Rejection slips are a fact of any writer’s life and, whether you’ve realized it yet or not, writing crochet instructions is a form of technical writing.
Don’t let rejection slips get you down. Also, don’t let them discourage you from submitting again or define how you feel about yourself as a designer. Instead, use them as a tool to help you improve your work. When a project is returned to you with a rejection slip, take an honest, critical look at it and do your best to evaluate it through the editor’s eyes. If you see room for improvement, make corrections and resubmit the project to another editor. If you feel that it is fine as is, send it on to another editor without changes.
Ideally, you will get a feel for what your editors want from you, and you’ll get better at taking that critical look at your designs before you send them out for the first submission. As you get better at looking at your work critically and working with the editors, they will learn what they can expect from you. You just might find that you start placing your designs with more consistency.
As a former crochet book and magazine editor, I can assure you that editors reject projects for many reasons that have nothing at all to do with the merits of your project. Why? There are several reasons. Editors usually work with themes. If you do your homework to find out what the editor’s needs are for a book or an issue of a magazine, you’ve got a better chance of having your work accepted. There are also times when an editor may have already purchased a design that is similar to the one you just submitted so they have no need for another design of the same type. And, sometimes, no matter how much an editor likes a project and wants to purchase it, there just isn’t room to get it into the target publication.
To improve your chances for placement:
1. Request and follow the instructions given in the editorial calendar and designer guidelines for a publication so you can submit what the editor is asking for. Follow the submission process exactly. If there is something about the process you do not understand, ask.
2. Be considerate of the people you are submitting to. Make sure your designs are neat, clean and free of contaminants (pet hair, cigarette smoke, etc.) Keep in mind that some of the people who will handle your work may be allergic to some or all of these things. (I know someone who is, and she suffers a great deal when people ignore this simple request.)
3. Be sure that your instructions are clear, concise and well-written. Check and re-check to be sure your math works out, too. If you are in doubt about any of these things, ask a friend who crochets to look your work over and see if he or she can offer any suggestions.
4. Ask if a publication prefers digital submissions or whether they prefer the actual physical item. In the past few years, digital submissions have become increasingly desirable. However, If the submission is to be mailed, ALWAYS include a check for return postage. If you don’t, your submission may not be returned to you.
(Note: This is an updated re-post from my previous blog.)