How to get Published in 2011, 5 Rules to Follow

 Interiors by Kelly Wearstler

Ever wondered what the definition of News is?  Years ago I read a book called Feeding the Media Beast written by Mark Mathis where I learned what it was. And this morning I opened the latest Veranda magazine for January/February and one of the first stories in the ‘New & Noteworthy’ section was that Kelly Wearstler had re-done a Viceroy hotel and the headline was ‘Shocking Neutrals at the Viceroy Hotel’.

Okay Neutrals?  News?  Since When?

‘. . . without a lipstick-pink or lizard-green anything in sight. . .’ said Veranda. In other words, neutrals are not new. But when Kelly Wearstler–who is otherwise famously known for dramatic colour–does them, it’s new.

Have you figured out what the definition is yet? In a single word?  NEW. “There is nothing that newsworthy’ says Mathis, ‘about a headline called ‘Dog Bites Man’, such incidents are all too common.  But how about this one (true story) ‘Woman, 73, bites pit bull’s neck to snatch own Scottie from jaws’.” It’s why news in general is so sensational.  If it wasn’t structured that way, we wouldn’t be interested. It’s also why blog headlines are so important, as I’ve mentioned in this post.

It’s the same for shelter magazines.  Ever noticed how rare it is to see ‘matched furniture sets’ in ‘high end’ designer magazines?  A matching set of bedroom furniture? Three coffee tables in the living room that match? Matching dining room furniture? Because you don’t need a designer to help you run out and and buy a ‘matching’ set of furniture.  You can do that on your own. So here is Rule #1:

Create a space that looks ‘collected’ and then that becomes ‘News’ for a magazine.  That’s when they might deign to take a look at your photos.

The second Rule about getting published (not like I’m some big expert, my work has been in BC Home here and here—not National yet 🙂 is:
It’s who you Know.

At High Point in October, I attended a luncheon (on how to get published) which included an editor from Veranda Magazine who confirmed this. It’s why we see the same designers over and over in these magazines, because they are in the inner circle already. And obviously they continue to deliver in terms of creating beautiful, show-worthy interiors.

So that takes us to Rule #3,

Your interiors must be NEWSWORTHY. Which includes new colour combinations, a creative do-it-yourself project, a creative mix of high and low and above all collected looking. Then you can go about getting yourself KNOWN.

And the most obvious (but not to everyone) Rule #4;

They MUST be Professionally Photographed & Styled. Here’s a post that outlines the difference.

Interior Design by Kelly Wearstler

I still cringe when I think about the first set of photos I ever sent to a magazine to be considered. Not taken by a professional photographer and not even remotely styled. Oh well, live and learn.

Rule #5. A Fabulous Client is also a must-have.  A space that is not ‘finished’ is obviously pretty hard to photograph. Recently, I showed you a living room that I decorated for a client  (who was on a budget); however if she had not sprung for custom toss cushions, I would not have photographed the space because it was that finishing touch that turned the room from ho-hum to Hollywood glam.

Will you get published in 2011? 

If you would like to have a Collected Interior to fill you with happiness when you walk in the door, contact me for on-line or in-person decorating and colour.

Related posts:

10 Things Every Blogger should Know
Styling for Photo Shoots
4 Interior Design Blogs I Wish you would Write
Do you Follow the 10 Year Rule? (or How to have a Timeless Interior)

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  1. Annie Wilcox Designs

    I am neutral about the new year as a blanket of white snow covers my landscape. I am always in wondering how others get in the "inner circle". Stepping out of the box is a risk but not new. Thanks and happy holidays.

  2. Between you, me and the Fencepost

    Argh. Who you know. I always fall into the well, how DO you get to know all the 'in the know' people? But then, that's where the hustle and chutzpah comes in . . . something you, my friend, are good at. I love you ! xo

  3. Some good advice, succinctly put. Good luck in this year because I think you have much to offer. It's the loss of the Big Glossies if they don't see that!

  4. Interesting post. It seems to me that rule #2 is a common rule in life. I have noticed in blog land that many (not all) of the people who win blog give aways are well known blogers/buddies of the the blog hosting the give away. Old saying………it is not what you know but rather who you know. Maria I hope you have been getting to know some people!

  5. Great advice – I can relate to the last point the most because it is rare that I think my finished homes are photo worthy and now that I am blogging and posting photographs of my work I see how crucial it is to style the room for the camera. It is interesting how a room can look great and 'finished' in person but through the lens … not so much!

  6. I agree, Maria, that it's who you know, but what I think is more important is that you know yourself. If we can get that down, and do "ourselves" well, the other stuff will follow. You have that in spades, at least from this side of the blog!! 🙂


    Well God bless you Maria for this timely post. I'm just finishing my first post and I know I have so much to learn!
    Your posts are truly inspirational!
    Thank you.
    And… I can see you going National very soon!

  8. Hi Maria, I hope you had a lovely holiday. We certainly did. We had all the family, my mom, and my grandkids over and it was as enjoyable and relaxing as any holiday could be.

    I must say that I loved this interesting post! I think your 5 rules all make sense. And I really love what Carol at Sofas and sage said about how important it for us to know ourselves and do 'ourselves' well.

    I think that the more you do 'yourself' (and you do that VERY well..) the more you excel..and stand out. Eventually, the right people will notice your work. If the really talented people weren't producing, as you pointed out, it wouldn't really matter who they knew in the long run.

