Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Magazine submittal season(s)

It's that time of the year again for winter photographers: Magazine submittal season!  It's stressful, chaotic, and frustrating all wrapped in a bundle of inconvenient.   How are you supposed to wade through the hundreds of images you've captured this season, and determine where to send each one.  Oh, and what order to submit them through.  Magazines will be expecting your images for publishing next winter, NOW.  Why, you may ask?  Because they need to line everything up over the summer so that it goes smoothly for the publishing season.

Wading through your images may seem like an impossible task.  I've had years where I'm looking through thousands of images to make up my submittal.  I use lightroom for my sorting, but bridge or aperture will work easily as well.  First off, create a folder for all of your images that will be submitted, or a virtual collection.  Then it's time to start making your selections.  Check out this previous article if you are just starting to learn about magazine submittals.

As you look through the images, think about each image individually.  Should you submit it to a mag?  Is it better as stock right away?  You can always take an image and re-sell it as stock after a magazine runs it.  This is why I generally try to get photos published first.  If the image has a strong commercial application: banners in the shot, athlete sponsors, a strong idea.  You may be best off selling it commercially and skipping the magazine.  Magazines will hold your images for almost a full year after you submit them, and may never even run them.  UGHH, frustrating!

Your next step is to go through your folder, and determine where each image is best suited.  Look through all the magazines that you want to submit, and send them images that have a somewhat similar style.  It may be worth sending them something way outside there box, but don't count on that working!  Send that image to another magazine, stock agency, or commercially.

From there I create additional files for each magazine.  It will take a year or two before you know how the magazine works.  Some companies will hold a submittal for months rendering it impossible to send the images elsewhere.  This can ruin your sales.  Ask the company how long they expect it will take to review your submittal.  Overlap is never acceptable.  ONE HUGE RULE ABOUT OVERLAP:  DON'T SEND SIMILAR IMAGES FROM THE SAME OR DIFFERENT SEQUENCES TO MULTIPLE MAGAZINES!!!  Also, do not send the same images to two magazines in the SAME REGION and at the same time.  However, you can send them to a different region depending on the magazines worldwide coverage.  This will be covered in the companies submittal guidelines.

Often times, I have an image that may work for 3 different magazines.  I will send it to the magazines first that have the quickest turnaround to see if they would like to use it.  Because I know they will get back to me quick, I can then send the image to the next magazine if the first is uninterested.  It's all about maximizing the exposure for each image, and the possibilities.  After contacting the companies, you will learn how long they need to sort your submittal.  Start with the quickest turn around and get images to as many mags as you can.

Follow all the guidelines the company provides, and send in your submittal!!

Here's a couple of tips, and some general advice to make it go smoothly:

- Don't OVERLAP images in the same region, whether they are the same or a different sequence if they are similar.

- Plan ahead and don't submit to the first company you hear of.

-Market internationally, other countries love images from around the world enabling you to sell the same image multiple times!

- Ask the magazine when they need submittals.

-Don't put all your eggs in one basket, plan on multiple publishing outlets.

-Don't expect a huge payout, the magazine industry is starting to fade away and is becoming digital.

-Don't send too large a submittal, magazines won't look through all the images.

-KEYWORD YOUR IMAGES!!!  This will help you get published since the magazine probably won't do this.

-Sort images for submittals into a folder during the season, saving you time later on.

-flag or star images that you would like to use and send only your best, or most relevant images.

- DO YOUR RESEARCH!!  Look through several issues of a magazine before making a submittal.

That's the BUZZ for Today!  Please check back soon for more.


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