Have you submitted to calls for submissions for Paper Crafts? Have you been wanting to and just not gotten around to it? Or maybe you have, and your submissions have not been picked up? Don’t worry; it has happened to me before and even the best crafters out there.
So don’t get discouraged; keep submitting! But maybe you’d like a few tips before our next call goes out, yes?
I’ve been going to Paper Crafts submissions judging meetings for the past eleven months, so I want to give you a little advice from my point of view on how to be more likely to get something published. First of all, we want you to know that it’s a blind judging process, which means we see the cards only; we don’t know names of the designers until after we have chosen the cards.
Alright, now a few tips.
First, don’t be afraid to submit, and don’t be afraid of rejection! Just go for it. If your card isn’t picked up, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not good enough to be published. The card may not have fit just right in the magazine or was too similar to another card we chose.
When we are judging we try to make sure we represent a variety of what’s out there. That means we want to see a variety of styles, products, manufacturers, sentiments, stamps, techniques, etc. Sometimes we are forced to choose between two fantastic options because they are too similar. Sometimes we don’t take a card because there are too many cards with the same sentiment, collection, or stamp even though the card is beautifully executed.
Second, use new products. Chances are if it’s been around for a few years, we’ve been seeing it in submissions for that long too. Plus, if we see submissions with old paper or stamps that aren’t for sale anymore, we typically don’t like to publish those because it would be hard for our readers to recreate.
Third, first impressions count!
This tip has two different parts. The first is that photography matters.
Make sure you take a close-up of your cards. We really want to see that card, not its background! The farther away the card is, the less likely it is to stand out.
Next, make sure your background is neutral. Your best option is to photograph with something akin to white in the background. No propping, and no intricate backgrounds please! If you have something busy behind your card, it distracts us from your card; trust me, you don’t want that!
Make sure your photos are bright! If a photo is dark, it tends to lose its “umph.” When we are judging, we put several submissions out at a time and pick out the ones that stand out to review again. It’s easy to overlook a submission just because the photography is a little poor.
It’s okay to alter a photo before you submit it. In fact, I often tinker with the brightness and contrast of photos I put up on the blog. For a brighter photo, up the brightness in a photo editing program or try to take a photo of your card earlier in the day while there is natural light. You can also make your own light tent. (For instructions on how to build your own light tent, click here. And for other photographing tips from Go-to Gal, Kim Kesti, click here.) What’s important is that your photo does your project justice.
This is a card I submitted to Holiday Cards & More, Vol. 7. (On sale next month!) Now you tell me, which photo catches your eye?
Now, for the second part of “first impressions count!” Do something unique to make your card pop! We like seeing things we haven’t seen before, so think outside the box. Use a unique technique or product on your card. Do something unexpected! Red and green is perfect for Christmas, but your card will really stand out from the rest if you go with a nontraditional color scheme. Or to make your card stand out, you could use a clever sentiment. For instance, “Happy Halloween” is a classic sentiment, but think of the fun things you could do with this one!
One last little tip for you: I know it’s a no-brainer, but make sure every word on your project is spelled correctly. Confession: I’ve committed this grave sin before. (*gasp* Yes, it’s true!)
Now, some of you might be wondering how we go about judging submissions, since we editors all have our own ideas as to what makes a great card. Yes, each of us has different styles that we gravitate towards (or away from). For instance, Kelly isn’t a huge fan of gingham in most cases, but she loves wiggle eyes and all things fun & cute. Susan will swoon over anything orange or full of rhinestones. Kerri likes muted colors, and Jennifer has a weakness for dogs. Me? I’m not big into glitter or rhinestones, as I’m more of a clean and graphic kind of girl. However, when we’re judging we try to keep our personal preferences at bay. We make sure to think about our readers and try to gauge what they will want to see or be excited about.
And now you know a little more about how we handle submissions! Itching for more? A whole ‘nother world of submission tips awaits you here!
Hopefully this will help you get more cards in next time around! And get ready to create since our next call goes up on Wednesday! And since we’re gearing up for this year’s World Card Making Day (October 6th), keep these tips in mind when creating your entries! Find the contest details here!
And of course, thank you for submitting! We love our contributors and we are always excited about publishing new Paper Crafts friends.
Good luck with your upcoming submissions!