Ask Jo: How to get a Quilt Published

Recently a blog reader, Carolyn, asked, “Those are some beautiful quilts! What I want to know is how do you get a pattern or quilt accepted in a magazine?”

We were talking about out Points of Interest quilt.
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It can be found here.

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I can’t tell you how everyone else does it.  I can tell you how we first started and what we do now.

When we started we want to publish something somewhere.  We started with Moda Bake Shop.  Follow the link.  Then check out the right hand column where it says Chef Application.  Click on it and you’ll see what you need to do.  Basically you have to pick an upcoming fabric line, design a quilt using it and then submit your  idea.  If they like it, they send you the fabric and your write the tutorial.  LOTS of people started here.  Crazy Mom, Amanda Jean did.  Doug Leko from Antler Designs did…there are many that have.

After we had projects on Moda Bake Shop we got a little braver.  We decided to try quilt magazines.  We saw that Quiltmaker was doing a 100 blocks issue so we wrote to the editor and decided to see if we could submit a block.  We could and did.  We designed a quilt with the block.  They liked it so much they asked if they could publish the quilt.  From there…we kept asking.

If you look inside any magazine you’ll see something like this…quiltmag

It’s usually on one of the first 3-4 pages.  Read through that.  You will find an email address of the editor or someone in charge of submissions.

Email them with pictures of your finished project or project idea.  Of course you need some type of image.  I design in Word (Yes the computer program)- Many design in EQ.  If you are designing around a fabric line, often the magazine or you can contact the fabric company and they will provide the fabric for you.

It’s all a matter of being willing to try and be willing to hear no answer at all and wonder if they even got your submission.  None of the magazines that we design with are super quick and getting back to us.  If the answer is no, we never hear that.  We have submitted things only to hear from them two month later and wonder if that quilt is still available.  UGH.  It’s a bit annoying.  The next time we’ll submit three things and they will take all three and want the quilts to them asap.  It’s not easy.

Another to note.  Magazine don’t pay well.  Don’t think we get rich on getting something published.  We don’t.  Not at all.  Depending on the magazine, the difficulty of the project and size of the project, you will get anywhere from $250 to $700.  For some magazines you need to write a rough draft of the pattern.  For others you don’t write a thing-just send the quilt.

If you the designer design a quilt, pay for the fabric for a queen sized quilt, and then go through the work and time to make it-then write rough directions and pay for postage to send it off, it’s not a money making business to you for $600 a quilt.  Honestly, you likely don’t make minimum wage.

So why do we do it?  For us we feel we get a few more blog readers through the process.  We are going to be sewing something anyway so why not submit it?  Occasionally we design in advance and get the fabric in advance from the manufacturer so we can make a little money off the quilt.  That happened for us when we designed this one.  We submitted in the spring.  They already had a fall cover quilt so asked us to make it up and they would photograph it this fall but wouldn’t be published until the following fall.  That gave us a chance to order the fabric from the manufacturer who donated the fabric to us.

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The next question I am sure will be “How to get fabric donated to you”.  That’s the same answer….ASK!

Fabric companies and happy to work with you to promote their fabric.  You have to be reputable and you have to follow through.  Starting with Moda Bake Shop is a good step as it’s not hard to get in AND it gives you a place to start and acquire a reputation.

Now days things have gotten MUCH easier when it comes to getting things published.  We have worked with many of the magazine and fabric companies  on a regular basis so we don’t need to sell ourselves.

If you’re thinking about this make sure that you target the magazine with a project that fits their publication.  For example, don’t send a Civil War quilt proposal to a Modern focused magazine.  If you have a small project it might work good for Quilts and More which focuses on smaller easier projects.

The biggest thing you need to do to be published is simply try.  If you ever want to send something to me first to look at if before you send it off, I’d be happy to look at for you.  It’s not nearly as scary as you think!

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3 thoughts on “Ask Jo: How to get a Quilt Published

  1. April Adams

    Thank you for these straight forward comments concerning how to get a pattern published. I am a new quilt designer and really appreciate this practical advice.

  2. Paula

    I admire your quilt designs! Want to here something funny? I loved the quilt on the October 2015 cover of American Patchwork and Quilting so much, I had to buy the magazine. I was still teaching then and hadn’t had time to quilt or sew in 20 something years, but I wanted that pattern. Your name meant nothing to me then, no offense, but I didn’t read blogs, or do Facebook, or anything like that due to the all consuming task of being a well prepared, good teacher. After I had thumb and wrist surgery about two months before I retired, I found your blog and have read it daily ever since. Still didn’t connect you to the magazine I still had on my living room library shelf. Today’s post made the light bulb go off! No wonder I liked that quilt so much! Thank you for having the creativity and patience to design and publish.

  3. Kathy D

    Yup! That’s what my husband does to get his carvings published. Sends pictures and/or ideas and then waits. The pay scale is about the same for him, it just kinda gives “street cred” to all you do. Keep up the good work. I love to read you have been published again. :)

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