How to submit design proposals to third party publications

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Publishing patterns in third party publications such as books, magazines, and websites can be a great way to earn income from your designs. It can also help expose your work to a wider and more diverse audience than independent publishing. It may seem daunting at first, but hopefully the information I’ve compiled here will help you gain the confidence to create a strong pattern submission that will have an excellent chance of being accepted.

How to submit to third parties
In general, submitting a pattern for publication involves the following steps:

  1. Choosing a publication
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    The first step is to decide where to submit your idea. Many publications will post calls for submissions on Ravelry. Check out the Designers group and scroll down through the discussion threads to see the current postings (tip: I have a reminder set in my calendar to check this list every couple of weeks for submission calls that appeal to me!) Others have an email list they use to notify designers of new submission calls. Some have no specific submission calls but just accept general submissions via web form or email at any time. Marie Segares of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show has compiled a list of publications that accept submissions which might be helpful. If you have one specific publication you’re interested in working with, look them up! If you can’t find information about submissions on their website, send them an email asking how you can submit a design proposal.
    ‌‌
    There are many factors to consider when choosing where to submit your design. Does the publication (and its audience) align with your brand/vision? Do they provide yarn support for developing the design? Do they offer fair compensation and exclusivity terms? What are the deadlines? Will the submission cost you anything? Be realistic about what you would like to get out of the process and choose a publication that meets your requirements.

    I strongly recommend listening to episode 1 of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show for a more detailed discussion on this topic. This is an old episode (it was released in August 2014) but the information is still relevant today and Marie goes into great detail about the factors to consider when submitting a proposal).
  2. Preparing the submission/proposal
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    Once you’ve decided on the publication you’d like to target, it’s time to start thinking about the design you are going to pitch. Depending on the publication, you may have a specific call for submissions you are responding to. If that is the case, use the mood board, suggested yarns, etc. in the call for submissions as inspiration when developing your design idea.
    ‌‌
    Most publications will include a description of exactly what must be included in a submission for it to be considered. Be sure to pay close attention and use the correct format when writing your proposal. Common elements include a description, a list of materials required , a swatch (often just a photo of the swatch as most proposals are submitted via email), and a sketch of the design. If specific yarns and colours are named in the submission call, reference the ones you would like to use in your proposal (note that your swatch does not always have to be done in the exact yarn/colours named in the proposal, although you will want to use something similar). Highlight the design’s features, give information about the construction and techniques used, and explain how it fits with the theme. You are trying to sell an idea, so you want to make it look and sound as appealing as possible!
    ‌‌
    Some designers will take a design they are currently working on and try to find a call for submissions that fits their existing idea. I have not personally had any success from this type of submission and have found that my successful proposals have all resulted from responding to submission calls that inspired me. I definitely find that developing a pattern idea from a theme/mood board that speaks to me results in a better finished product than just trying to make an existing idea “fit” into a certain theme. This is just my personal experience, though!
  3. Submitting the proposal to the publication
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    This is the easy part! You’ve done the work, now you just need to submit the design (in the method requested by the publisher) in time for the deadline. Some publications require physical submissions to be mailed in, meaning you will need to give yourself some extra time.
    ‌‌
    In some circles it is frowned upon to submit the same design to multiple publications concurrently. I am not a magazine editor, nor have I had anyone “in the know” confirm this to me, but I just thought I would mention it as it seems to be a bit of a divisive issue among some designer communities. Where I personally try to tailor each proposal to a specific submission call, this has not been an issue for me. Your mileage may vary!
  4. Playing the waiting game!
    ‌‌
    Most submission calls will indicate how long it will take them to notify applicants of whether or not their submission was accepted.

If your submission is accepted, first of all, congrats! Be sure to read the contract to verify that it matches the terms set out in the call for submissions. Look at the payment being offered and decide whether or not it is acceptable to you, given the contract terms, exclusivity period, etc. (you can also check out https://whopaysknitters.com to see what others are being paid for similar jobs). And be sure to add all relevant dates and deadlines to your calendar!

If your submission in not accepted, don’t despair. It doesn’t mean it’s not a good design idea, just that it didn’t fit with what the publishers were looking for, for this particular submission call (I highly recommend checking out this article by Allison K Williams for a helpful perspective on dealing with rejection). Don’t feel as though you have wasted time working on something that didn’t pay off! Now that you’ve got the design all planned out, you can continue to develop and release the pattern independently.


