Saturday, May 10, 2008

Submitting Work to a Magazine

In a previous post, Mae asked:
"How does one get into a magazine? Do you have to get a hold of them? Do you have to make a pattern for the doll you have in the magazine? How does that work?" I thought I'd answer her in the form of an article I'm writing for ODACA Expressions, the publication for members of the Original Doll Artist Council of America:

>>As doll artists, collectors and admirers of dolls, many of us subscribe to doll magazines. But if you haven’t considered submitting an article to one of these publications, you should. For the artist, an article will call attention to your dolls. Consider it the best free advertising. There is the recognition of your expertise, and even payment for that knowledge. Of course, the readers and magazines benefit from submissions, too.

What should you write about? With a variety of doll magazines on the market, one is bound to suit your fancy. Research past issues of the magazine for a better understanding of what they are looking for, i.e. step-by-step instructions, materials, sources.

If you are a doll artist, consider taking step-by-step photos of a new project, or submitting a doll pattern. Many magazines publish submission guidelines, indicating the kinds of articles they want and photography requirements. Here are just a few:
Soft Dolls & Animals~
Doll Crafter & Costuming~
Contemporary Doll Collector~ (also published by Scott Publications, above)
Doll Castle News~

You may want to start with a query letter before investing time and energy in a full article. Check the guidelines first. Sending a letter first to see if an article idea interests the editor can be done much more quickly than researching and writing a whole article. Your query letter should be written on plain, white stationery, free from grammatical or spelling errors. Address the letter to the editor and include a stamped self-addressed envelope so the editor can reply. Many editors will accept query letters and articles via email; others prefer regular mail. Don’t wait for the magazine to contact you. Without submissions, magazines can’t sustain readership.>>

A couple months ago, I submitted a pattern proposal to one of the magazines above. I included all the information they requested (description, size, skill level, supply list, contact information, etc.) and several photos of the finished doll. I wrote that if they weren't interested or unable to publish the pattern due to space/theme constraints, to let me know ASAP and I'd submit it to another magazine (this pattern was one particularly suited to magazine submission - not too lengthy, good for many skill levels, etc.). Their schedule was full for the rest of the year, so after hearing from them I sent the same information to another magazine. They accepted the project and currently have the sample doll, a hard copy of the pattern, a CD containing the pattern instructions, illustrations and step-by-step photos. (Incidentally, the first magazine just contacted me and asked whether the project was still available.) The magazines have wonderful photographers and often prefer to take their own photos.

At least a few of the doll magazines also have galleries that feature photos of dolls readers have submitted. Just check out the magazines (some have gallery "themes") to find out how to submit a photo, and what their digital resolution requirements are.

Above is a photo of me and most of my patterns, holding my beloved Rosie.


Orice said...

Hi Deanna,

The warmth of your sweet presence is still with us, as Kathy, Lisa and I finish up and share our dolls with one another. We'll get a photo of all of them soon.

We sure loved having you here! You and your dollies are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

This was extremely helpful Deanna. I am just trying to get some articles published myself so this is great.

Deanna Hogan said...

Orice~ I loved spending time with all of you. Thank you for your hospitality!

Colleen~ I'm so glad this post is helpful to you. I can't wait to see your contributions!