A Guide For Business Owners and Photographers
Some of you may know, and some of you may not, that I am one of the co-founders of Atlas Magazine. Atlas is an digital magazine geared at the promotion of the next generation of fashion creatives. My friend, Megan Breukelman and I, set up Atlas 5 years ago, and it's since become one of the biggest online fashion magazines in the world. We're pretty proud of it!
Atlas is a submission based magazine, so almost all the work you see is sent in to us via photographers, fashion designers, PR, etc. Since I've worked as an editor for a very long time, I know thing or two about what it's like to receive hundreds and hundreds of emails a day!
I get asked quite frequently what advice I have for business owners, and photographers, who want to get their work published! So, today, I'm giving you all the tips and tricks, from the editors point of view.
1. Keep Your Email Short:
Editors receive hundreds of emails a day. If you're email is 5 paragraphs long, I guarantee it won't get read. They're not being rude, they just don't have time! Keep your email to two short paragraphs. Limit it to what you're emailing about, what you'd like to achieve, and a sentence explaining who you are. A perfect example would be:
I hope you're well.
My name is ____ and I'm a photographer/designer/writer/PR agent from ______. I'm excited to submit my latest editorial/collection/article to you. It's based around the idea of ______.
It would be amazing to be considered for publication within the next issue of Atlas/I'd love to be featured on your website.
Please find attached a PDF with the images/article/information.
2. Do Your Research
Small things will get you far. Details like including the first or last name of the editor (first is usually fine, last names can feel a bit formal, in my opinion, but use your judgement!), and spending time really reading the publication will help.
If you can mention articles or editorials you loved, or which resonated with you, you'll be showing that you really do love the publication.
There's nothing worse for an editor than receiving an email from someone who clearly doesn't know anything about your magazine, or what you do!
Another thing to be sure of is the submission guidelines for the blog/magazine. So many of them now have a page on their website with instructions on exactly how they like to receive new work. Be sure to read them carefully, and follow them when you do go to send your work in.
3. Are You The Right Fit?
It's really important that you spend time looking at the publication and figuring out if your work fits in with what they currently publish. If you start sending work out to magazines/blogs which don't fit your style, or theirs, you'll be wasting your time, as well as the editors'. I assure you that they won't appreciate it.
There are so many out there, with such different vibes, you're better off taking your time and being sure you think you're a good fit.
To give you an example, my own work is very soft and romantic. If I decide I want to send some of my work to a blog or magazine, I'm going to be sure to research publications that feature primarily soft and romantic work. There's no point in me sending my images to a magazine with a really edgy, street vibe, because it won't stand a chance, and their audience is not who I'm trying to target!
4. Spell Check
I know this seems really obvious, but please proof read. Especially when it comes to the names of the editors or magazine. Those are the most important to be sure of.
5. Write How You Talk
When we write emails, there's a strong temptation to want to sound overly formal, or be extra polite. Don't worry too much about writing like that, and stay relaxed in your email! Yes, it's important to be polite, write properly (dnt type lyke dis), but as long as you're sticking to those rules, just be you! I write my blog in the way that I speak to my friends, and I do the same when I send emails.
You'll come across far more natural and approachable if you write how you talk!
6. Don't Leave Things Till The Last Minute
If you know that the magazine/blog you're emailing has a deadline, stick to it. But if you want my advice, don't just stick to it, try to be a bit early. There's absolutely nothing worse for an editor than receiving an email from a photographer the night before a publishing deadline, saying that they've changed some of the editing in the images.
The images won't get used, and you'll just annoy the editor (which may jeopardise your future chances of being published).
If you need to ask a question, or supply files, or submit something, be prompt and early. Don't leave things to the very last minute.
7. Make Things As Easy As Possible
I think you've got the gist of it now, but editors receive a lot of emails. For that reason, it's important to make things really easy for them!
Are you sending them images to view? Attach a PDF they can open in their browser, or attach small versions of the images to your email. DO NOT send a Dropbox link (unless requested) or a WeTransfer link. They will not download it.
Are you asking them a question? Be straight to the point.
Before you press "send," ask yourself: Is it easy to understand what I'm asking/what I want, if I wasn't there?
8. Don't Expect an Immediate Response
Now, this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but it really annoys me if I get an email from someone asking why I haven't replied to their email they sent 24h earlier. The reality is, life is busy, and not everyone will be able to reply to your emails as fast as you may like.
It's totally normal to be impatient for a reply, but don't be alarmed if you don't hear back for 2/3/4 days.
9. When To Follow Up?
If you haven't heard back, and 5-7 days has passed, following up at this point is definitely a good idea. Sadly, emails do get missed, or forgotten (it's not that you're not important, it's that they got distracted and you slipped their mind!).
Send a quick follow up email, asking if they received your email, and you're wondering what their thoughts on the topic were. It's a good idea to attach the original email to the follow up email, too, so that the editor doesn't have to go searching for it!
An example of a follow up email could be:
I hope you've had a good weekend!
I was just getting in touch to see if you had received the email I sent last week. If not, please see it attached below.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
10. Where To Find The Magazines/Blogs To submit to
With so many options, it can seem really difficult to know where to look for blogs and magazines to send your work to! My favourite place to get started for magazines is issuu.com . Issuu is where Atlas has been published for 5 years, and continues to be our platform of choice. Simply use the search tool to research your niche or topics you're interested in, and you'll have endless possibilities to find blogs and magazines.
Another simple, but effective thing to do is simply google search "your topic + blogs," or, "your topic + magazines."
I also love to look at the portfolios, blogs, and websites of people who are in my industry, or who I think are similar to me in style/target market, and see where they've been featured. You may discover a blog you've never seen before and be able to get in touch with them.
Instagram is, of course, a great place to look, too. Use the hashtag search area to look up your area of expertise, such as #weddingblog, or #designermakerblog and you'll probably discover some new publications! Like earlier, you can also browse who people with a similar target market follow on Instagram, and they may follow publications you didn't know about.
So there you have it, my top tips on getting published in blogs or magazines! If you have any further questions on this topic, or think there's something I need to cover in more detail, please let me know in the comments below, or feel free to email me here.