Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paying Markets for Knitting Patterns

Getting a knitting pattern published is akin to getting a non-fiction book published. Rather than writing the whole thing beforehand, you put together a submission that gives the publisher a pretty good idea of what the finished product will look like, submit the thing to your first choice, wait what seems an inordinate amount of time to hear of your acceptance or (more probably) rejection, sigh and move on to the next one. And the marketplace is choked with publishers, some sketchier than others, who pop up and fold like so many back-room games of Texas Hold 'Em, and the compensation is peanuts compared to, say, cashiering or babysitting, yet there are still somehow more wannabe writers than the publishers can possibly publish.

To recap: Long odds, low rewards, drawn out over months and even years for just one pattern. Tell me again why I'm doing this?

But, as promised, here's a peek at what my efforts to get published look like. For the purposes of choosing where to submit what, I have assembled a little list compiled from various Internet sources. It's not comprehensive and I only have the Internet's word for it about some of the specifics, but I've done my best to double-check what information there is. I have only included paying markets on this list. (If I needed "exposure" I'd go hiking in December without my coat on.)

("Yarn Support", if you're unfamiliar with the term, means that the publisher will provide you with the yarn to knit the project. Since yarn can get pricey, this is a major consideration.)

Knit Picks
Compensation: $50-200 advance; 100% of pattern sales after advance earns out
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Rolling deadline

Compensation: $75-100; designer retains copyright
Yarn Support: Sometimes
Next Deadline: June 1, 2011 for Deep Fall 2011 issue
Details: "For Deep Fall, think about the most perfect sweater you can imagine: now design it. Texture makes Deep Fall garments stand out, and we love strong, vibrant colors for fall. Colorwork is also very welcome, especially if it's colorwork that looks harder to execute than it actually is. Cardigans, jackets, outer layers of all description -- that's what we want for this issue. Remember: we don't do novelty yarn, and we rarely publish children's garments or accessories, unless they're exceptionally clever or unique. For the best chance of being published, submit your designs for men's or women's sweaters."

Compensation: $50-$75 USD. All rights revert to designers after next issue goes live.
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Proposals due June 6th, 2011; Patterns due August 10th, 2011
Details: Holiday Gifts Issue: Accessories and small projects perfect for giving.

Petite Purls
Compensation: $50; designer retains copyright
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Proposals due May 16, 2011; Patterns due July 11, 2011 for Fall 2011 issue
Details: Petite Purls is a magazine that specializes in baby and children's knitting patterns. Fall 2011 will be all about cold weather garments: sweaters, sweater coats, vests. Big and bulky, everything to keep the kiddies warm.

The Sanguine Gryphon
Compensation: 50% of all pattern sales, paid quarterly via Paypal or check. Sample garments will be returned to the designer. Sanguine Gryphon retains exclusive publication rights for the duration of the contract (usually 3 years).
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Fall 2011 just passed; eagerly waiting to see Winter. I love their themes. (Steampunk! Film Noir! Art Noveau!)

Twist Collective
Compensation: A percentage of pattern sales
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Winter 2011 just passed; waiting for Spring 2012

Compensation: An unspecified "flat rate".
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Proposals due May 20, 2011; Patterns due September 2, 2011
Details: Themes for Spring 2012: Where the Streets Have No Name, Sleek Batik, Insert Here, Duplicate Stitch

Interweave Knits
Compensation: Flat rate for one-time use as well as royalties if you elect to participate in their "designer’s choice" program
Yarn Support: Yes
Next Deadline: Winter 2011 just passed; waiting for Spring 2012 guidelines.

Knitting Today!
Compensation: ???
Yarn Support: ???
Next Deadline: Proposals due July 1, 2011, for Dec 2011/Jan 2012 issue.
Details: Dec 2011/Jan 2012 themes: Gift Guide, Fair Isle, Socks, Holiday Decor

Creative Knitting
Compensation: ???
Yarn Support: ???
Next Deadline: Proposals due June 2, 2011; Patterns due July 28, 2011, for March 2012 issue
Details: March is National Craft Month, and it’s a great time to explore new techniques that can be applied to a variety of projects, such as pillows, throw rugs, kitchen sets, table runners, totes, yoga bags, baby play mats and blankets. Add depth to your creations by including embellishments, such as: duplicate stitch, beading, embroidery, appliqué, needle felting, tassels and fringe.

Vogue Knitting / Knit Simple / Knit.1
Compensation: ???
Yarn Support: ???
Next Deadline: Appears from their website as though it's a rolling deadline.

I have a calendar where I've marked down the deadlines for these publishers as they become available. When I'm ready to begin a new project, I compare my design notebook (you have one, right?) with the submission guidelines of the publishers who have deadlines in the next month or so, and try to find the best match for the best pay (which in some cases is a big question mark, since publishers and published designers alike tend to be coy about that sort of thing, which is 1. Not Cute and 2. why those publishers are at the bottom of my list, but I digress). I think I'll stop there for now; more on the process in another post.

Do you keep a design notebook? A calendar? Got any paying markets to add to the list? Speak up in the comments!

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