How To Publish Your Designs in Jewelry Magazines
There’s nothing quite like walking into a bookstore or craft store, picking up a popular jewelry magazine, and seeing a beautiful photo of your own original design inside.
If that’s always been a secret dream of yours, let me be the first to tell you that it can come true! I’ve been publishing my jewelry designs in magazines since 2007. I remember how nervous I was sending out that first submission, so I completely understand if you’ve been hesitating. Let me reassure you: you can do this!
Two Basic Strategies
There are two basic strategies for getting your work published in beading and jewelry magazines:
1. Design your jewelry first, then research magazines and try to publish.
2. Research magazines first, then design your jewelry and try to publish.
Both strategies can work, and each has advantages and disadvantages. No need to choose just one; you can use them both.
Strategy 1: Design First
Say you’ve just created Your Best Design Ever and want to share it with a wider audience. In that case, look for magazines that have an open call for submissions or that have special sections for any type of work by readers. BeadStyle magazine is a good example of a magazine that has broad, open guidelines for submissions.
This method has the advantage of letting you design whatever kind of jewelry you like best as long as it fits the magazine’s general guidelines. As you might expect, this method is extremely popular, so the number of competing submissions will likely be very high. This type of publication usually does not have firm deadlines, which could be a problem if you tend to procrastinate. On the other hand, it means you can submit the minute you’re ready.
Strategy 2: Design Later
For this strategy, study jewelry magazines first and note their specific themes. Jewelry Stringing is a good example of a magazine with themed issues. Themes might include using specific colors, shapes, materials, techniques, or styles.
Even knowing that a magazine wants designs for their “spring issue” works to your advantage when submitting. (You’ll know not to send that snowflake bracelet.)
With this strategy, you might stretch your creativity by exploring new styles, materials, and colors that you wouldn’t normally use. On the other hand, the themes for a particular issue might not appeal to you or you might not own any materials needed to make an appropriate piece of jewelry. Themed issues tend to have concrete deadlines which might not work with your schedule. Because themes appeal to a narrower audience, the competition for publication can be a little less intense.
Tips for Getting Published
Whichever method you use, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Search online for submission guidelines for your favorite magazines. Check for themes, deadlines, and whether you’ll need to send a photo or write step-by-step instructions.
- Send your best work. Publication continues to be competitive with more jewelry designers competing for fewer slots in a decreasing number of magazines.
- If you need to send photos, make sure they are clear and show the entire piece. Editors want to see your tidy knotting technique and the perfect clasp you chose for your necklace without being distracted by lots of props or busy backgrounds.
- If you don’t get in the first time, keep trying. It’s often acceptable–even encouraged–to submit multiple designs for an issue. (Check the magazine’s guidelines to be sure.)
- Magazines work quite a bit ahead. It’s not uncommon to submit a jewelry design 3-6 months or even a year in advance of publication. If you submit a fall necklace to a magazine in September, don’t expect to see it in the October issue.
If you’ve been published, what are some of your tips for beginners? If you haven’t been published (and would like to be), what’s holding you back?