Arte Es Vida

Getting Your Jewelry Designs Published by arteesvida
December 3, 2006, 1:58 am
Filed under: The Business Of Art

The key to success as a jewelry maker and designer is in the marketing. This is tough for those of us who just want to hide in our studios and play with our beads! Even if you are not interested in marketing yourself as a free lance writer or professional educator, doing a little of that work is not only a few extra bucks in your pocket, it is free publicity for your business that you just can’t beat! Success in any field is achieved by establishing yourself as an expert at what you do. Publication credits will build up your vitae, help you get in to gallery shows and juried shows. And, most importantly, it helps you sell your work at a price you have earned!

Of course you don’t have to write a whole article (and give away all your best design secrets). Most magazines also have a gallery section where they feature all the creative work their readers are doing. Whether you are interested in a gallery spread, or writing a whole article there are a few key dos and don’ts that are really important.

1. DON’T send “simultaneous submissions”. If you send a piece to a magazine, don’t send it anywhere else until you have a definite answer from them. This can be frustrating…it can take a really long time to hear back sometimes and you can end up shopping around a certain piece for months because of it. But if you get caught doing simultaneous submissions you will quite quickly become publishing persona non grata.

2. DO read the submission guidelines carefully. I’ve included links to some of the major jewelry design publishers in this article to get you started. Most of them prefer a proposal or article treatment instead of a finished piece. And they all want it done a little differently. Send them what they ask for or it is going to hit the circular file and all your work will be wasted.

3. DO send the best pictures you possibly can. Thankfully, in the digital age, we can get nice digital shots, which most magazines accept now. If you are sending a proposal by mail, you can burn these on CD-ROM, as well as include printed thumbnails in your proposal. Make sure they are the very best shots you can get. If you have a hard time getting good lighting and a well-framed shot, get a friend to help. Everyone I have ever talked to who invested in professional slides and photos said it was worth every penny…if you can afford it, do it!

4. DON’T discount smaller publications, websites, or occasionally writing for “free”. I agree that it is really bad idea to give away the farm. Your work does have value, and you do deserve financial rewards for it. But if you are just getting started, sometimes getting your name out there is the most important thing. Gallery submissions probably won’t get you anything other than a free issue of the magazine anyway and the first articles you sell might not be the money-makers you were hoping for. The first article I sold was to a parenting newsletter…and it made me a whopping 35 dollars! Writing for free (for example, all the writers at BellaOnline are volunteers) also has its advantages…if you don’t get taken advantage of! You get free publicity, you get your name in print, you get links back to your website, etc. This isn’t a bad trade sometimes. It helps build your reputation. But…

5. DO make sure you feel comfortable with who you are giving your content to. And that you are benefiting from the arrangement as much as they are. I have people ask me if they can reprint my articles on a very regular basis…and some are sites that I don’t want to be associated with. It’s ok to say no! You don’t have to sell your soul for a little publicity!

6. And DON’T give away your rights to your work and your designs if you are writing for free! Most places won’t ask you to, and I would be deeply suspicious of anyone that did. Even places that pay for your work are very specific in the rights they are buying (usually first serial and first anthology rights). If you sell all your rights to your work make sure that you are paid fairly for it!

7. DO thank them for their time and their reply even if they turn you down. Many people don’t do that so they will remember you. Also, it is just good manners! This industry is by far the politest I have worked in, and I have been doing freelance writing for about 5 years now. It is very rare to get such good feedback and it is important to acknowledge it. I’ve had a magazine editor (from a larger publication even) thank me for my submission, let me know it was going to the next level, and the date of the editor’s meeting where it will be presented, with a promise to contact me after said meeting. How great is that? So I always send a reply thanking them for their time and feedback, even if the response is “No, we aren’t interested in that piece right now”. Any feedback at all is better than you will get from a lot of places!

8. And, most importantly, DO be yourself. Not yourself with bad spelling typos and questionable grammar, of course, but comfortable with your own voice. Write like you were explaining your piece to a friend. It is something you are really excited about and want to share with other people who love the same things you do! It may be networking but it is STILL supposed to be FUN!

Submission Guidelines and Information:


Polymer Café magazine is an independently run magazine, so working with them is a lot of fun with great personal contact and feedback. PolymerCafe features jewelry projects in most every issue, and dedicates one issue a year solely to polymer clay jewelry!

Bead And Button

This PDF file will cover all the dos and don’ts for submitting your work to Bead and Button magazine!

Beadwork Magazine

Beadwork Magazine has very specific guidelines for the article proposals…make sure to read carefully before you submit!

Cloth Paper Scissors

Cloth Paper Scissors is a new magazine from the publishers of Quilting Arts…and it’s gorgeous! Because they are new, chances are you will have less compitition for publication. This is a great choice if you do fiber, paper, or mixed media jewelry. Do note that all inquiries are sent by mail instead of email so your response time will be slower!

Expression Magazine

Expression Magazine also features polymer clay and mixed media projects in each issue. They are currently running a series of Wirework 101 basics as well!

Belle Armoire

Belle Armoire has just upped their production schedule from quarterly to bi-monthly! Their turn-around time on submissions has been up to a year in the past, although hopefully that will decrease somewhat now with the two extra issues each year. But still, you have to be sure that you are the patient type before submitting here…and can live without the art you send in for a long period of time! They do accept brief email inquiries and are great about quick feedback so you can get a good idea of what to submit and what they would like to use it for.

Bead Unique

Bead Unique is another magazine with a very in-depth submission process. But they are also a newer publication and have had their submission information on their website for only a couple of months now…less competition for you! Bead Unique is really publishing some interesting, quirky stuff…so this is a good place to be brave with anything that is more “out there”

BeadStyle Magazine

BeadStyle Magazine is published by the Bead and Button folks. They are looking for simpler, quicker designs that are great for beginning beaders. They are definitely of the “crack the egg, pour the contents into the bowl, and throw the shell away” school of “cooking” so make sure your submissions are as clear, and in-depth as possible!

Step By Step Beads

Step By Step Beads is published by Lapidary Journal. They focus on jewelry making AND bead making so this is a great place to submit your lampwork and diachronic glass projects!

Art Jewelry

Art Jewelry Magazine is another Lapidary Journal publication. The work all does have an artistic quality but it focuses on more cottage industry designs than benchwork metalsmithing. Stuff you can do it home like polymer clay, metal clay, and basic glasswork. This is another magazine that really impresses me as publishing some unusual and beautiful work!

Submission Themes For Stamping Magazines

There are many good stamping magazines out there right now. If you include stamping in your jewelry, don’t discount submitting to any of them. This website is a great resource for all of the stamping magazine upcoming themes so you can check it to see if any of them would fit the work you are doing!

Publication Incentives

Many companies will send you free goodies if you use one of their products in a project you have published. It’s great PR for them! So check the products you use, if you get your work published you may be eligible for some free swag!

Constant Content

Constant Content is essentially an online broker for freelance writers. You submit your work to them at your asking price, and they make it available for purchase to a variety of online and print publications. You retain all the rights to your work, your name stays on the piece no matter who buys it, and they monitor the sites they sell to make sure your rights aren’t even infringed on. In return they split the profit you make from each piece with you. You can offer content for free if you are just getting started and you want your name out there, or you can sell it a a price you set. These are mostly smaller articles that sell for ten to fifty dollars each. They cover a wide variety of topics…you can write about anything you want. They also keep a listing of currently requested topics so you know what their customers are looking for!

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