Hands down, the number one question I get from interior designers is: how to get published. Having your work featured in print or online is not only a validating milestone in your career, but also an excellent marketing opportunity for your business and brand. But pitching to magazines and design sites can feel daunting if you’re new to the process. So, earlier this month I teamed up with Palecek and an all-star panel of editors from California Home + Design and Dwell, and widely published designer, Chloe Warner to shed light on the process and provide easy take-aways for an engaged audience of over 200 designers. A big thanks to Palecek for hosting the spectacular event in their San Francisco showroom during Design San Francisco 2014, to our panelists for sharing their knowledge, and to everyone who attended! After the event, we received an overwhelming request to share a recap on how to get published for those who missed the panel. So with out further ado, here’s are the take-aways from that day.
1. Keep your projects offline until published: All magazines, digital and print, look for exclusivity when it comes to publishing a project. In short, we want to be the first to share your story- if it’s already made the rounds on blogs and Instagram it’s not going to be very exciting to our readers. So, if you have a project you’d like to submit to a publication, hold off on putting the images on your website, Facebook page, Twitter, or anywhere else on the web until after you’ve been published or determined to go in a different direction.
2. Match your submission to the right magazine aesthetically: At Rue we receive so many great submissions of gorgeous, well-designed spaces. As beautiful as they are, however, if they don’t fit our magazine’s particular aesthetic (fresh, youthful, and sophisticated) it unfortunately isn’t likely to make it into our magazine. When choosing which magazine(s) to submit your projects to, do your research and find the publication that speaks to your design aesthetic. With so many great shelter publications out there, you’re bound to find the perfect home to showcase your work.
3. Pitch one publication at a time: Back to our point about exclusivity. No two magazines are going to want to publish the same design project, so don’t get yourself into a pickle by accidentally overcommitting a space. Pitching one magazine at a time is considered respectful in the publishing world. And it’s totally fine to ask for a timeline on when you’ll get an answer back so you can properly plan.
4. Pitch a creative story idea and provide scouting shots: When contacting an editor, it helps if you’ve already thought of a story idea to pitch to them, rather than simply submitting images of a project. A beautiful space is wonderful, but we’re also concerned with telling the story behind the home/designer/owner and if you can help paint that picture in our mind, the more likely you’ll stick out amongst other submissions. Think of ways your story can offer something new and stand out from the rest. And don’t forget to attach scouting shots of your project! The good news is that there’s no need to get professional photography at this point as most magazines will want to reshoot the space anyway- iPhone images will suffice for scouting shots!
5. Think about building a long term relationship with the editors: Be sincere in your outreach to editors. Try first to build a genuine relationship with an editor as someone who supports their publication, rather than mass mailing your pitches to them. This approach is more likely to naturally develop into a relationship overtime, and when a specific need for a story comes up, you’ll be someone who is top of mind. Keep in mind that being published doesn’t always happen over night, either. Often, it’s a process that takes a lot of time and requires patience.
6. Be delightful to work with: Looping back to our previous point on building long term relationships, the easier you are to work with, the more likely magazine editors will consider you a lifelong resource to their publication. Avoid being put into the “high maintenance” category for best results! You might not always agree with an image that runs or the wording of a write-up, but trusting and respecting a magazine’s decisions is important in maintaining a good working relationship with editors.
7. Have an online presence to increase your chances of getting “found”: Let’s face it, media is being consumed more and more online each day. It’s where many of us do our shopping, get own news, find design inspiration, and much more. Editors are more likely to find you if you are an activate participant in the online conversations happening in the design community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogs. In fact, Instagram is the number 1 place I scout for interesting people and projects to feature in Rue. Consider having an online presence like leaving your electronic footprint in as many places as possible to be found!
Hope that was helpful! If you have any specific questions, be sure to leave them in the comments section below so I can answer them for you!