September 9, 2010

Q and A with Megan Hoeppner!

I'm interrupting the regularly scheduled blog posts to share a bit from this month's guest designer and Creating Keepsakes editor, Ms. Megan Hoeppner. You might remember that a couple weeks ago I had posted this thread on the message boards asking for some questions you'd like Megan to answer. Well, I emailed those questions on to Megan and she very graciously answered them all with plently of detail and specifics! :) Get ready to be inspired to start submitting....

1. Is there ever one specification you always look for in every page to be published? One thing all pubbed pages MUST have? Actually, no. There are so many factors that go into the decisions behind each page we publish. And while we have general things we look for, there are always exceptions to every rule depending on our specific needs.

2. As someone who is crazy about scrapbooking, has previous magazine-writing experience and whose dream is to contribute to Creating Keepsakes one day, how might I be able to write for the magazine in the future? What would I need to do?
Our articles are generally written by either our in-house staff of editors or by our amazing group of contributing writers, but this doesn’t mean we don’t also take proposals by those passionate and creative folks outside of the Creating Keepsakes editorial staff. The best way to propose an article idea is to send us an e-mail, which outlines the idea and how it would benefit our audience. If you have layouts completed that you’ve done to help support your idea, you’re welcome to send those along with your outline. And if you have a previous writing sample or two to include, it would help to also include that. We always appreciate fresh ideas and love seeing what others come up with. If you have something to share, please send the aforementioned information to with “Article Idea” in the subject line.

3. According to your bio, you began at SU. What made you take the leap into the magazine world?
Yes, I started my full-time professional life in the public relations department at Stampin’ Up! (Talk about an amazing out-of-college job!) In that position, I had the pleasure of working with members of the media all over the world, including the lovely ladies and gents at what was then Primedia (Paper Crafts, Simple Scrapbooks, and Creating Keepsakes magazines). After a few years of working for SU!, one of the magazine editors mentioned that there was a job opening with Paper Crafts magazine. I had always been interested in the magazine world and decided to look into that opening further. As much as I LOVED my job at SU!, I decided to jump on the chance to broaden my skills and learn new things. The journey has been a wonderful one, and I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made to grow and experience the many different aspects of the communications field!

4. What is your favorite column in CK and why?
Wow! You know how to ask the tough questions. Do I really have to pick a single favorite? If so, I suppose I’d have to be selfish and pick “Creative Spaces.” (Is it lame to select a column I also write? Maybe a little.) This is my personal favorite because I’m always impressed and inspired by how others choose to organize their crafty surroundings. I love seeing how different scrapbookers live their creative lives, and I’m always so blown away by the clever and innovative ways people find to store their ever-growing scrap stashes.

5. What sections of the magazine are most "open" to publishing regular submissions each month?
A great entry point into our magazine is our “Reader Gallery” column, which aims to showcase our wonderful readers. But we love publishing what we call “Fresh Faces” in all areas of the magazine, so we hope people will submit to any of our open calls that inspire them. You can find all of our open calls on our blog under the “Submit” tab, along with instructions on how to go about sending your work in and helpful submission pointers.

6. What percentage of the magazine is already filled by regular contributors/designers?
I don’t know if we have an exact percentage, but we do have a talented group of Creating Keepsakes designers (our Dream Team and Contributing Writers) who are given a spot in each issue, and there are a few of our in-house staff editors, myself included, who create for each issue as well. Between our editors, our contributing writers, and our Dream Team members, we know we’ll have at least 17 spots filled. BUT we publish more than 150 unique projects and tips in each issue, so there are plenty of spots remaining for other scrapbooking talent to help us fill our pages, whether they’re submitting layouts, cool techniques, or other creative projects. And it’s a high priority of ours to ensure we’re offering a balance of styles and designs in each issue, so we’re always looking for unique people and ideas to include. In other words, we hope readers will submit, as we love seeing what they’ve got up those creative sleeves of theirs.

7. How do you prefer layouts to be submitted? What pixel size is "ideal"? Do you want them in the body of the email or as an attachment? Do you want a supply list with the submission?
You can find great information on what we’re looking for when it comes to submissions in our online article “Tips for Getting Published.” As far as how pages are submitted, we prefer e-mail to regular mail, and low-resolution attachments are usually easiest. But if you’re only able to send a page in the body of message, please don’t feel like you can’t do that. Either way works for us.

