I get contacted quite often by magazines editors and large news and lifestyle websites about the projects that I create for my blog. Over the years, I have worked for several large websites and magazines, plus I just signed a new contract with a national magazine that I’m pretty excited about!
Now, that I have some experience under my belt, I thought I would share some information and advice with you, my fellow creative bloggers, who might be getting contacted by large publications or magazines about your creative projects.
For those of you who don’t have blogs, sorry to bore you with shop talk today. I promise I’ll make it up to you:-)
I sure wish someone would have written a post like this when I first began blogging.
This is how it usually goes when large publications (print or web) contact me.
I receive an email asking if they can have a high-resolution photo of a specific project, craft or recipe of mine, along with directions, so they can feature it in their magazine and or website. Sometimes they include that they will credit my website. Sometimes they just leave that part out.
I will then ask if there is a budget for the article they are writing and if they intend to use my photo and directions in other publications and/or websites that they own.
They will contact someone else, who will then contact me back with a price that they can work with. This reminds me a lot of buying a car. Which makes my stomach turn in knots. I hate negotiating for a car!
Eventually someone will reply with a “Sorry, we are not allowed to compensate for features.” Or, that they can offer me their standard page rate fee. This varies per publication, but standard usually means $50-$200 depending on the size and placement of your image or article.
I often say no to these propositions. I’ll explain why later in this post. If a publication is interested in working with me on new creative projects or hiring me as a freelance designer, that is a different story. We will usually discuss future work and the scope of the job on the phone.
If you get contacted by a magazine or well-known lifestyle website about them featuring one of your favorite creative projects or recipes, use these guidelines before deciding on what to do.
When to say YES …
The photo they want to feature is of a product you sell.
Of course you will gladly hand over a photo of your product for free advertising. Why would you not want that?
They only use a photo, with links back to your site for directions, digital files, more details, etc.
This is more apt to occur on a website. (Printed magazines are going to want full directions in their publication.)
In this situation, they usually say this: “We’ll give full attribution and credit to you, including a link out to your website.” I’m happy to work with large publications that do this. It’s just like getting a nice feature on any website. I’m all for that!
The magazine is going to specifically feature you or your company.
In this case, providing projects and photos makes sense since the whole article is about you. It’s a win for all parties involved.
You have a new book coming out soon.
Letting a magazine use one of the projects from your book as a “preview” is a great way to get the word out about your book.
This is not your most popular project, recipe or craft idea.
You might say yes, if you are NOT dependent on this particular project/post for traffic or income. You might not have had any traffic to this particular post for months, so why not breathe a little life into it by getting it seen by a new audience.
You have dreamed about being in this particular magazine and hope to do more with them in the future.
If this is your dream job and you are a super fan of the magazine, then it’s worth saying yes to get to know one of the editors or freelancers who work for the magazine. Just because you are a super fan, doesn’t mean you should automatically say yes right after they contact you. Always get details and ask if there is a budget for compensation. I doesn’t hurt to ask if you can get paid for your project, especially if it’s a good and unique idea!
If you do decide to say yes, ask about compensation. If there is a budget for payment, get a contract and read it thoroughly.
Most large publications will provide a contract for any type of paid work. Some contracts say you cannot do a similar type of project for up to 6-12 months as it would be in competition with the publication. Also, you don’t want to be surprised to see your idea or photo in one of their other publications or newsletters a year from now.
Why I might say NO…
Example: Let’s say I get offered $100 for one of my most popular ideas to be used in a magazine. Meaning, they print my project in a national magazine with directions, maybe even use my own photo. In most cases, they want to buy the idea and will take their own photos of the project. Credit would be provided with my name in tiny text on the side or bottom of the page.
I am very flattered to be contacted by these great publications, but here are a few reasons why I might decline…
1) As a professional blogger, many of my ideas and projects generate income for me because of the amount of traffic to my website. Keeping a unique and popular project exclusively on my website is best for me. Plus, I might want to use it later in a book or something. Who knows?
A magazine who pays me, is most likely going to want to use my idea on their website as well as the printed version. Most magazines and news websites have fantastic SEO and if someone typed in a search on Google for my kind of project or recipe, the magazine site would pop up way before my blog. Losing traffic, which I previously used to get, to them could cost me income. They have big sponsors and big traffic and will end up making money off of my idea… probably well over the $100 they paid me.
2) Will anyone really notice my name in the magazine? Will the reader actually leave their magazine, get on a computer and go to my website to see more of my projects? Hmmm… good question.
I prefer to do freelance work and create something new and exclusive just for them while keeping my original projects on my own site.
Now for Oprah or Martha… I might say YES! A girl’s got her weakness.
Do you have questions about getting your creative projects published?
Feel free to ask in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Hi and thanks for this very valuable info. I started my very first blog in October 2013 for which I was contacted today from someone on LinkedIN that asked about negotiating a price to use some of my relationship posts in his new and upcoming magazine. We talked in depth about what he’s looking to do with this new hair magazine and he advised that when the time comes…he would pay for my flight out to meet with the team…photoshoot etc…..I have no idea what to think of any of it but that’s why I am online now trying to find out as much as I can. I don’t even know that it’s legit so I am going to remain very vague for now and check everything out. I would definitely not fly out anywhere without having a male with me. Can’t be too careful now days!
Great post with wonderful information. I’m fairly new to blogging (only 8+ months) but have every intention of continuing to grow. Just starting following you on bloglovin’!
