For many artists, it’s a goal to see their work appear in a magazine spread, be printed in a book, or be featured on a popular blog. Besides the pride and sense of accomplishment you’ll feel from having your work shared in this format, it can also lead to greater exposure and finding potential collectors, or connections to new opportunities. But if you haven’t had your artwork published before, it might be confusing to know where to start in order to make this happen. In this article, I will outline the steps to take in order to get your work covered by your favorite media outlets or included in a book.
Get your art published!
Step 1. Decide on your goal
It will be easiest to start working towards getting your art published if you narrow down your goal. Maybe you eventually want all three (blog, book, magazine) to happen, but choose one to focus on first so that you can direct your efforts there. You also never know, perhaps landing one feature will organically lead to the next one. So, what would you like to happen first - seeing your art in a magazine, in a book, or on a blog?
Step 2. Research media outlets
Now it’s time to specify even further. Of course you know that not every magazine or blog specializes in contemporary art, so spend time doing research on the ones that do, and especially look out for any that openly accept submissions and/or that are specific to your niche within the arts. For example, you should be able to find ones dedicated to certain media (e.g. photography) or styles (e.g. abstract art). Beyond a simple Google search, you can also look for these media outlets by checking the press pages on the websites of similar artists that you know, you can ask the artists in your community, join artist groups on Facebook, and check call for art websites and hashtags on social media. On Instagram, once you find one art magazine or blog, simply follow them and a few more should be immediately suggested to you as other accounts you may be interested to follow. Once you have found the website or social media profile of a blog or magazine you think would be a fit for your work, I suggest following them or joining their email newsletter. Magazines and blogs do often post calls for art via social media or share them with their subscribers first.
*Hint* Here is the submission page for Create! Magazine. Check back periodically for new opportunities.
As for books, one way to have your work featured is by submitting directly to publishers. Again, do research online to find the leading art book publishers (or publishers use art as illustrations in their books) and look for the submission page on their websites. They almost always have one that is easy to locate on their page and it details the exact specifications they look for in an artist portfolio. Take notes on what it is they’re looking for and follow their directions when it comes to the amount and sizes of images to send.
Step 3. Organize your submissions
Once you know where you’ll be submitting, gather all of your images, the most current versions of your artist statement and biography, and any other materials required. Double check the directions to see if you need to update any files or file names to a preferred format. Mark any deadlines (including the time of day) on your calendar so that you don’t miss them.
If the organization only provides an email to submit work to rather than a form, write a simple and professional message explaining that you are sending your work for consideration for publication. Don’t forget to include a greeting and sign-off and a link to your website. If the directions do not specify what to do with your images, you could consider attaching them directly to the email as long as there aren’t too many and the files sizes aren’t huge. Otherwise, your website link is fine, and that is preferred over attaching a PDF presentation of your work or sending a Dropbox/Google Drive link. You can also always add at least one image to your email signature to give the person a quick introduction to your work. *Hint* Use a favorite piece that is currently available for sale!
Step 4. Pitch writers
There are numerous blogs, magazines, and books that would love to highlight your work but don’t have a submission process posted publicly. Don’t get discouraged. If you come across a publication that seems like the perfect match and you can’t find a submission page, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t looking. The submission process will be a little different in that you should try to connect with the writers or editors directly. Find the email addresses and social media profiles (some writers don’t mind being contacted via Twitter or Instagram) of writers you’d like to connect with and write a pitch proposing your work to be featured. I’ve written an entire guide covering the best practices on how to pitch your art, but a few key things to remember are to give an angle as to why your work is a fit for the platform, explain your interest in that platform and/or that writer’s work, and to do all this in a simple, concise message.
Step 5. Work with a PR team or agency
While I encourage you to do media outreach on your own, especially at the beginning, you may eventually find that you’d prefer to pass this on to an expert or team of professionals. I’ve interviewed several women who are leaders in the fast-paced and exciting world of public relations and communications for the arts so you can go back to previous articles from my Women Working in the Arts series in order to learn more about them and what it is they do.
Step 6. Wait for responses & follow up
If you don’t hear back or receive rejections at first, please keep trying. Send follow-up messages and continue to look for other opportunities in the meantime before applying again. But hopefully, as you begin submitting your art, you’ll start to receive positive responses in the coming weeks and months. Celebrate your wins and enjoy your work featured in beautiful print publications and on the blogs you love!
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, our team would greatly appreciate you sharing it. Remember that Kat and I also wrote a whole book dedicated to providing career and business advice like this for emerging artists called The Complete Smartist Guide. Feel free to reach out and let us know if there are any other topics you’d like us to cover on our blog by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alicia Puig has been a contributing writer for Create! Magazine since 2017. Find more of her work: www.aliciapuig.com