got so discouraged I just plain ‘ol stopped submitting. :( Maybe I’ll just have to try again. Just maybe!

    Thank you for this beautifully well-written post.

  9. crafty girl
    January 5, 2011 at 20:31 (5 years ago)

    Thanks so much for your tips! Like most of us…I’d love to be published! Your tips are sure to keep me on the right road. Big THANKS:o)

  10. Lorena (Paperella)
    January 8, 2011 at 05:41 (5 years ago)

    Thanks so much for this valuable advice, Tiff!! I’ve submitted a couple of times and also cried a bit 😉 But I’ll keep trying. I have a couple questions tho regarding Cards Magazine: 1. In their submission calls page it is not stated anywhere that your creation can not have been published online (I’m talking my blog specifically), so do you know if it is ok to submit blogged cards (obviously removing them if they get picked)? and 2. They have calls for a few different issues at the same time, so I’m completely lost at how long the judging process takes. Say I submit for an issue in which the deadline is on jan 1st. Do you know how long it is before I know that the card hasn’t been picked? I know that in the case of PPC it’s one week, but no idea about Cards Mag, hence I don’t know when I should start crying, lol!
    Thank you very, very much in advance :)

    • iheartart
      January 8, 2011 at 12:37 (5 years ago)

      Lorena, I’m so sorry to hear about your rejection. In my opinion it is their loss, for sure! Okay, to get back to your questions…

      -CARDS accepts cards that have been displayed online! YAY! In my “Publication Tips” I said that some publications only accept cards that have never appeared online.
      -CARDS is really good about getting back to you in a few days after the deadline. So, expect an email before the week ends. Maybe you could connect with other artists that are submitting to determine when the emails are being sent? I know a lot of tweet about it! Just a thought…

      I hope I’ve helped you! Thank you for your comments!!!! GOOD LUCK!

  11. Lorena (Paperella)
    January 8, 2011 at 23:27 (5 years ago)

    Thank you very much for your super quick answers, Tiff!!! They’ve sure helped me! I’m not one to be easily discouraged. I even like to think that the problem is that I don’t have enough time to devote to the cause, with my family and a full time job as journalist. People even ask me where I find the time to do cards 😉 But one of my new year goals is to be published, so who knows? 😉

  12. Kimberley Jackson-Brown
    February 14, 2011 at 08:34 (5 years ago)

    THANKS SO MUCH for these great tips. I have been so hesitant to submit anything for fear of rejection, but there’s no other way to get published other than putting myself out there. Thanks again for the great advice!

  13. Isha
    April 10, 2011 at 13:36 (5 years ago)

    Thanks Tiff for this informative post.


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