So you wanna submit to a magazine or online publication? It’s not as hard as it seems. A few simple guidelines will help you put together a submission that will reflect your personal style and help the powers that be see your vision.
Rule Number One!
Yes, this one is a rule not a guideline. Read the submission call and any other provided materials very carefully. Some places want everything on one page. Send two pages and you are out of the running before you’ve even begun. Most places want all of the design information in the PDF. Don’t put pertinent information in the email! Unless I’m personally friendly with the editor my emails are quite simple and usually go like this:
Attached is my Fancy Schmancy Sweater submission for your Spring 2025 issue.
Thank you for your consideration,
Independent Knitting Designer
Make sure to fill out and attach any other requested forms. Some places require additional forms, and some place you even have to snail mail the submission.
Work up a generous swatch. If you’re scanning it in or photographing, you want enough fabric to work with. If it’s going in the mail a 2×2 inch square is not gonna impress. If you have ribbing that transitions beautifully into an intricate pattern swatch the ribbing too. If you added lace to raglan seams – swatch it! Help the editors see what you see.
Don’t stress out about the sketch. My sketches are not works of art – trust me. But I do my best to convey how the swatch and the sketch relate so that my ideas come across. One thing I’ve done for years that worked really well for me is tracing a form that I printed out from the internet. That way my bodies are actually body shaped! I tend to add a lot of handwritten notes to my sketches. So the editors can see how things work and what goes where.
Set up a style sheet for submissions. It really helps me to have a template that I can just drop everything into so that I can easily put together a polished PDF without having to reinvent the wheel every time I want to submit. You have a template for your patterns, set up a simplified version for your submissions. If your submission is more than one page make sure your contact information is on every page. That way one page won’t get lost from the other! You can see a sample of an older one of mine below.
Relax! Do your best and what will be will be. Sometimes when you get a rejection it has nothing to do with whether or not the design is good enough. And if you really love a design you always have two other options even if they say no. First off you can self publish! And also don’t dismiss the idea of resubmitting it elsewhere. Laresca, the design I’ve featured in this blog post was rejected by two, count ’em two magazines before Twist Collective said yes. And I’ve made good money off that design for years!