December 3, 2013

How To Get Your DIY Projects Published: Part 2

I still had so much to share with you about how to get your projects published that I had to break it into two parts.  You can read part one HERE
Remember, I'm sharing with you my experiences.  This is not to be confused with an expert's "how to" on the topic!!!

 In part two let's talk about:
How to increase your chances of getting "found"
How to write your article
Who does the photography (if you don't)?
Do magazines pay you?
The impact on your business/blog

How to increase your chances of getting "found"

Just being on the web anywhere can get you "found".  It could be on a blog, Etsy, Pinterest, etc. Editors are scouring the web and keeping an eye out for projects that are a perfect fit for their magazines.  My "French Market bags" were found by 
the Haute Handbags editor on Pinterest.

A little tip regarding Pinterest:  I made a pin board entitled "My Projects" in order to give editors (or anyone looking) the opportunity to take a peek at my other projects easily.  If you have all your projects in one place, it will maximize their exposure.  Additionally, for those who don't blog, it keeps all your projects in a nice, tidy space online. 

How to write your magazine article

Imagine:  After waiting weeks or even hear from an editor.  Great news...they want to publish your project!!!  After you jump up and down, you will have to take a deep breath and actually write the article.  Don't panic!!  They will give you their parameters.  Usually they will ask you to forward the following:  A paragraph about the inspiration for your project (usually they will require a minimum/maximum word count), a supply list, instructions for your project, and a short bio on yourself.  Do the best you can, they are professionals and will make any corrections needed (thank goodness for that). Before publication you will usually get a proof of your article to make any corrections to their changes.  For example, I laughed when I received the proof back from Altered Couture

Under the supply list for my fabric flower was:

-Polyester fabric lining
-Vintage buttons and jewels

TORCH?? What?!?!  ...I sent back an email that basically read: "No, no.  A candle/open flame will work just fine!  No torch needed." LOL!

They will always ask you to include a short bio that will be featured alongside the article.  I frequently read bios accompanying articles and some are pretty darn impressive!!  I used to think the editors wrote these bios (I'm not sure how logical that line of thinking was) but I now realize that the bios are actually written by whomever's project is being featured!!

Below is the bio I include to all publications for print:

     After working in pharmaceutical sales, Carol Turner left the corporate world to pursue her dreams.  She combined her skills in sales and marketing with her creative talents and opened her online store, The Polka Dot Closet, at  Carol also shares her numerous and varied DIY projects and detailed tutorials on her popular blog:  If you are ever in the Orlando area, be sure to visit Carol’s retail space at Orange Tree Antiques in Winter Park, Florida.

So, for example, who wrote "...her popular blog..." in the bio??  I did!!  It can be embarrassing and feel slightly egotistical "tooting your own horn".  However, remember that you're writing a bio because you are about to be published!!  Take liberty with three or four sentences and give readers the best impression of yourself that you can!

Who does the photography?
Easy answer:  Sometimes it's you and sometimes it's the magazine.  Most publications will ask you for photographs of the project. Even if this is the case, I email and ask them if I can send my project into the magazine for them to photograph.  Honestly, most magazines will want you to photograph and email them photos of your own project.  I still always ask and have been lucky enough here and there to have publications do the photographing.  Some of you may prefer and (or) really enjoy taking photographs of your projects, but if not, don't panic!!  I'm not a professional by any stretch and I have taken most of the photographs for my articles.  If you don't feel comfortable taking your own photos, think about who you know that is skilled behind the camera.  The photos of my first published project were taken by a neighbor girl that was taking a photography class.  I asked and she was thrilled just to be credited in the article.  If you have one nearby, venture into a local camera shop and see if they know someone who would like to take photos in exchange for having their work published...I would bet that you'll get some takers; everyone likes to see their name in print!

Do magazines pay you?
It is such an honor and privilege to see my projects in print that the monetary value is truly never even a thought (I'm not exactly sure anyone could make a living on getting projects published anyway).  However, here's the scoop:  Each publication is different.  Here are the ranges of compensation for getting published:

1.  Just the incredible honor of being published
2.  Getting published and a free copy of the magazine
3.  All of the above plus $25-$35 dollars per published page.

This has been my experience with compensation.  However, let's get real...the compensation part is just "icing on the cake".  The true joy is in the honor of being published!

What is the impact of being published on your business/blog?
In my experience, the short answer is: Not much!  This was so surprising to me.  I had no idea what to expect the first time I was published.  I had dreams of my blog becoming crazy popular, and retailers calling me wanting to buy products; I didn't know what to expect.  I thought "this is big; really big!"  However, the truth is that I've received a few new blog followers. Also, when my "Vintage framed paper dolls" and "French Market bags" were published, I sold a few in my online store.  That's it.  Though my dream of being published did not have a huge "impact", this has not in any way stopped me from submitting projects to be published.  As I've already mentioned, the prize is really the honor, not so much the residual effect. It's so much fun; a total natural high, and it gives me the great feeling of validation.  

I hope this answers a lot of your questions and demystifies the "getting published" process.  Even if you aren't a crafter, magazines and newspapers are always looking to publish gorgeous houses, outdoor spaces and inspiring short stories.   Every one of you has something news worthy to share with the rest of us.  

 I would feel so proud if you were able to use my experiences to help you get published.  I'm sure those of you who want to be published will be.  Please let me know if my posts gave you the gentle nudge you were looking for and I would be thrilled to blog about your successes!!!

Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can help you in any way.

Happy Creating!




NanaDiana said...

