I mentioned in my last post about some upcoming knits I will have in various publications, and I thought it might be interesting for you to read how the whole process of knitting pattern publication works. I really had no idea of how it all worked when I started; I just wanted to publish a pattern of my own as a sort of personal challenge.
I wrote up a really simple pattern, took some photos with my mobile phone, and put the whole lot together in Microsoft Word. I converted it to a pdf, and uploaded it to Ravelry, the website which to this day remains a major knitting and crochet hub. I actually learned quite a lot from the process, even though it was met with great indifference from the knitting public!! (I was very grateful for this a little later, when I realised that the pattern actually had a mistake in it, and I was able to fix it before anyone bought it!)
However, that was self-publishing, and getting published in a magazine is a much more professional process. Most publications announce when they are seeking submissions for upcoming issues. You can join their email lists to receive their submission emails, follow them on social media, or keep an eye on the Designers Forum on the website I mentioned earlier, Ravelry. Anyone can join this forum, and a lot of publications announce here when they are seeking submissions, along with some information about what exactly they would like (e.g. 3-4 accessory patterns, sweaters only, crochet amigurumi, etc.) - often they have mood boards on Pinterest to steer designers towards what they are seeking. Some have unique forms which you must fill in to submit your design, and others would like you to put together a one or two page pdf of your submission.
I am far from an expert in this field, but usually a submission must have a drawing of the final design, a knitted sample in a yarn which would work well with the design (bear in mind that a magazine will often provide you with the yarn they want the pattern worked in, so you cannot be too prescriptive in the yarn the design should be worked in), a paragraph about your design, and a paragraph about yourself and perhaps some information about your previous (if any) work, and your social media. It's interesting how some designs are a perfect fit for certain publications, and others might be turned down by several, and eventually find a home. I usually only submit a design a few times (and NEVER at the same time - it would be disastrous if a few publications wanted it exclusively at the same time!), because I usually want a pattern out in the world if all the prep work has been done on it. I usually self-publish a pattern if a publisher is not interested, and sometimes self-publish if the pattern is ready 'out-of-season' - since publishers are always looking to future issues, they might be issuing calls for summer knits this time of year, and looking for Christmas patterns in February.
I'm wary of making this post too long, so perhaps I will write in my next one about what happens if your design is accepted. If it's not accepted, you can always submit it somewhere else, develop it some more yourself, or publish it yourself on several websites. I publish on Ravelry, Etsy, LoveCrafts and Makerist, as well as on my own website, right here. Each of the other websites takes a little fee when a pattern is bought through them, which is something to bear in mind when you are pricing your work (which is a really big topic on its own!)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate it, and don't forget you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter right at the bottom of this page : )