11 February 2011

How to ... get published!

I’ve been asked by a few people how I have managed to get my designs published in magazines, so I thought I’d write about it here for anyone who was interested.

First, a little background on me. A few years ago, I was an editorial assistant and then editor for craft magazines in Australia, so I’ve seen the process from both sides – as both a contributor and an editor.

I’ve had my cross stitch designs published three times before this year: once in Homespun magazine in 2003, then twice in Australian Country Threads in 2004 and 2005. I’m being published this year in Australian Country Craft and Decorating, so this will be my fourth and fifth times.

Homespun from 2003. That's my Double Wedding Ring design on the shelf!
With each magazine, the process has been different. With Homespun, I actually worked there at the time so I knew the editor personally (if you’re reading this, you know who you are, thank you!). I knew what sort of project was usually published in this magazine, so I designed something with the magazine style in mind.

A year or so later, I sent some photos of my work to the editor of Australian Country Threads. She picked two of my designs, and that’s how I was found in that case.

And more recently, I was contacted by the editor of Australian Country Craft and Decorating  through my Etsy shop.

And that, in a nutshell, are the three main ways to be found by a magazine: 

1)       Know the right people.
2)       Contact editors directly.
3)       Be out there and available to be contacted.

It really can be that simple. From an editor’s point of view, sometimes they are inundated with submissions and can pick and choose from those. Other times, they have to go out and search for their projects, at craft shows or on the internet.

Here’s a few other useful tips:

1)       Do some research. Speaking specifically about the Australian market, there are actually only five or six publishing companies out there who have craft titles (there are certainly many more in the US or UK). However, no matter where you are, you will find that the larger publishing houses put out a variety of magazines with different targets and styles. For example, one publisher may have a cross stitching magazine, a country design magazine, a quilting magazine, a beading magazine, a scrapbooking magazine, a card-making magazine etc. Therefore, consider finding a larger publishing house for submission, as they may be happy to pass your projects to the magazine which is most appropriate. Alternatively, just pick your favourite magazine and send in a submission.

2)       Don’t be afraid! Send a letter or email with a few photos to the editor of your chosen magazine. The worst thing that can happen is a rejection. It is disappointing when it happens, but you haven’t actually lost anything. It can be worth the effort!

3)       Know the style of the magazine. In my case, I wouldn’t send photos of my Ancient Egyptian designs to a Homespun-style magazine, because they just wouldn’t be interested.

4)       Don’t expect to hear back quickly. Editors have to plan their editions months in advance, and are often flat out! So if you put in a submission, you may not hear back for weeks or even months. It depends on the editor. Don’t be discouraged, but be patient. If you don’t hear back at all, chalk it up to experience and try again later.

5)       Be organised. If accepted, an editor will need a lot of information from you in regards to your design/project, and will need it promptly and with minimum fuss. If it goes well the first time, you’re much more likely to be contacted again in future!

But really, it can all be summed up into one piece of advice: just go for it! Rejection can be disappointing, but it’s not fatal so give it a try.

Australian Country Threads from February 2005.
 If anyone has any other questions, please ask!


  1. Thanks for this post Linda! I always love sifting through my collection of Homespun/Patchwork & Stitching etc, but I never knew how submissions were handled. I'd really like to try submitting something soon :)

  2. I've been considered do this sometime this year. I wanted to get more designs out there first. =) Thanks for the read. I loved it. =))