    I really believe that quality will 'out' eventually. Even my small blog is going to do well next year,I'm certain, because I'm getting to know 'me' better..and in a way I'm discovering my niche just as you so obviously have done.

    I'm also getting to know people along the way too. But Brent Riggs said success is partly just sticking to it and not giving up. It's a marathon we are running, not a sprint. Too many people give up too early, I think.
    As far as getting published goes, I think quality work is the heart of it..but knowing the right people would certainly speed things up.

    I have a friend who is published fairly regularly in her field. She's one of the best artists/ photographers I know, but she doesn't sit around waiting for someone to discover her. She went to the magazines..and after a lot of hard labor, one by one, her work was published in them. Now she has a fabulous book out that shares her message, combining art and mothering.

    But the quality was always there..and it gets better every day. Of course, she has to work at it and be committed. You get out of something what you put into it.

    You obviously give designing and your color expertise and consulting your all, so I expect to see you published very soon! Thanks for the inspiration. :o)


  9. Maria you are so right on these points!! It is a fluke to gain instant recognition and in reality it is a lot of hard work and marketing efforts.

    Happiest of Holidays & All the Best in the New Year!

    Art by Karena

  10. Maria,
    This is all very interesting!!
    And you are so right!
    Me published next year?!MMmm who knows!? Never despair! Haha!!

  11. Maria I hope this year you become the color expert for all the big mags 🙂

    I agree 100% with the photos. When I was briefly working for a publication company an reviewing many designer portfolios… the one thing that stood out the most was the photos. I saw some of the most talented people but they wouldn't spend the money on pictures but when I saw a very famous designers portfolio he spent a LOT of money on his photos and you could really see the difference.

    Unfortunately, in business whether it's design or standard business, entertainment, etc. 50% of it — is who you know and who you network with and occassionally others are recognized as they should be for their amazing talent.

    I love Kelly's hotel on the island …while I have liked her recent designs – they've gone a little 80's for me…this hotel was spectacular and while neutral she plays with texture and graphics better than any designer I have ever seen. Amazing.

    Here's hoping 2011 brings you lots of success 🙂

  12. Wonderful advice Maria, I always enjoy reading your tips and I think these 4 are bang on. Many success to you in this coming year,
    Nancy xo

  13. Wonderful advice Maria, I always enjoy reading your tips and I think these 4 are bang on. Many success to you in this coming year,
    Nancy xo

  14. * What an INTERESTING ARTICLE for those in the PROFESSIONAL FIELD of DESIGN/DECORATING, Maria… I really enjoyed it!!!

    Guess I'm the "lucky dumb one", as I don't even know how to use a computer properly/to it's best, let alone show my "amateur" work… I just know I ADORE it ALL and it's "my chocolate" (altho I DO eat it, too!)…

    I could read about n' look at photos of great design & decorating from dawn to sunset (and HAVE upon occassion!). And, I've "helped" many friends and that's ALWAYS FUN… buuuuuut often a little "frustrating", as I'm sure you and all the pros are well aware of!!!

    When I was "younger", I thought about making it my profession… alas, my HUSBAND'S profession didn't make that possible, even tho he was willing to sacrifice and was soooo very supportive… He has posed the question to me before, "Would it still be FUN if it was your BUSINESS?"… Interesting thought: I was only thinking about the FUN involved, not meeting del'y deadlines, working w/ people who don't know what they want, etc…

    So here I am and, as the saying goes, "fat(well, just a little "fluffy now!), dumb n' happy" just doing MY thing on OUR homes!

    ANYHOOOOO, this WAS really interesting, and I initially came by to thank you for the enjoyable & informative blog you've shared all year… I never miss a blog you post, and I SINCERELY THANK YOU!!!!!!

    New Years Hugs,
    Linda in AZ *
    [email protected]

  15. classic • casual • home

    Great post. I love your informative, helpful, intriguing writing style. I am going to become a follower!
    Mary Ann

  16. Hello, I'm new to your blog… following! and want to thank you for sharing your great tips!
    Wishing you a happy and exciting and succesful 2011!
    Kind regards, Carolyn

  17. I always enjoy all of your posts and learn so much from them, but this one is particularly brilliant! I am looking forward to implementing these tips in the coming year in hopes of joining you in the quest to get nationally published! "Cheers!" to us! Thanks for sharing your insights!

  18. Good post Maria! I might add to your list: persistence and "help" the editor see a unique angle to your "story". Not just another pretty room. I have been fortunate enough to be published many times nationally and while I like to think I am good at what I do:), I know is much more a testimony to my persistence and my marketing savvy. Sometimes it takes months or even years to get into a mag. Even after they have taken the shots!! I kid you not, my own kitchen was shot two yrs ago and just this upcoming march will you see it in Better Homes and Garden!! And even then, I will believe it when I see it on the stands!!! Designers do need to pay for quality photography , style it for the camera and not the eye and then " sell" it in a unique way if possible! I love your blog and wish you the best of everything in 2011!!!~~~~ Cheryl

  19. Great advice! I loved reading this post as getting published seems like such a mysterious thing. I think blogs are definitely changing that, though.

  20. Great post!!
    I am terrible at finding time to photograph and style. Yikes. This is officially my new years resolution!! Thanks for the advice. You are SO right! xoRH

  21. Great post!!
    I am terrible at finding time to photograph and style. Yikes. This is officially my new years resolution!! Thanks for the advice. You are SO right! xoRH