I hope this was helpful! Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference. If you have any questions about submitting design proposals to third party publications, you can get in touch with me any time by sending me and email at allison at kniterations dot ca.

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Sending single-use Ravelry coupon codes with MailChimp

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Ravelry Pro makes it easy to create promotions and special offers for your customers. Lots of designers use “coupon codes” as a way to incentivize their potential customers to sign up for their newsletter, purchase a pattern, etc. And the possibilities are nearly endless – you can offer a percentage discount, a flat discount, a free pattern, or even a discounted price when a certain number of patterns are purchased together. You can restrict the promotion to specific patterns, require a minimum purchase, and much more. Essentially, Ravelry Pro lets you create almost any type of promotion you can think of!

One easy way to run a promotion is to create a single coupon code that can be used by anyone who has it. But if you’re offering a special discount just to those who’ve signed up to your newsletter, for example, you might not want it to be something that could potentially be shared far and wide for anyone to use. This is where batches of single-use codes come in handy. But how do you get individual codes to your MailChimp contacts without having to send one email at a time?

Essentially, you:

  1. Export your mailing list from MailChimp to a CSV file (making sure it contains an empty field/column to hold the codes);
  2. Export a list of coupon codes from Ravelry to a CSV file;
  3. Copy and paste the coupon codes from the Ravelry file into the MailChimp one;
  4. Import the mailing list back in MailChimp;
  5. Write your email, using the coupon code field’s “merge tag” to get each contact’s code into their version of the email.

(What are merge tags? Merge tags are unique labels tied to your list fields. Have you ever noticed how sometimes you’ll get emails from a mailing list and the sender has inserted your name right into the email? This is how they do it. We can use the same method to send unique coupon codes, but first we need to get the coupon codes into the list.)

For a step-by-step tutorial, read on!

1. Log in to MailChimp and navigate to your list. You’ll see a list of subscribers with several columns of information for each contact.

2. Click the Settings dropdown list at the top of the page, then select List fields and *|MERGE|* tags. Here you’ll see a list of fields available to your list’s signup forms. The basic fields are Email Address, First Name, and Last Name, but you can add other fields based on the type of information you want to collect from subscribers when they sign up.

3. Click the Add A Field button, then select Text. Your list will refresh and you’ll have a new untitled field added at the bottom. This is where we are eventually going to store coupon codes, so you will want to give it a sensible name so you’ll be able to identify the column later. You may even want to change the merge tag to something easier to identify. Make sure to uncheck the Required and Visible checkboxes – you don’t want the Coupon Code field to be visible on the list’s signup form, you’ll just be using it behind the scenes. Click Save Changes to save the new field.

4. Click the Manage Contacts dropdown list at the top of the page, then select View Contacts. You’ll see the new Coupon Code column (which will be empty).

5. Click the Export List button, then click Export As CSV and save the file to your computer. CSV means “comma-separated values” and is essentially just a simplified way of storing tabular data. Open the file and take note of the number of records so you’ll know how many coupon codes you need to generate. I usually just scroll down to the last row, take the row number and subtract one (the header is row 1 so we don’t need a code for that row).

6. Log in to Ravelry and navigate to your Ravelry Pro account. Click pattern sales at the top of the page, then, when the patterns page loads, click promotions to navigate to the Promotions page. Click the create new promotion button. The Create New Promotion page will be displayed. Here, give your promotion a name, and select the Coupon code – batch of single-use codes option from the Promotion type dropdown list. If you want, you can add a custom prefix to your coupon codes by entering it in the Coupon code field. Configure the rest of the promotion as desired, being sure to include a start and end date.

7. Click Save Changes to save the promotion. Once the promotion has been saved, you’ll have the option to generate a set of promotion codes. Click the generate a set of promotion codes link, then enter a description and the number of codes that should be generated (the number of rows in our CSV file minus 1). Click the generate codes button to generate the codes.

You’ll be redirected to the Promotion Settings page where you can click the download button to download the coupon codes in – you guessed it – CSV format.

8. Save the file to your computer and open it, along with the MailChimp export from earlier. You will now need to copy and paste the column of codes from the Ravelry file into the empty Coupon Code column in the MailChimp file.

