Good News: 5 Reader Galleries That Want Your Work!

Why submit to a reader gallery?

Have you ever submitted your work to a reader gallery?  If you're trying to sell your work or build a name for yourself, submitting your work to a reader gallery is one way to get the word out.  The benefits are obvious–it's free, quick (at least the submission part), great exposure, and you usually can submit at any time.  It's also low on the stress and anxiety scale.  If you're nervous about sending out your work, a reader gallery may be just the way to get started.

Where should you submit?

The good news is that there are many folks who would love to see your work!  Yes, really!  There are more printed and online bead magazines, catalogs, newsletters, and websites than ever before and those pages need to be filled with beautiful, inspiring work on a regular basis.  Here are a few places to consider:

  • bead/jewelry magazines, books, newsletters
  • bead-related companies and catalogs
  • bead designers with websites and/or newsletters
  • bead guild and club websites and/or newsletters
  • bead shops websites, newletters, or in-person displays
  • bead blogs and forums

The key to breaking in is to target specific places that are a good fit for your work, rather than submitting randomly to a bunch of places.   Do you always use lampwork beads by a certain artist?  See if she would feature your design in her newsletter along with a link to your website.  Did you put your own twist on a project from Beadwork magazine?  Send in a photo to Beadwork magazine.  Seek out multiple opportunities.  (Just don't send the same photo everywhere at once–having an "exclusive" may be important to some publications.)

How do I submit?

Every publication will have different guidelines.  Here are some common items you might need to provide:

  • 1-2 high quality photos
  • project title and brief description
  • description of key materials and techniques
  • your name and contact info

I would advise you against simply sending a website address and telling the editor to browse 400 of your latest designs.  There are more than 80,000 beaders on Beading Daily and even if only 10% of you did that I would never have time to write this newsletter!  Certainly include your website or blog address if you have one, just be sure to highlight the one or two key pieces you want the editor to notice.

How important is the photo?

Very.  But that doesn't mean you need professional quality photographs.  Step by Step Beads editor Leslie Rogalski notes, "A pro shot is not necessary, just use a tripod, the timed shutter release and decent lighting.  Enlarge your photo on your computer screen:  if it gets blurry, reshoot it."  You might also check out the tips in this free article: 3 Steps to Better Beadwork Photos.

Will I get paid?

Typically, you will not get paid for just a photo of your work.  However, sometimes showcasing a photo does lead to payment.  Here are some examples: 

  • An editor might want you to write instructions for the project you submitted and you would get paid for that.  That's what happened with Lisa Taylor's Royal Elegance Necklace.  It first appeared in a reader gallery in Step by Step Wire Jewelry and later with full project instructions.  (This also recently happened to Irene Goldman with her Poly-Metrics project, which will appear in the January-February 2009 issue of Step by Step Beads.)
  • A customer may want to buy your finished piece.  (That has happened with some of the readers featured on Beading Daily!) 
  • You might find teaching opportunities or receive requests for beading kits.  Or you might be offered a chance to contribute regular designs as a paid designer or you might receive free or discounted products in exchange for your design services. 

Magazines with Reader Galleries

  • Beadwork accepts work for its "What Our Readers Did (W.O.R.D.)" section.  Send a photo of your work to [email protected]  Gallery includes original projects and projects inspired by Beadwork magazine.  Plus, they are accepting entries until December 18, 2008 for their "Beaded Book" competition–winners are featured in the magazine and at two Bead Fest shows.  Learn more about Beadwork (and check out the new redesigned issue).
  • Step by Step Wire Jewelry accepts original designs for the WireWorks section of the magazine.  Send your images to [email protected]  Learn more about Step by Step Wire Jewelry.
  • Stringing accepts designs for its online "Inspired by Stringing" gallery and its themed challenges in every issue. The next challenge theme is "Elemental, My Dear!" (air, water, fire, and earth).  Deadline: February 25, 2009. Challenge rules are on the website.  Learn more about Stringing.
  • Step by Step Beads accepts thematic reader designs for its "Your Work" section.  In the November/December 2008 issue, there is a call for "culturally connected beadwork with a short statement about the tradition it reflects."  Attach JPEGs smaller than 1 MB in an email with your statement, put "cultures" in the subject line, list your name and contact info, and send to:  [email protected]  Only one image per reader can be published.  Deadline is May 1, 2009.  Also, editor Leslie Rogalski let me know that you might still be able to squeeze into the "Mother's Day" gallery if you submit your design ASAP!  Be sure to put "May June Gallery" in your subject line and tell them about the nuturing person you created the item for and why.  Learn more about Step by Step Beads.

Plus, don't forget about Beading Daily!   I am currently looking for heart-related designs for the first gallery of 2009.  You can always find the latest gallery details on the Contests page. 

Good luck!  Be sure to let me know when and where your designs will be featured.  I love hearing your good news!

Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.

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