Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ask The Mavens

As the new issue of Beadwork arrives in subscriber's mailboxes I'm getting a lot of mail about my project, the Gothic Butterfly (Urchin Wings) bracelet. So I thought this might be a good time to talk a little about publishing.

One of the best ways to get your name out as a designer is to have your original designs published in one of the beading magazines and for bead weavers this usually means Bead & Button, Beadwork, or Perlen Posie...those are the ones I'm familiar with anyway. But how do you go about doing this?

First and foremost your design has to be original.
Then you need to check with the magazine you're submitting to and see what their themes are for the upcoming issues plus the deadlines for each issue, typically you'll be working six months out.
You may want to change the color of your design to fit in with a theme, possibly change out those 8/0 seed beads for some Swarovskis to be included in a 'sparkle-themed' issue.
Sometimes your design just won't be what they are looking for at that time and you won't have to let that deter you. Read what their themes are and maybe you'll be inspired to create something special.
Don't be surprised if they change the name of your project, so if you are attached to the name let them know up front....but don't be closed off to compromise.

Once you have sent your pictures to the magazine and the project has been accepted you will get a contract in the mail, you'll have to sign it and send it back and you will get your signed copy after that.
You will also get a list of things they need....the pattern with illustrations, the samples, a photo of you and a short bio.  Do not forget to mention your website, shop name, blog, etc. as these are the things that will get you business.
The next one I don't do so well practice what I preach, not what I (while putting together my Gothic Butterfly kits last night I realised I'd forgotten to order the rivolis..sheesh!)

Be prepared with bead kits for the project when your issue hits the newstands...some beaders prefer to work from kits and this is your time to sell some.  As the magazine publishes the pattern your rights to sell the pattern are suspended for the time of your contract....this can be from two months to a year! will only be selling the beads.
Plus if you wish to teach the project you will need to have lots of copies of your issue to give your students in place of instructions.
And, in my experience you may not have access to your samples for six months, or get paid for the same time...sometimes long after the magazine is arriving in subscriber's mailboxes.

I'm sure the big questions is about how much you get paid....well, it isn't that much (about $60 a page) and you can probably make more selling it yourself especially if the contract is for a year.

So.....if you do it you will make a name for yourself in the beading world, it will boost your business a little, it will boost your confidence a LOT and give you some well earned bragging rights :-)  I say go for it...especially if you intend on making a living with your beads. I'll be watching for your projects....good luck!


  1. I love your design - I've got it marked as something I want to make!!!!

  2. Thanks Mikki-that clears up a lot of questions that I had about publishing and how it works. I do appreciate you taking your time to help us learn. I know when Peter's latest lady came out I started ordering the supplies right away. Of course I'll be making your bracelets (2) also. The list is getting quite long :)

  3. OH Mikki I so love this design! I did send in an original design but I am so unsure about it now because they want me to send in the piece. I have been hedging doing this first because I really love it and hate to be without it and I do not have the supplies to make another at this time and second it is either made at an 8 1/2 or 6 1/2 size so I am not sure it will work for them. Could you please advise me?

  4. Sometimes publishers want to see the piece before making a final decision so it's quite normal for them to ask for it to be sent in. If you do insure and track it. I'm not sure how long other magazines keep the pieces as I've only been published in Beadwork...but my things have been gone for four to six months.'s really your decision....take lots of photos and write the pattern before you send anything. On the may have to come up with a 7 1/2 version. As I've said...if you're looking for publicity it's a great thing to do....if you're not, it might not be worth it to you.

  5. Kristen, magazines will want the pieces to be photographed & might be gone as Mikki said for up to 6 months so you have to be prepared to send your loved pieces out & away. My biggest problems with writing articles is actually writing down down the supplies. I have to go back & guess what I used as when I'm creating a piece I don't pay attention. That is what gets me in trouble all the now...I have people interested, but I'm stuck as I can't figure out the recipe for the supplies. Also, I hate making kits, but i guess if I want to be successful in this business, I have to make myself do them.

  6. What do you call those great little bead containers you show above....and where can I buy some? Thank you!