How to Strategize Submissions to Achieve Publishing Success

March 07, 2018


Photo: Unsplash

Just like arranging a bouquet, photographing an anniversary shoot, or planning a wedding, getting published is all about strategy. Each precious moment is calculated for optimal results and no tiny detail goes overlooked. Why should submitting albums for publication be any different?

Here are Two Bright Lights we give you the tools to get published, but it’s ultimately up to you where you submit your work. We want you to feel 100% confident when choosing a potential match for your work, and in doing so, achieve publication success. After all, confidence is gained when you have a concrete submission plan in mind. 

Here are some tips and tricks about to how to determine which publications are right for you:

     1. Get specific with how you would like to be published

Ask yourself a series questions:

  • Do I want to submit to an Exclusive or Non-exclusive?
  • Do I want my work featured in Print or Web (or both)?
  • Do I see my work being published in regional or national publications?
  • Should I submit to religion focused publications, or not?
  • What am I mostly shooting? Weddings, portraits, boudoir, engagements, family, party, lifestyle?
  • What is my photography style? (For example, dramatic, light and airy, film, high contrast, etc.)
  • What is the event's style? (For example, was it rustic, classic, glamorous, alternative, vintage, DIY, country, urban, etc?)

     2. Filter the results down

Taking all of your answers into consideration, use the TBL Community feature to narrow down ideal publications results. This can be located by heading to your account avatar in the upper righthand corner and clicking 'Community'. To locate specific publications choose filters that best apply or just do a simply keyword search, and then review each publisher’s profile pages to see if their desired editorial style, content categories, submission requirements and their portfolio are a good match.

     3. Do your research

Let's be real, it’s time consuming to research hundreds of publications. Having an understanding of each publication’s aesthetic and published features helps you to know if your work would fit with their overall vision. Once you’ve taken the time to review your publications of interest, your list should be narrowed down to around 20 publications. Our quick tip if you want to learn about these blogs on the fly is to scroll through publications’ Instagram and social media pages for a quick look and feel for their style.

      4. Make a list of your top blogs

Once you've done your research, it's time to submit. Of your list, a good rule of thumb is to have half of the publications looking for and publishing work that is aesthetically and conceptually like yours. The other half should consist of goal publications that you aspire to be published in. Take this process as a learning experience, we recommend starting off with non-exclusives and seeing which bite to better understand where your submissions work best. From there use this knowledge and move towards your reach publications and adjust your album content, story, and questionnaire to better fit these publications. 

     5. Submit, but manage your expectations

We'd be lying if we said that submitting for publication is always easy. It takes research, attention to detail, and time. When's the last time you got something perfect on the first try (and if you did, we're jealous of you!)? Take your submission experience in stride; you may be told yes every single time, you may get some yeses, some nos, and some 'On Hold's. Look at it as a learning experience and use rejection as a means to better curate and create your submissions.

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