So you’d like to see yourself in print, maybe in your favourite cake magazine, well don’t be put off and think you’re not good enough, everyone between the covers of a magazine started where you are now.
But there’s more to it than putting a few words on a page and sending in your favourite pictures, editors love discovering new talent and the only way they will know that you exist is if you let them know.
Here are a few things to do to take you one step closer:
1. Choose the magazine you would like to be in.
2. Find the editors page and see if there’s a contact email or a submissions email address.
3. Send a short email asking them how you go about submitting ideas for an article, alternatively if the magazine has a website then check to see if they have submission guidelines on there.
4. If you are at a cake show and the magazine has a stand then go and talk to them about submitting articles, face to face will give you a better chance of impressing the editor than a simple email.
5. Don’t expect an immediate reply to your email, editors are very busy and their inboxes will have more emails in them than yours.
6. Put your design head on, magazines are always looking for stunning images, new skills and techniques, if they can catch a readers eye with your cakey creation then they’re happy. Don’t send them anything that they’ve already seen a hundred times before unless it has a new twist.
7. If you don’t get a reply from the editor then try another magazine, it’s not that you’re not good enough it’s just that they may have someone doing the same sort of thing already on their books.
These are the things that an editor may ask for:
1. A colour sketch or collage of your ideas, better still if you’ve got a photograph, editors aren’t always cake people so assume they know nothing about cake and then you won’t assume they know something that’s important to your design.
2. Some magazines will send you a style guide in which they wish you to write or a format to which your piece will have to conform, this could be a set word count for the whole article including material and equipment lists, written in a certain font, submitted in plain text format with no formulas or presets. At the end of the day the editor wants to cut and paste your words directly into the system they use to create an article and not have to mess around altering anything…help them out and they will use you again. Make sure you have a copy of the magazine when you create your article as it will help as a visual guide.
3. Photography is a big thing obviously and different magazines deal with this in different ways, some will arrange a photographer to come to you, some will insist you bring your project and steps to them for photography (normally at your own expense), or they may ask you to do your own photography, if his happens make sure you ask if the images need to be in a certain orientation eg landscape or portrait, also ask is a there a resolution or image size you have to conform to.
4. Ask how the editor would like all of the text and images sent to them, they may suggest burning them to a disk and mailing or using a shared folder in Dropbox or sending them through a system called WeTransfer.
5. Now at this point you may think it’s ok to hire a photographer because you want to do your creation justice with good images, nice idea but very expensive.
6. Okay let’s burst your bubble a little, don’t think you’re going to make money from this……I’ve been writing magazine articles for years and have lost count of how many I’ve written, a lot of the time I’ve been paid nothing because I’ve been told it raises my profile in the public eye, the most I’ve ever been paid is £150 for one article. Now take into account out of that money you have to pay for all of your materials and equipment, any travel to and from a photoshoot, sometimes you even have to buy the magazine to see your own article when it comes into print. Not a lot of money at the end of the day and I can assure you the money does not cover the time you’ve spent making and planning the project.
Why do I keep doing it, there’s a certain thrill to opening a magazine in your high street shop to find you’re within its covers, better still is walking into your stationery shop and finding that you’ve been given the cover and there is your artistry looking down at you.
Yes it does raise your profile in the public eye and if you can do it enough times and become a household name amongst the cake decorating community it could open doors to you. It will help you generate some good images for your website and portfolio, it will also challenge you as a designer to think outside the box and try to find the next big thing….maybe a new colour scheme a new shape, a new technique.
Good luck and I hope to see you in print soon.