Pitch your story to magazines

We looked at brochures last week, and I imagine that many of you decided you didn’t need a brochure–at least not right now. There are any number of ways you can share your art outside of a fancy brochure. And, as I said in the last issue, you want to target your message as much as possible, especially if it’s for a promising lead or media outlet.

Laura K. Aiken asks:

Let's say I wanted to pitch an idea to a magazine.  Whatever I sent them, I would want it to be interesting enough for them to put on the front cover or as a highlighted article.  What is going to make me stand out from all the other artists?

First, I love this question. Laura realizes that she needs to stand out. A one-size-fits-all brochure won’t cut it in this instance. What you need most are the following three things.

  1. Awesome work that looks different from that of other artists. It’s not your medium that matters so much, but what you do with it. What makes people drop their jaws, shout “Wow!,” and sign on to be a fan for life?
  2. Amazing photographs that show your work in its best light. I’ll harp on this until the day I die. Good photography should be a business expense for every professional artist. If you aren’t willing to learn how to take professional-quality photographs or invest in them, you aren’t ready to take your work to the next level. This is especially true in this age of Internet marketing. Magazine editors, gallery dealers, retailers, consultants, and curators request JPGs long before they are able to see the work in person. Poor photographs will lead you straight to the Poor house.
  3. An A+ story to pitch. An A+ story can actually overcome any deficits you may have in the area of #1 (unique qualities). Sure you make art, but (and this is the question that most writers will ask) so what? What makes you special? What makes your art worth a cover story or even a 500-word article? What will help the publisher sell magazines or newspapers? What part of your story fits with the editorial content of the publication?
Therese May
Therese May, Subtle Profiles.
Art quilt, 25 x 25 inches. ©The Artist

Now, what do you do with this stuff?

You don’t need a loaded media kit to send. In fact, from what I understand, thick media kits are discouraged. They’re viewed as a waste of paper since no one knows where to keep them and everyone is trying to eliminate clutter.

Start with an introductory email that includes your pitch and a link to the story (art) you’re pitching. Be certain that the linked page you’re including is easy to navigate and understand.

Follow up your email with a printed packet. Just put items #2 and #3 from the above list in a large, handsome envelope with your branded label (which can be printed on any color printer) on the outside. Hand-write the name and address of the recipient in your best penmanship. I like the brightly-colored Presentation Envelopes (9×12”) at Envelope Mall and Paper Source.

Incidentally, former magazine editor Jennifer King did a teleseminar with me entitled How to Get Your Art in Magazines, which is available as an audio download or CD. It’s not really about art magazines, but more leisure and niche magazines, which are what many art buyers read.

KNOW THIS———-~> You have to have the work, the photos, and the story to back up your pitch.

THINK ABOUT THIS—~> Are you putting forth your best effort with your pitch?

DO THIS————~> Pitch your story to magazines–when you’re ready. Don’t take this lightly. Remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Get your ducks in a row and go in feeling confident.

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