I thought I would share the good news that my first nationally published article on photography will be coming to you via the newsstand on October 18th. It will be included in Shutterbug Magazine's special issue “Expert Techniques Guide” and is titled “Floral Fusions”. So put that date on your calendar! But if you don’t remember, don’t worry, I am sure I will remind you later!
Now that I am done tooting my own horn, let me give you a little history which might prove useful to those of you looking to get published. First, one of the reasons I started writing this blog three years ago was to start honing my writing skills, so that really was the first step. In some respects, my first draft was posted as a blog entry a year or so ago.
Second, I had to search for possible publishers. Finding out where to submit an article idea isn’t always easy (still haven’t found where to propose articles for some national magazines). I searched online, in the magazines themselves and in the “Photographer’s Market”.
Third, I learned that editors generally only want you to submit a few small images and the proposal for the article - not the article itself. They also want you to provide examples of your writing (this blog served that purpose). I first proposed this article via email to Shutterbug’s editor last fall. While the editor liked the images, the proposal and my blog, he felt they would be better for a spring edition of the magazine and suggested I resubmit it in February. I did that and he quickly accepted the article proposal. But that doesn’t mean your article will be published.
Fourth, I received minimal guidance on the article itself: less than 500 words for the main body; captions for the images didn’t count against that. Believing that it was best to strike while the iron is hot (what does that mean anyway?) I decided to sit down and write the article that weekend. Keeping it under 500 words was the real trick. I learned to take advantage of the caption text to get in all the necessary information. Creating the captions, selecting the final images and creating illustrations took as long or longer as the article itself. My wife served as my initial editor as she often does for this blog.
Fifth, I submitted the article that Monday as a MS Word document and a Photoshop proof sheet of the images as requested. It only took a week in my case to get a response – made my day.
Sixth, there are the contracts to be signed. Once accepted you need to do the paperwork. This will involve the terms of payment, usage rights, etc. Terms of payment in this case are based on the amount of page area that will be filled by the article – so many dollars for a half page, so much for a full page, etc. Rights can cover not only the printing of the article, but magazine advertising use of the article, website usage, etc. Once the paperwork is done though, this can set you up for future articles.
Finally there is the scheduling of the article. Once your article is accepted, it may be a while before it is actually scheduled for print. One reason my article was delayed to Fall were test reports. When test reports come in at a magazine such as Shutterbug, they trump other articles due to their short shelf life.
In the end, if everything goes well, you will have the satisfaction of seeing your article and images in print, plus a few extra dollars in your pocket.
Now onto writing the next article…