9. Export/save the MailChimp file to a new CSV file. This is important because if you just save the file as-is, it will be converted to the format used by your spreadsheet software. In order to import it back into MailChimp, it needs to be in CSV format. How this is done will vary based on the software you are using (Excel, Pages, etc.).

10. Navigate back to your list in MailChimp, click Add contacts, then select Import contacts. The “CSV or tab-delimited text file” option should be selected by default, so just click the Next button. Browse to the file you just exported from your spreadsheet software, then click the Next button. MailChimp will ask you to confirm that the columns in the file you’re importing match the columns in your list. You can click Skip for every column but the Email and Coupon Code columns (be sure to click Save when you get to those).  Once you get through all the columns, click the Next button.

11. Review the import information and be sure to select the Auto-update my existing list checkbox – otherwise MailChimp will reject the duplicate records instead of merging them with the existing list. Click the Import button to finish importing the contacts.

12. Once the import has completed, the list will refresh, and you’ll be able to see your coupon codes!

13. Now when you create your email campaign, you can use the Coupon Code merge tag to insert the coupon codes into the email. Each subscriber will get their own unique code. To insert the Coupon Code merge tag, select it from the Merge Tags dropdown list in the text editor.

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The Coupon Code merge tag will be inserted into the body of the email.

14. To make sure the merge tag is inserting the correct data, click on the Preview and Test dropdown list at the top of the page, then click Enter Preview Mode. In the Header Info section on the right, turn on Enable live merge tag info. MailChimp will show you what the email will look like for a particular recipient.

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And that’s it! I hope this was helpful. Happy emailing!

Best,
Allison

[Disclaimer: The information in this blog post was accurate as of the date of publication; any updates to Ravelry or MailChimp are out of my control and could change how this works in the future!]

Coming November 3rd: Slush Hat KAL!

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With gift-giving season quickly approaching, I thought it would be a great time to host a Slush hat KAL!

The Slush toque is the perfect quick knit to give as a gift (or keep for yourself). It uses less than one skein of super bulky weight yarn, requires only a couple of hours of knitting time, and results in a finished item that’s both warm and stylish (with or without a pom pom – although I must confess, I prefer WITH)!

I can’t wait to see your finished objects (FOs) and give out some awesome prizes! I’ll also be sending weekly emails with tips on yarn selection, tutorials on making pom poms, information on featured prizes, and more.

Here’s how the KAL will work:

What: Knit Slush hats all month, share FOs with hashtag #slushkalfo, qualify for prizes!
When: November 3rd – 30th, 2017
Where: Instagram

How (aka “The Rules”)

  1. Sign up for the KAL (even if you’ve already signed up for my newsletter and received the pattern, you’ll need to sign up for the KAL specifically by clicking the link above).
  2. Select your yarn. In general, one skein of super bulky weight yarn per hat will do (check the pattern for the specific yardage required for each size). Dive into your stash, visit your LYS, or support an indie dyer online!
  3. Knit, share, chat! Share your progress (and follow others) using the hashtag #slushkal.
  4. Post those FOs to qualify for prizes! There’s no limit – you get one entry into the prize draw for each finished project. To ensure your entry counts, be sure to post one photo per finished object using the hashtag #slushkalfo
  5. Watch for the prize draws on December 1st! We are still compiling the list of prizes, but I’ll be sending out an email with the goods once I have them all.

Please note that there are two different hashtags – #slushkal and #slushkalfo. Be sure to use #slushkalfo for prize entries only – i.e. one photo per FO should have the hashtag #slushkalfo. Use #slushkal freely when posting anything related to the KAL, including not only finished projects, but also photos of yarn you’ve selected, in-progress shots of your projects, etc.

That’s it! This is meant to be a fun, chill KAL and you can participate as much or as little as you like. As long as you post your FOs with the hashtag #slushkalfo, you’ll be entered to win prizes.

Looking forward to seeing your projects starting November 3rd.

Happy knitting!
Allison

Pattern re-release: Denali

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Denali is an Aztec-influenced two-colour cowl. The fabric is doubled for added warmth, but it is knit at a relaxed gauge that produces a beautiful drape. It is also reversible; the inside is worked in a simple salt and  pepper pattern that provides a nice break from following the larger chart.

Knit in the round from side to side to form a doubled fabric, the cowl is finished by grafting live stitches to the cast on edge, forming a seamless tube. This construction gives the piece extra warmth and structure, and also allows for a continuous, jog-free colourwork pattern.