Thanks Laura! I’m glad you agree:-)
I would reply back asking what they mean by “trade”. For example, if they have 5 million Facebook Fans and trade means they would feature you there by tagging your page and linking to your blog, that might be worth it for you over money because you would gain some traffic. You might not need that though and would rather be paid. Asking more questions in these matters is always smart. Good luck!!
Wonderful post and I whole-heartedly agree with your reasoning! If they can direct traffic back to you by featuring a picture and link – great! Most of the time, they want something for nothing – boo!
Thanks for the article! Have you had a magazine reach out to you about becoming a contributor to their magazine “for trade”? A quarterly, high-distribution magazine has gotten in touch with me but said they only offer positions for trade to all of their contributors. (” I am happy to extend any trade that you may want in compensation for your expertise in our food section.”)
I haven’t responded yet because I don’t quite know how. The person was also referred to me from a friend of mine who had THOUGHT I would be offered a paid role…any advice?
You can contact magazine editors and blog owners. It just takes some digging, but all information and titles are usually printed in magazines and you can find contact info on websites. Good luck!
Hi, Amy! I found your (fantastic!) article on pinterest. I’m in the process of redoing my blog and taking it in a new direction. I was living overseas and am relocating back to the States and it just makes sense to revamp at this time. I have a question for you though… if one wants to submit proposals to magazines and sites, is there some sort of list or place that tells you what the publications might be looking for and/or who to contact? I’d love to venture into submitting some proposals to get my soon to be new site out and move towards some freelance work. Thanks Amy!!!
Thank you for all your information! I am not anywhere near the stage of someone wanting one of my projects, but a girl can dream right!?! I probably would have just said yes immediately being so flattered, I never would have thought of all these other angles. Thanks again for sharing your experiences. 🙂
Great! Good luck with your new jobs!
Oh yeah!!! I needed this info! I”ve been working out how to start working with magazines and large sites and am soooo grateful for these tips!
Thanks for the kind note Mary. Good luck with your new shop!
Hi Amy… I am a new mommy crafter and just opened up my shop on Etsy! I am really excited about all the possibilities of putting my love of crafting and creating for my kids to “work” 🙂
I am loving your blog and finding myself explore a little more each day. Thanks for the time and effort you put into it and sharing so much with your followers! This is going on my dream board, right next to starting my own blog! Your posts are becoming my morning routine!
Have a great day! Mary
This is great information. I had a craft blog and was contacted by a magazine to be a monthly feature. I am now a full time employee and I look for people to feature. We offer them all the things you said that you would say yes to. Its good to know I am doing something right!! Thanks for this post!!
Super valuable info, Amy! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been contacted by several and have felt a little odd negotiating! Timely info here!
Found this on Pinterest…what a great read! I hope to have my writing/styling featured in magazines as I studied Magazine Journalism in school. That’s my passion! 🙂 Hope these tips help me if, and when, I get approached.
Fabulous article Amy! Really makes me think twice about an upcoming feature since it brings me a lot of traffic. Guess I’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each. Pinning this!
Thank you for posting this – there is so much to think about, isn’t there? I have this linked to my blogging tips and advice post as well today, thanks again!
Awesome, concise article Amy! Thanks for the information, I will definitely bookmark this post for reference! Will pass it on to a few blogging friends too!
Awesome article Amy. I have only had one magazine opp and it was a teeny tiny picture with a link back to by blog and they paid me $150 for the idea plus I made money off of it because of my affiliation with the company. It is cool to see your stuff in print but I agree wholeheartedly with your standards.
Most well known publications are usually respectful not to copy the ideas they ask about using.
It has happened a few times though where they don’t ask and recreate a project themselves. That does stink. Most of the time, it’s a freelancer who copies the ideas, not the magazine editors. Plus, who’s to know who came up with the idea first in many cases? It can be frustrating, but bloggers do the same with magazine editor’s ideas too. I see it all of the time and why I work hard to come up with original content for my blog.
Thanks for the tips! Just curious… if you refuse a project, are you ever nervous that they may just recreate your idea without giving you any credit? Has that ever happened?
I will save your information. I am learning bit by bit things about blogging and hopefully getting my patterns “out there.” I have learned much from you through your blog and website. Thank you.
Oh great! Good luck with everything:-)
For freelance jobs, I have reached out to magazines and companies before to schedule meetings with them to introduce myself and show my portfolio. If they like what they see and think I am a good fit for them, then we usually talk about a specific project. That’s when I submit a proposal. It usually consists of rough sketches or of ideas I have done in the past that might work specifically for them with edits. If they like the idea, we will talk about compensation and deadlines. Then after that is worked out, I go full blast on ideas for them to approve before starting a job.
Illustrators have agents who do this for them. You can act as your own agent or you could hire a PR firm to do this on your behalf.
This is so timely. I’ve just had an email from a PR saying that a company liked my styling and photo and would like to feature it on their website and may be willing to pay. Your advice will be invaluable, thanks.
Great information! I really appreciate it!
I am curious though about one thing. I have done work with Nickelodeon before, they contacted me first and it was wonderful and a great project we worked on together. But I am curious, do you ever contact a magazine or company first? If so, what type of proposal do you typically send them?
Great post Amy, lots of useful information here! And congrats on your contract with the magazine!!! How exciting!
This is valuable information for any blogger!
What’s crazy is that Oprah and Martha are two people that should be paying. Just because they are huge doesn’t mean they should arbitrarily get stuff for free. But because they are huge people don’t factor that in to their cost of doing business.
Thanks for the information….my blog is not at this point yet, but hopefully one day!
What valuable information! I am definitely saving this for future reference. Thank you for sharing your expertise.
This is awesome. Thank you so much, so helpful for those getting started! You’re a real inspiration!
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