8 Random Thoughts on Getting Published

1:21 PM Posted In Edit This 6 Comments »
Occasionally I am asked to mentor someone or give them hints on how to get published. I am so new to the whole scrapbooking scene that I am not qualified to be a mentor. I can share some thoughts I have on getting your first page(s) published. This is not an end-all, be-all guide to getting published - just thoughts from my personal experience.

1. Create from the heart
My first items that were published were not made for scrapbooking at all. I was urged by my now husband to make our wedding stationery by hand, and those items were indeed a labor of love. They happened to be the first things I submitted when I eventually did take up scrapbooking and then take up submitting for publication. (I submitted maybe 20 items to the call for wedding items, and had 3 of those published).

2. Research for inspiration
My wedding invitations and programs that were published in Scrapbook Trends Weddings Idea book 2005 were inspired after months of research into what I was inspired by. I found ideas on the internet that I found to be super cool, and customized them to my tastes and put my own spin on them.

3. Expect most of what you submit will not get picked for publication
If you go into this "game" of submitting expecting to have maybe 10% or less of what you submit picked up, then your expectations would be healthy. I say this so that you are prepared for rejection, to expect rejection, and to find joy when you are eventually picked up. This business is growing more and more competitive every day. I would say that since I started submitting at the beginning of 2005, I may have submitted close to 400 items. I have had less than 10% of that picked up for publication.

4. We all want to feel exceptional
Totally random thought here: I believe there are so many scrapbookers on design teams and submitting for publication these days because we all have a longing to feel exceptional. Yet we are hearing more and more these days from the scrappers we have dubbed "celebrities" that they are just normal, ordinary people. If we strive to be exceptional all the time, I think we are setting ourselves up for frustration and disappointment, and even resentment. There is nothing wrong with saying to oneself "I am normal, even ordinary."

I msyelf, JA, scrap for the creative expression. I scrap and submit not only for validation, but for self-actualization. I am satisfied with the exact level of success I am at today. I have lived my whole life to be the person I am at this moment.

5. Study design principles
If you are super serious about getting published and/or being on a design team, study like you would if you were in a college course. Look for resources on art, design, composition, creating balance, emphasis, harmony, unity, opposition, rhythm, proportion, visual thinking, variety, color, pattern - all the foundation elements.

6. Stay away from drama on SB message boards
Publishers are very aware of what is taking place on message boards and perhaps even blogs. If you want to be taken seriously, realize that every time you take your fingers to the keyboard you are representing yourself. Recently I met a publisher who knew who I was when I showed her a picture of my avatar from 2peas (I have since changed my hair so she didn't immediatley recognize me). I had no idea that she ever browsed the message boards at 2peas. Stay away from any and all drama is the best advice I can say. I can not confirm whether publishers have blacklists however it is common sense that those who are addicted to drama will have a harder time in this business.

7. Invest in technology
When I was trying whether to upgrade to a better camera, I clearly remember being urged to do so because I would get published more. I myself upgraded from a Canon Powershot A70 to the Digital Rebel XT. I watch and notice which technology the successful scrappers are using. Every decision to upgrade my personal items has been made after careful and deliberate observation. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Better yet, use the "search" feature at 2peas. If you are looking into upgrading, search to see what others are talking about. I can almost guarantee that any question you have, someone has already asked it or someone else is also wondering about it. The Pub at 2peas have so many people who are truly interested in sharing honest information, despite all the competitiveness. That's why the Pub is so great.

Technology I currently use:
  • Camera: Digital Rebel XT with 28-135mm lens (I saw Rachel Ludwig mention she uses that lens and that is why I bought it)
  • Computer: hp pavilion a815h with over 1 gig memory
  • Software: HP Image Zone Plus (I use the panorama maker to stitch my layouts)
  • Software: Photoshop Elements (currently 4.0 but will upgrade to 5.0 soon)
  • Scanner: Epson Perfection 3170
  • Printer: Epson Stylus Photo R320 (I do print the majority of my prints at home)
  • Printer: Epson PictureMate Deluxe (still in box - have not used - won it in a contest)

8. Use over 50% of your time to promote yourself
I heard several times at Memory Trends last week how much time it takes to submit for publication. Yes, it is time-consuming yet that is a reality for all artists trying to make money in this business. If you really really want to do this, you are going to have to put the time in. If no one knows you exist, you will not get into publications and you will not be noticed for design teams. Talent alone unfortunately is not enough. One tip that I particularly have found essential to my recent success is to enter contests. I entered the CK HOF contest last year with the sole intention of getting my name and my work in front of editors. I had never been published in CK prior to entering HOF last year. I did not place in HOF last year. I did eventually have 3 layouts from that entry picked up by other publications - including ezines, print mags, and international print mags - over a period of 8 months or so. I particularly like CK's HOF contest because I like having specific directions to aim for. I am not a fan of the Making Memories Masters contest because I am not able to wrap my brain around what they want.

I do recommend entering the various Survivor-type contests as well because they exercise what I call "your Sunday-best" skills. I don't know about you but when I was growing up we always wore our best clothes on Sunday as we attended church. I have had success getting several layouts published that were created for Survivor-type contests although I have never won such a contest.

More resources:

I am not sure if you are familiar with all the resources for publishing here: http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=1041265

These are particularly interesting though I may have not read them all the way through
What it's like in the biz: http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=1066561

How to improve your odds at getting published: http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=1050833

Design hints:

Cool post by Hall of Famer: http://terifode.typepad.com/life_and_its_sometimes_pe/2005/04/through_my_eyes.html

Another cool philosophy: http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=1171990

6 Share your thouughts:

*Jeanne* said...

JA! Your words of wisdom have been a blessing to me. So many amazing things have happened to me due to your encouraging words.

Awesome post JulieAnn!

lam said...

I saw your name on Jeanne´s blog and became curious.
what a nice blog you have and these tips are great. Thanks for sharing them.

Tania said...

I too was directed via Jeanne's blog. Great article, great blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

min said...

wow.. I'm sure that took forever to type up. So nice of you to do that for everyone.

WendyG said...

I am visiting via Jeanne's blog.....I totally agree with you on all points!! Awesome!!

~*~scrappydea~*~ said...

Awesome advice.Thanks!