3.12.2012

Marketing Mondays: Editorial Coverage, Part 2

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Part 1: Art Magazines

Beyond the Art Magazines

In last week’s Marketing Mondays I talked about the ways images of your art might be included in an art magazine. In this installment I’d like to broaden the scope. Let’s look at some options.
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Shelter Magazines
These are the magazines focusing on home, garden, cottage and apartment, whether urban or rustic, national or regional, high-tech or haimish. Usually it’s the decorator or architect who courts the editors, with the result that one of their projects gets featured. If your work is shown and identified, the visibility could lead to gallery or collector interest. Often, however, everything but the art gets identified. An example: The New York Magazine annual home issue last year. The cover showed a large painting over a mantel with some furniture on either side of it. The painting dominated the room and the magazine cover. The "On the cover" info on the inside page identified the architect and designer, the furnishings, and all the objects. Appallingly there was no mention of the painting or its artist.
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But  if your work is shown and identified, you never know what might result.
. A consultant in charge of securing 200 works for a new hotel might see and love your work, contact you, and buy out half your studio, or commission you for a project. (Make sure you're Google-able.)

. A dealer, seeing editorial interest in your work, may express interest in showing (or even representing) representing you.
. The magazine might be the guilty pleasure of a museum curator you've been trying to show your work to. Your name rings a bell as he's reading, the result of the postcards you've sent. You receive an email. You never know.

Editors from shelter magazines visit galleries and art fairs such as the SOFA (Sculptural Objects and Fine Art) Show looking for unique pieces to feature in the front of the book, magazine speak for the usually single-page articles leading up to the well, where the main multi-page stories are. Objects, art, artists—whatever and whomever strike an editor’s fancy could be featured.


If you’re interested in tossing your hat into this ring, find out who the editors are (look on the masthead) and put them on your postcard mailing list. If you think your work might appeal to the esthetic of a particular magazine, put a small selection of images together, much as you would for a gallery, and send them in the manner the magazine prefers to receive submissions. As with the art magazines, regional publications may offer an easier entrée.
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Women’s Magazines
While most of these glossies focus on high-priced fashion, impossibly thin models, celebrity features, and beauty tips, they may also do
front-of-the-book stories on "real women," the idea being to balance the unattainable with the reasonably achievable. Sometimes artists are among those inspirational real women. If you feel you are doing something of interest to the readers of that magazine, contact the features editor; you’ll find her/his name on the masthead. Your work could be seen by millions of readers. But know that unless the readership is interested in art—and in your work specifically—nothing may come of it.
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My work was featured in just such a magazine a few years ago (I used to work with one of the editors on a different publication.) There was a nice little interview and a half-page image of my work. Michelle Obama was on the cover that issue. While it makes a great tear sheet, I have to be honest and say that the visibility led nowhere professionally. First I got an email from a professional woman on the West Coast complimenting me on the work. She loved the painting…and…and…and…would I be willing to donate it to an auction she runs to support women in need? Madam, that painting took me three months to create. I appreciate the plight of women in need, but surely you see the irony here. I also heard from an art dealer in a town so small it was off a county road. You may have a different experience. Beyoncé may see your work in Vogue and commission you to do something enormous for her next penthouse.
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Regional Magazines
Regional or city magazines may be interested in the achievements of an artist in the area of its readership. Here, the inclusion could be immediately helpful. Sales aside, if you are looking for regional representation, or a teaching job, a feature in such a magazine provides an ideal platform for visibility and credibility--to say nothing of the kvell factor for your family. If you're already represented, a feature gives your gallery something to send to clients who have expressed interest in your work.

It helps to have an angle. Do you have an upcoming solo? Are you giving a talk somewhere? Editors like to peg the story to an event their readers can access. Both regional and national magazines have a two- or three-month lead time, so if you want to be timely, plan ahead. Contact the editor in chief (or the features editor), and make sure the editors are on your postcard mailing list.

Another consideration: Newspapers, particularly the Sunday magazine section, typically includes a home or style feature each week. This is where you see art in context. It's also where writers, who may be knowledgeable about furniture and home accessories, are attempting to write about art. If the picture is good, don't sweat the copy, which is likely to be brief. Or perhaps they would be interested in a feature about you and your work. Since such a story may be assigned to a general-assignment reporter, or maybe a cultural reporter who is more familiar with music or dance, be clear during the visit/interview about who you are and what you're doing, and send the reporter off with a small packet of supporting materials. If you're a sculptor who works with clay, for instance, identify yourself that way lest you be defined as a "clay artist" or a "potter." (Nothing wrong with those terms if they are how you identify yourself.)


Find out who the editors and writers of the weekly magazine sections are and put them on your mailing list. A Sunday magazine is a weekly publication, which means that the editor and writers have a lot of pages to fill in the course of a year.

One thing to bear in mind about publishing in general is that the masthead changes frequently, so update your mailing list every six months..

Special-interest Magazines
Magazines in this category embrace a range of topics, and art isn't one of them--gardening, mechanics, yoga, parenting, you name it. Still, most magazines include artwork in their pages. If you’re early in your career, having your work featured prominently on a page or a spread can be a nice visual boost, but it's unusual for anything to come of it. A couple of examples: My work was featured prominently in two sequential issues of a mind-body magazine. The work looked great. One month it was a two-page spread, which looked really impressive, if I say so myself. I was credited, the gallery was credited. Nothing. Happened. Whatsoever. Not an email query, not a phone call. Zip.  But I didn't have to do anything except send in images at the request of the editor (via my dealer) and the tear sheets have served me well as supporting material.
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More recently the design director of an Italian American academic publisher expressed interest in using my work for the covers of her various projects. I knew these covers wouldn't make a ripple in the art world. But I like being part of something of personal interest to me, so seeing my work on the glossy cover of a bolletino--a newsletter--and more recently on the glossy paperback cover of a digest of Italian-American literature, brought me pleasure. There was even an honorarium for the use of the work.
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My only stipulation was that the image not be altered. I learned the hard way to ask for this. Some years ago, the publisher of a feminist book company invited me to submit images of my paintings for consideration as a book cover. One was chosen. “The cover looks great,” said the publisher over the phone. (This was before PDFs and email.) When I received the book I almost passed out from the shock. The designer had cut up the image and turned it into a mosaic.
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What are your experiences in the world of magazine publishing?

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3 comments:

Louise P. Sloane said...

Hi. I think that if artists are producing compelling imagery and they have an accessible and easy to navigate website, they will be contacted for inclusion in many articles. After launching my current website about 3 years ago, I have been contacted from several international publications requesting permission to include images in various articles. I have always been given credit. Personally, I feel that any media which is putting more eyes on my work is good exposure.

Christine Sauer said...

I had a serendipitous experience in June 2011 with a magazine that has been helpful to me in many ways. A writer for a local magazine, New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles, contacted me out of the blue for an interview for their regular Artist Profile series. He had seen my website and noticed that I had a show coming up at one of his favorite galleries. I met with him for an hour, then the magazine sent a photographer who took lots of pics of me and my work. He wrote a very nice article that was published a week after my opening. The timing couldn't have been better. I am reentering the art scene after a very long hiatus so this was great for getting my name out there. I have been using the article for support materials,a link on my website and the author allowed me to quote him in a catalog that I just created about my work with the help of a grant. Though no sales have come as of yet I am still thankful for the publicity and grateful to have the article to help promote my work.

donna said...

This is timely for me, because a consultant who facilitated a sale of my work just sent me an article showing the collectors' home. She gave them my information but they didn't publish it in the article, which was about the designer. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has had that experience. But my work looked great in that room so I saved some photos to send to people.