Carol- You are such a font of knowledge on this subject and it is so wonderful of you to share that here. It is amazing to me how willing bloggers are to help other bloggers get noticed....and there is only good will when that happens. You're a gem- xo Diana

Jane said...

Hi Carol,
Great posts! And congrats on all of your success getting deserved!!!

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

You are absolutely the sweetest encourager alive! I hope to read great results from your readers because of your thorough advice!

Happy week,

Donna said...

Thank you Carol for sharing so many of your wonderful tips, you really are an expert! You don't give yourself enough credit:) I remember how thrilled I was when my blog appeared in Romantic Homes magazine last winter. And as you said, I too thought I would get alot of followers and sales from my Etsy shop as a result. Wrong! At any rate, nothing can beat the thrill of seeing yourself in print!!

Betty said...

WOW, so much good information. I have always loved those french bags you make. So pretty.

Keith@ Vintage Crab Jewelry and Crafts said...

Thank you so much for these articles regarding being published! I know one positive thing I can do right now...Pin my work in one board instead of trying to 'slip' them into to other boards. That should be a good start in the right direction, thanks!

Maureen Wyatt said...

Carol, this has been really helpful and answered so many of my questions. Thank you!

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

Thank you so much, Carol! ♥

Our Hopeful Home said...

You have explained this process so well, thank you! I am not surprised at all that there has been so much interest in publishing your projects. They are quite publish-worthy, for sure! You have demystified the process and I'm sure it has helped a lot of would-be's out there, including me. Thanks again, Carol.

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Carol, Great information that you share. Your details on the subject are so helpful for everyone. The process does have steps and in the end the "high" that one feels is incredible.
Thank you for be so willing to share all your success.
Big hugs, Celestina Marie

Createology said...

Carol Dear your information is worth gold for anyone hesitating to try to be published. Congratulations on your many honors. You are such a wonderful inspiration! December Delights Dear...

molly- See you downtown said...

Thank you for the knowledge and inspiration, Carol.

Perfectly Printed said...

Thank you for sharing these tips! Lots of great knowledge in your last two posts!

Ann said...

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise, creativity, and inspiration. Your next tutorial should be sharing where you get your energy to accomplish all that you do. You are amazing.

hopeandjoyhome said...

OK Carol..I have to take my last comment back (sort of) I didn't leave the house and Prince Charming knocked on my door! (sort of) A popular online magazine contacted me about using some of my vintage items (vintage seed packets) in their magazine! (they will shoot and return them and credit my shop)I wish it was my handmade things over my vintage things, but who am I to look a gift Prince Charming in the mouth?! Great post. I was published this spring in a book and they put my real name in the credits instead of my .com... sort of a tiny buzzkill since nobody knows how to find me with my real name! So if I ever get another chance, I'll make sure my links are boldly outlined so they don't get missed!

Sisters Treasures said...

What a great post, Carol and it's so generous of you to share your experiences with all of us. I know it's a big honor to be recognized and it does validate what you do. It's funny about how you can get noticed by your blog. My sis and I got an email recently from someone who said they were a producer of a reality show and were looking for sisters in business together and saw our blog (which I pitifully neglect). long story short, I've talked to this person via phone and who knows??? It was fun being approached for what we do though.

The Speckled Hen Cottage said...

Hey Carol, thanks for sharing your experiences in "Getting Published" the tip about the bio was good to know...we so often don't talk ourselves up.

farmhouse-story said...

thanks so much, carol, for taking the time to share this with us! have a great day!

Heart Vintage Design said...

Thank you for your honest and insightful article~ Kitty

Dee ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ said...

So much great info! Thanks Carol.

Wanda Maria Designs said...


It's so nice that you presented some information from your experiences on being published. I've been published many times, too, but never thought to do that. By the way - I am having a $25 gift certificate giveaway to my Etsy shop. Please stop by my blog to enter. I'd love for you to have a chance to win. :)

Debbiedoos said...

I think this is fabulous info to share. I am so happy for you Carol, it just makes all your hard work noticed and your passion shines through from what you do!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This has been a great series, Carol! Lots of great hints! You have so many creative and wonderful projects! I was contacted for my features, too. I love the idea of making a Pinterest board for projects...thanks for the idea!

Bellenza Wedding Bistro said...

Totally agree with the disregard for money when you see your work published. It must be the best feeling in the world! Great tips! Thank you so much :)

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Great post Carol. I agree that the real prize is in the honor of being published!!

Melodee said...

you should definitely be tooting your own horn! your stuff is amazing, totally magazine worthy!


Oh Carol (reminds me an old song :) ! I want to ask you something, in your job (before) did you always write reports to explain to people how too, or are you just gifted to do that ? Everything purrrrfect as would say my cat. would like to be near you to visit and to speak with you !

xoxo from a grey Paris



Oh by the way I want to add something on the subject : I created my blog, to help me to be courageous to paint everything (wall and furnitures) in my home which was a French country home with such a lot of cat collections... I can say its helps, but I hate taking pictures, so I don't often publish the changes. For being features as a painter and as a cat collector (I had thousands of antique cats and painting in my tiny home) I know that the return is not there, and I'm happy enough being able to try to make pictures and continuing to paint each pieces of my home !

xoxo sweetie


Little Miss Maggie said...

Thanks for the great advice, Carol. You have given us a lot to ponder.

Linda said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am so happy about the Angels Shadow box win from Nancy! Hug your Mom for me! I Check on your blog a lot as you have the neatest finds and ideas!