SIZE

One size

FINISHED DIMENSIONS

56 cm/22” circumference and 20.5 cm/8” height, after wet blocking

MATERIALS

Sport weight yarn in the following approximate amounts:
C1: 275 m/301 yd
C2: 215 m/236 yd

*Shown in SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Sport (100% Merino; 300 m/328 yd per 115 g/4 oz skein) in colours Raspberry (C1) and Snowfall (C2).

NEEDLES

One set 4.5 mm/US 7 needles* (or size needed to obtain gauge)

*Either one set of DPNs, one 40 cm/16” circular needle, or two circular needles, as you prefer for knitting in the round.

GAUGE

25 stitches & 26 rounds = 10 cm/4” in colourwork  pattern, after wet blocking

ADDITIONAL TOOLS

Stitch marker (1), two tapestry needles, waste yarn

SKILL LEVEL

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Price: $6.50 CAD

Available through my Ravelry Store or directly via PayPal by clicking the “buy now” button below.

{PATTERN WRITING} Writing patterns with both charts and written instructions

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My October designer newsletter went out this morning, and in it I included a new resource for designers that I am excited to share with you.

The one thing I see designers struggle with the most is how to present patterns that contain both charts and written instructions. The guide I’ve put together contains information on when and why you might want to include both charts and written instructions in your patterns, as well as how to organize and present the information so that it is clear and easy to follow for all knitters, no matter which set of instructions they choose to follow.

If you’re not on the list you can sign up here to get this new free resource!


And as always, here’s my tech editing availability for the coming month:

October 2nd – 8th: 2 spaces remaining!
October 9th – 15th: 6 spaces
October 16th – 22nd: 7 spaces
October 23rd – 29th: 9 spaces

Get in touch if you’d like to reserve a spot!

New Pattern: Powder

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From Interweave Knits:

Chunky, soft, and quick to knit, the Powder Hat features fisherman’s rib stitch, which puffs up the already plump yarn. The ribbed stitch pattern alternates to create a natural brim in the fabric. This hat can be styled as a slouch or a beanie—and don’t forget the pom-pom!

This hat is worked in the round from the bottom up.

SIZE

One Size

FINISHED DIMENSIONS

20” circumference and 9.25” tall

MATERIALS

Cascade Yarns Boliviana Bulky (100% merino wool): #07 silver, 1 ball

NEEDLES

One 16” circular and set of DPNS, size 8 mm/US 11 (or size needed to obtain gauge)

GAUGE

8 stitches & 24 rounds = 10 cm/4” in Fisherman’s Rib*

*Measured after blocking.

ADDITIONAL TOOLS

Stitch marker, tapestry needle

SKILL LEVEL

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Available in the Holiday 2017 issue of Interweave Knits here.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here to add Powder to your favourites and queue!

New Pattern: Frost

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From Interweave Knits:

The Frost Mittens, inspired by classic Scandinavian motifs, feature a large Nordic star, bands of colorwork, and an optional lining for extra warmth. Worked in Icelandic Léttlopi, these mittens will keep your fingers toasty from the winter solstice to the spring equinox.

These mittens are worked from the cuff up with thumb gussets. The outer mitten is worked first, then stitches are picked up around the inside of the cuff and the lining is worked in the opposite direction. Once completed, the lining is tucked into the outer mitten.

SIZE

S/M and M/L

FINISHED DIMENSIONS

8.25 (9)” outer circumference, 7.25 (8)” inner circumference, and 10.5 (11.5)” long. Mittens shown measure 9” outer circumference.

MATERIALS

Ístex Léttlopi (100% Icelandic wool): #9419 ocean blue (MC), 2 balls; #0086 light beige heather (CC1), 1 ball; #9434 crimson red (CC2), 1 (2) ball(s).

NEEDLES

One set of DPNs in each of the following sizes: 4 mm/ US 6 and 5 mm/US 8 (or sizes needed to obtain gauge)

GAUGE

23 stitches & 24 rounds = 10 cm/4” in Snowflake pattern* on larger needles
20 stitches & 29 rounds = 10 cm/4” in Stockinette Stitch* on smaller needles

*Measured after blocking.

ADDITIONAL TOOLS

Stitch markers, removable stitch marker, stitch holder, tapestry needle.

