13 tips for getting your scrapbook layouts published–and SIStv class winners!

img_20576 Hi Again, Everyone!

People are often curious about how we go about selecting the projects we feature in our magazine. You may or may not realize that much of our content is reader-submitted. That’s right– You could have your work chosen for use in the magazine! So today we thought we’d share some valuable tips for upping your chances of getting your work published. Please bear in mind that none of these are hard and fast rules, but in many, many cases they are the factors that make the difference between a good page and a publishable page.

  1. Use color photographs. Sometimes people may be trying to be artsy, or perhaps they think that the paper is too busy or doesn’t match. But living color is beautiful and real. Says Associate Writer Lori Fairbanks, “In my opinion, color photos look better 95% of the time.” Do we publish layouts with black and white photos? Yes. Yet we frequently ask contributors to replace b/w pics with color ones.
  2. Use multiple photographs on a page. If you check our magazine, you’ll notice that we do publish single-photo layouts. But the vast majority include more than one picture. We often go back to people and ask them to add more photos. Many of our readers like to get more on a page, so we try to show you how to do that effectively. (One note: our cover layouts will almost always use only one photo, just because it’s more attention-grabbing on the newsstand.)
  3. Include journaling. A darling photo (or several) with beautiful embellishments and the title Sweet Baby may be visually appealing, but without journaling it isn’t very meaningful. Say SOMETHING. The date, the occasion, the emotions the photo(s) evoke–something is always better than nothing. Take it from Associate Editor Joannie McBride, “Pages that have journaling on them allow me to feel like I am getting the whole story.”
  4. Keep it fresh. Be sure that you are checking out online galleries and looking carefully at the projects in our magazine. Try to employ cool techniques and unusual takes to stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to use the newest products, as long as how you showcase them is interesting. However, as Associate Editor Maurianne Dunn points out, “We need pages that don’t look outdated. While old paper is perfect for a scrapbook, we tend to focus on new and fashion-forward looks, which usually means using the latest products.”
  5. Be yourself. Know the trends, but make them your own. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right for you. If every layout we receive has the same embellishments or type of embellishments because it’s super trendy, they will all look the same to us, so doing something innovative and unique will help a page stand out.
  6. Create double-page spreads. We definitely publish one-pagers, but we do look for spreads, since many of our readers prefer them, and we seem to get fewer usable two-page submissions.
  7. Make sure your title and journaling are legible. We can’t show layouts at full size in the magazine, so it’s important that the font and color choices you make allow the words to be read easily. If you use your own handwriting, make sure it’s neat and straight.
  8. Proofread. We know you’re not handing this project in to your English teacher, but if it’s going to be in a magazine, it needs to be correct. Check your spelling (and your apostrophe use!) thoroughly.
  9. Utilize good design principles. We examine layouts carefully for unity, balance, color sense, etc. If these terms are foreign to you, bone up! Make sure that your design is “clean.” Maurianne says, “You can have a messy style but still have clean design.”
  10. Understand visual hierarchy. One of the main ways to achieve clean design is by observing the visual hierarchy. Take care that the title and photos aren’t overwhelmed by embellishments that are too bright or large. Inattention to visual hierarchy is one of our most common reasons for passing on a page.
  11. Choose the best photographs. We tend not to be drawn to layouts that have several different pictures from the same occasion of the same person in slightly different shots. Pick only the most engaging ones, and put the rest in a simple photo album. And apart from varying the subject matter, make sure they’re not too dark or too cluttered or too far away. Again, the image will be shrunk down somewhat in the magazine, so simple and clear is best.
  12. Reach for the “it” factor. “Maybe it’s a cool technique, or a striking color palette, or unique/cool/beautiful accents,” says Lori-that’s what separates your page from the rest.
  13. Inspire us. We’re scrapbookers, too. Make us wish we had thought of it first! When Joannie opens your submission, she asks herself, “Does the page inspire me? Does it make me happy? Would I recreate the page?”

We hope these tips give you a little peek inside our process, and if it is your desire to get published, perhaps we’ve given you some valuable concepts to consider. If we haven’t covered something you’ve wondered about, let us know. Check here for our current page calls, or direct general submissions to our attention at editorial@creatingkeepsakes.com.

If you scrapbook totally for the love, good for you! Remember, the number one guideline is HAVE FUN! You are documenting your history, and that in itself is the best reward.

Finally, here are the winners of the SIStv online classes:

Congrats! Please contact us at bopel@ckmedia.com to receive your gift certificates!

Beth Opel

Senior Writer, Creating Keepsakes

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