December 16, 2013

The Submission Process and A Modern Holiday Table Runner

Do you ever have an idea tucked away that you just never get around to trying?
I have!  Lots . . . can I say LOTS of ideas. Probably more ideas than I'll ever have time to make.

This table runner is the result of playing with one of those ideas. I have always wanted to make a quilt using a drunkard's block arranged into full circles where the main color is in the background rather than the circles.

A small table runner seemed the perfect choice when Stitch Magazine put out a call for submissions to their 2014 Gifts issue. Something bright and cheery without being overly Christmas. Something that emphasized the circle theme.

For those of you who haven't tried submitting to a magazine, I though I'd share what my typical submission is like. If it's not a project that has already been made, then I usually start with some design ideas and fabric choices. In the case of Stitch, they have a color palette and theme for each issue so this is obviously taken into consideration.

I use Adobe Illustrator for most of my design work. I'm not an expert by any means and am pretty sure I do most things the hard way, but I get by without getting myself into too many binds. In this case, I designed using solid colors and then took a photo of proposed fabrics to include in the submission. Here's what my submission looked like.

You can see that I included a brief description of the project, along with the basic techniques and materials needed. Another thing you might notice is that I included a photo comp of the table runner in use.  I had the benefit of my husband's graphic design capabilities. He "placed" my runner onto a table and added some candles. And he did a great job if I do say so myself. But please don't be intimidated by this because it's not something I usually include in a submission. Couldn't do it myself if I had to. It just seemed like a nice touch so we went for it. Don't forget you're trying to sell your idea after all.

Once the project was accepted, I worked with the editor to make final fabric selections. When fabrics were finalized, the piece was made, directions written, process photos taken along the way and then sent off to meet the deadline.

If you'd like to learn more about my runner along with lots of other great gift ideas, pick up a copy of Stitch Gifts 2014. These owl and fox stockings on the cover are just so cute. I have 2 or 3 projects tagged that I would like to make.

It's always a thrill for me to see a project published. And it's always a bit of surprise to see what the publisher does with your project in terms of photography. This one was even included as part of the table of contents page . . . an extra little thrill!

If you are thinking about submitting, do your homework first. Check with the publication to see if they want finished projects or whether proposed projects are acceptable. Sometimes they like to work with you on final fabrics so it's the most current and fitting for their theme. Other times they want to see the finished work including close-ups of any quilting or details.

Also check into your rights. Some magazines return the rights to a project to you after a set period of time so you can republish the idea yourself. Others don't. Be clear on this going in if you think you'd like to create a pattern for sale later.

Most importantly:

  • Be patient . . . it can take awhile to hear back.
  • Be persistent . . . it can take awhile to be accepted.
  • Be timely . . . once you're accepted, by all means carry through and meet their deadlines.

This year has been one of submissions for me and I have been fortunate to have found success with some projects. There have been rejections too. It's all part of the process so just keep trying. If you've been thinking about submitting check out the following submission deadlines.

Submissions for Modern Patchwork Summer 2014 are due this Friday Dec 20th. Go here to learn more.
Submissions for the Stitch Fall 2014 issue are due January 10th. Go here to learn more.
Why not make 2014 the year you give it a try?

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  1. Congratulations on your publication. Love the table runner.

  2. I love your runner - congratulations!!

  3. This was so interesting. I've always been curious about the process. I think it's very cool to have blogging friends who are published! Beautiful table runner!

  4. Thanks for the info- a little different to how we do things 'down under' (Shhhh...I have just had my first project accepted by a magazine!)

  5. What a helpful post! And love your runner!

  6. So helpful and encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Pattern submissions are a big goal for 2014.

  7. Congratulations on your beautiful published project Anne!

  8. How nice of you to explain the submission process! And the runner is great! I just subscribed to your blog recently and am already glad I did!

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  10. Great article and lovely project...congrats, Anne!

  11. Good for you to have worked out how to go through this process! You have such a gift for designing, and it's great that some magazines are recognizing that. Love what you did with the graphics part of the submission. And "yay" for a very supportive hubby! This is really good info, Anne. I'm sure you've helped some on-the-fence quilters/designers, get just the nudge they needed.

  12. This is interesting and so helpful. I hope to do more with the submission process in 2014. I love the table runner, especially those beautiful dots!

  13. Thanks for writing up all these helpful guidelines for people like me who might like to try to get published at some point in time. And, I love your table runner -- colors and quilting, both are great!


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