SKILL LEVEL

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Version 2

Available in the Holiday 2017 issue of Interweave Knits here.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here to add Frost to your favourites and queue!

{PATTERN WRITING} Indicating stitch count changes

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My September designer newsletter went out this morning, and in it I included some helpful information on how to handle stitch count changes when writing a pattern. In case you aren’t signed up yet (sign up here so you don’t miss anything else!), here’s what I wrote:


Indicating Stitch Count Changes

Most patterns have increases and decreases that change the stitch count and it’s helpful to provide knitters with stitch count information so that they can verify that they haven’t made a mistake.

Depending on the type of instruction, whenever the stitch count changes, I recommend that designers list either:

a) the new stitch count,
b) the number of stitches increased/decreased, or;
c) a combination of the two.

So, which one should be used when?

When an instruction is worked only once, include the new stitch count . The new stitch count is by far the most useful piece of information to give the knitter. And when the instruction is worked just once, there’s no reason not to provide the new stitch count. For example:

Cast on 10 stitches.
Row 1 (RS): K1, m1, k until 1 stitch remains, m1, k1. (12 stitches)
Row 2 (WS): P to end.
Row 3: K to end.

When an instruction is repeated later in the pattern, include the number of stitches increased or decreased. When you want to repeat the same increase or decrease instruction more than once, the new stitch count total is only accurate the first time the instruction is worked. For this reason, including the number of stitches increased or decreased becomes more useful (and correct). For example:

Cast on 10 stitches.
Row 1 (RS): K1, m1, k until 1 stitch remains, m1, k1. (2 stitches increased)
Row 2 and all WS rows: P to end.
Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

When an instruction is repeated a fixed number of times, include both. If an instruction (or group of instructions) containing an increase or decrease is repeated a fixed number of times before moving on, you can include the number of stitches increased or decreased in the line-by-line instructions, and then list the new total stitch count at the end. For example:

Cast on 10 stitches.
Row 1 (RS): K1, m1, k until 1 stitch remains, m1, k1. (2 stitches increased)
Row 2 and all WS rows: P to end.
Repeat Rows 1 – 2 three times more. (8 stitches increased in total; 18 stitches)

Having clear, consistent rules for how to indicate stitch count changes not only makes things easier for the knitter, but it makes pattern writing quicker because you don’t have to stop and think about how to phrase things; you just follow the rules you’ve set!


Oh, and I also included my tech editing availability for September. At blog post publication time, I have the following spaces available:

September 4th – 10th: 2 spaces remaining!
September 11th – 17th: 4 spaces
September 18th – 24th: 7 spaces
September 25th – October 1st: 8 spaces

Get in touch if you’d like to reserve a spot!

New Pattern: Chance Cove

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Chance Cove provides a modern twist on the classic, triangular shawl. Worked from side to side in a worsted weight yarn, it features a sleek, geometric lace pattern. The clean lines of the lace paired with simple, garter stitch edgings make it anything but fussy. It can be worn traditionally over the shoulders or wrapped around the neck like a scarf. The tassels are for more than just style; they add weight in the right places, helping the shawl to stay put no matter which way it’s worn. Big enough to be warm, but not overwhelming, Chance Cove is a wearable piece you’ll reach for again and again.

This shawl is knit from side to side (i.e. from one top corner to the opposite edge) with a garter stitch border and central lace pattern.

SIZE

One size

FINISHED DIMENSIONS

180 cm/71” wingspan and 92 cm/36” depth, after wet blocking

MATERIALS

Approximately 804 m/880 yd worsted weight yarn

Shown in Cascade 220 Heathers (100% Wool; 201m/220 yd per 100 g/3.53 oz skein) in colour Iridescence (8872).

NEEDLES

One 120 cm/47” circular needle*, size 6 mm/US 10 (or size needed to obtain gauge)

*A longer or shorter needle could be used if necessary, as long as it can comfortably accommodate the number of stitches.

GAUGE

12 stitches & 24 rows = 10 cm/4″ in Lace Pattern*
16 stitches & 24 rows = 10 cm/4″ in Stockinette Stitch*

*Measured after blocking.

ADDITIONAL TOOLS

Stitch markers (2; optional), tapestry needle

SKILL LEVEL

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Price: $6.50 CAD

Available through my Ravelry Store or directly via PayPal by clicking the “buy now” button below.