Illustration by Casey Webb
This post is subject to change over time. The more submissions we get, the more no-no’s come to light. Though to be honest, I think we’re at the point where we’ve experienced them all or at least the most common mistakes. These may be our preferences specifically, but there’s a lot of solid advice here when writing to any publisher, not just us here at Jung Katz. These tips are to help make both your’s and the publisher’s life a bit easier. Here’s to hoping you land many features by many publishers.
When writing publications:
Read before you write. Right now, you’re off to a good start. So thank you for that. Take the time to find out how a blog or magazine prefers you to submit your work. If you submit it the wrong way, you have a lesser chance of landing a feature. Following instructions is simple and obvious.
Be polite. Don’t only send a link to your portfolio. This is like grunting and pointing like a caveman to try and get what you want. Send a message with your submission, it’s just polite. If you don’t want to take the time to talk to us, why would we want to take the time to talk to you (or interview you if it’s obvious that you’re not much of a talker.)
Keep your message short and sweet. Please don’t just copy and paste your entire about me section. I want to feel like I’m talking to an actual person, not an impersonal mass of information. Just write a few sentences introducing yourself and telling us about anything interesting that might pique our curiosity and make us want to interview you.
When sending a message, be sure that your spelling and grammar are correct. After all, this could lead to a written interview. If English is your second language, I’ll be much more forgiving (all the more reason to write us a note and introduce yourself). As long as I can understand you, you’re fine. We can even edit the interview if you so wish. Just be sure to let us know. I don’t want us to have one of those bad relationships with no communication, because we won’t go to counseling with you.
I have a name and it’s pretty easy to find. Seeing as how we’re a small art blog, not a giant magazine, and there’s only two of us who work on it, it only takes a moment. If you don’t know which one of us to address the email to, why not address it to both of us? It’s only two names to write and is a great way to make an instant connection and show us that you’ve done your homework. We’d much rather feature actual readers of the blog first over someone who sees us as just another place to submit their work to.
If you want an interview, tell me that’s what you’re looking for. We write other articles as well and it’s nice to be one step ahead in terms of knowing what kind of feature you’re expecting before we write you back.
When linking to your work:
Your website/portfolio should be easily consumable. Categories are okay, but five subcategories to every one of your 10 categories is overkill and makes it impossible to easily see all your work in one quick glance. Also, if your pictures can be seen bigger without a new tab or page opening, that’s a huge plus and keeps things more organized for people who may be checking out a lot of artists.
Have an array of work, but only your best work. The more work you have, the more likely a publication is to find pieces it likes enough to feature. Just don’t fill up your portfolio with lackluster pieces, unfinished pieces, or work you know is not up to par with what you’d like others to see from you.
The point of art is to create and the point of creation is to make something new. Be original. The whole reason people even look at art blogs and magazines is to find something new and interesting. Be the only source of your style and you’ll be in higher demand, my friend.
Good photographs are key. If you want pictures of your work to be published by a professional blog or magazine, they’ll need to be of professional quality. No dark photographs of drawings and paintings. Your whites should be white and your blacks should be black. Scan it in or take a straight picture in natural day light at a good angle and edit the photo to look nice.
Photographers: art outlets are looking for those who creates photos in an interesting way. Not just photographers with nice cameras who take pictures of pretty things. Your portfolio should be a showcase of the quality of you as a photographer, not just the quality of your camera.
If you get featured, show a little gratitude and promote the article. After all, publications are trying to get themselves out there too. This should be a mutually beneficial deal for both parties involved. The better a blog or magazine does, the bigger the audience future artists will be exposed to when featured. So pay it forward. It’s an easy way to make the art community that much more of a better place for starving artists. Who knows, that future artist could someday be you again when you have another new and exciting project in need of coverage.
No matter how well done or unique your work is, it won’t be a fit for every publication. If you don’t think your art would be a good fit for a certain blog or magazine, don’t bother wasting your time. I mean that in the nicest way possible. For both the publication’s and your sake, find another art outlet that would be more well-suited to up your chances at landing a feature.
Just because you don’t get offered a feature, that doesn’t mean your work isn’t awesome. It’s most likely for one of the following reasons: you broke one of the above taboos, it’s not a good fit for that specific publications, or they’re receiving a high volume of submissions and competition is steep.
Feel free to submit your work again when you have a new collection to show.
Regardless of if you have had previous success in landing a feature before or not, things change and with new found knowledge, such as what you’re learning from this article, new opportunities are to be found as well.
Be polite: follow instructions, introduce yourself, keep it brief, don’t waste other’s (or your) time by submitting to publications your work isn’t well suited for.
Be personable: Address bloggers by their name(s), and write something personal toward them and what they are looking for.
Be original: give something that can’t be given by anyone else, whether it be your individual style or the personal story that makes your work special.
Be grateful: pay it forward by promoting the article on your social media outlets if you get featured.
If it comes down to two artists with equally fitting work and we only have enough time for one interview, I’m personally going with the one who broke less taboos and addressed me in a personal and professional way.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask us in the comments below.
Share this with the artists in your life who you wish success for.