8. Do you want any tips/tricks listed in the submission email if it's not specific to the call?
Absolutely! If there are tips or techniques about the page that you feel are worth mentioning, we’d very much appreciate you pointing those out with your submission. And we also ask that you include a supply list and layout-measurement information with your submission.

9. Do you lack more single page layouts or double page layouts when you're trying to fill in holes?
This is a great question! We always get more single page submissions, but our readers have let us know that they prefer two-page spreads with multiple photos. With that knowledge, we make a great effort to include these in our issues. We include a good amount of both layout styles in the magazine, but we do find we’re more in need of the two-pagers, so if you have them, we hope you’ll send them. :)

10. How important is it to keep the pages simple?
Clean and simple designs definitely speak to our readers, but we don’t aim to publish them exclusively. We also like to include collage-y pages, whimsical designs, shabby chic styles, technique-heavy creations, and more! I think it’s safe to say we publish more pages on the simple side than anything else, but your page not being simple isn’t a deal breaker.

11. Do you prefer layouts with more than one photo?
Unless a project calls for single-page photos specifically, we prefer to publish multi-photo layouts, as our reader research shows that’s what our audience is the most interested in seeing.

12. If I submit a page for general and it doesn't get a call back for it, and a few months later, a call comes out that it would be perfect for, should I resubmit? or is that just too repetitive?
You bet you should resubmit. There are SO many things that go into selecting each and every layout we publish. And what may not work for one issue may be just what we need for a future issue.

13. Why does your publication give priority to two page layouts?
Responding to our readers wants and requests is our top priority, and the large majority of our audience has indicated that two-page layouts are the style they prefer.

14. Will you be getting a journaling columnist again?
We know that journaling is a key piece to just about any layout. In fact, we often push back and ask designers to include journaling on their pages (where they may have submitted a design without it). With the importance of journaling, I can say that we include journaling and/or storytelling features in each of our issues. In addition, we will continue with our “Journaling Solutions” column in 2011.

15. Could you walk us through the selection process from the time a submission is received via email to when an actual page request is made?
I’d love to! It all starts with member of our team posting our specific page calls on our blog. From there, we will monitor our submission’s in-box and flag any layouts we feel meet our article’s criteria. After a while, we hold a submission review meeting, where each editor brings their layout options to the table…well, to the wall, actually, as we hang all of our submissions on the wall together to see how everything fits together. During that meeting, Jennafer Martin (or editor-in-chief) and I will meet with each editor and review each and every layout option being submitted. From there, we select what will go into the issue, and our editors will then go back and let the designers we’ve selected know that we want to use their pages. Page requests usually come via e-mail, but we have been known to call people about their pages (or ideas) if we’re unable to reach them by e-mail. The entire process generally takes a little over three weeks, from the time our calls are posted to the time e-mails go out.

Nicole, since we’re on the awesome topic of submitting, I’d also like to give you a little sneak peek information. We have an article coming out in our Oct. 2010 issue, which provides helpful hints on getting your layouts published. The article is called “Ten Tips to Get Published in Creating Keepsakes,” and it can be found on page 87. It includes visual examples of what works, and we hope our readers will find it helpful and informative!

Thanks so much for this opportunity to share information on our magazine processes. I hope your brilliant Studio Calico crowd will begin submitting. :)


I so appreciate the time and effort she put into her answers. Thank you so much, Megan! Now girls... get those pages ready for submission!!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your time Megan! ... I truly appreciate all the answers!

*reyanna klein* said...

Thank you SO much for the time and effort you put into this, Megan! It was so fun to read. I loved the "walking through" process too, as I love to know how things work behind the scenes. LOL.

(And Creative Spaces is also my favorite section in the mag! :-D )

Megan said...

You're very welcome, my friends. Thank YOU for showing such interest in what we do. And thank you for so warmly welcoming me into your happy community!

mcclar26 said...

Awesome Megan!! Thanks for the tips!! I hope you will see my pages someday as possible options for publishing. Thanks for your time and have a GREAT WEEKEND!!
Larissa Heskett

Heather Innusa said...

Wow! Great questions AND answers!! We really appreciate you being so open and through Megan!! CK rocks & thanks SC for hooking us up ;).

april said...

megan is one class act! and one of the sweetest people ever. thanks so much!

Irene at said...

Thank you for this helpful Q&A! I linked to it from today's scrapbooking news article at :) Have a wonderful Wednesday!