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, on behalf of all publications, thank you for that. Take the time to find out how a blog or magazine prefers you to submit work. If you submit work incorrectly, you have a far lesser chance of landing a feature. Some publications will even delete your submission all together. Following instructions, though seemingly obvious and incredibly crucial, is often ignored.
Be polite. Don’t only send a link to your portfolio. This is similar to 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 for that matter if you have nothing to say.)
Keep your message short and sweet. Please don’t just copy and paste your entire about me section of your website. I want to feel like I’m talking to an actual person, in first person. 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.
Things that are interesting: you’re only 11, you make your own paint, or you originally went to school to be a plastic surgeon, you embroider your art, your art is inspired by child soldiers and the conflicts you were surrounded by growing up. Things that are not interesting: where you went to school, how you have been drawing since you were just a wee one, or anything else that’s incredibly common among artists.
Keep your message at only a couple sentences if able (and not run-on sentences).
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 with you because we won’t go to counseling to work things out with you. There’s too many fish in the sea.
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 to find out who you’re actually writing. We’d much rather feature actual readers of the blog over someone who sees us as just another place on the web to submit their work to.
When linking to your work:
Your website/portfolio should be easily consumable. Categories are okay, but five subcategories to every one of your main 10 categories are overkill and makes it impossible to easily see all your work in just one quick glance. If it’s hard to navigate your website, we’re not going to bother.
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, too extremely diverse of pieces, or work you know is not up to par with what you’d like others to see from you.
Be original. Seriously. The point of art is to create and the point of creation is to make something new. 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. If you’re not sure how to go about doing this, look it up! ‘Cause that’s not what this post is about. Moving on…
Photographers: art publications are looking for genuinely creative photographers. Not just photographers with nice cameras who take pictures of pretty people and things in pretty places. Firstly, pretty is great and all but pretty is everywhere. Secondly, something isn’t artistic be default just because it’s pretty. Do something creative and original even if it’s ugly. If you can make something ugly yet still beautiful, you’ve got talent. It’s not all about the pretty.
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 fewer 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.