Friday, March 15, 2013

Fame or Fortune

As I get asked and because I have to deal with it I may rant a little you have been warned.

To publish or not to publish is the question.

Do you send your designs to a magazine to be published?

This is what I've learned.

If you're starting out and want to get your name known it's a good thing to do BUT be fully aware of what you're getting yourself into.

If you don't mind waiting eons to get paid for your work.
You won't get paid for at least 6 months and you won't make anywhere near the money you could have selling it in your own online store.

If it doesn't worry you that some website (biser) will scan your project straight from the magazine and put it up for free to the world, essentially stealing any revenue you might make after you get your rights back from the magazine. And don't expect the magazine to care. They probably won't help you, they made their money and they will not lift a finger to help you protect your copyright.  I write with experience of this with Beadwork magazine and my  Gothic Butterfly design.

If you don't mind having people teach your project and not even paying you a license fee.  Why should they take the time and put the effort in to do all that work when they can just use yours? Is that right? Do you sign a contract that allows people to do that? I certainly didn't and was very surprised to read a line in Interweave's booklet "Knowing Your Rights: Copyright 101 for beaders" that says as long as all students purchase a legitimate copy of a tutorial anyone can teach it. WRONG!  I discovered this when someone told me they were taking my I wasn't teaching!  So, if you plan to make income from teaching the design you submit to a magazine be aware some bead store who sells the magazine may be teaching that class without your knowledge....and so that's some income gone.

If you've copied someone else's design and want a magazine to back up your claim to the design....they only care that you sign a contract claiming it as your design...not if it's actually yours, they aren't going to check and if the actual designer claims it...hey, they're protected they have a signed contract. Of course this means you are a corrupt individual too and you better be prepared to be sued or have your name be dirt in the beading community.

If these things worry you or cause you stress, if you feel that you're the one who should be making the money from your hard work.....because it will eat you alive.

If you are willing to advertise yourself through social media and believe your work will get the recognition on it's own merits.

It's very flattering to have a magazine or publisher want your work and it does mean something. It means that your work is so good other people know they can make money from you or you wouldn't be hearing from them...and if they know that then it's also true that you can make the money on your own.

Also if you want some name recognition without having to sign your work away you can always submit pictures of your work to be published in other people's books....appearing in the gallery of someone else's book or in a beadwork collection book are good alternatives.

I get asked about this stuff a lot and this is my opinion on it, yours may differ.
I used to dream of having a publisher want to have me write a book, I no longer have that's not financially viable for me right now. Also I confess to being a bit of a control freak...I write my tutorials very thoroughly with large illustrations and they usually have a LOT of pages for each design, this isn't the most desirable thing for most publishers.

It's your choice....just be informed :)


  1. Wow! Thanks for writing this! I had NO IDEA, this Gothic bracelet was your original design, I had found its tutorial for free on biser a year ago or so and I had saved it intending to make it someday. I'd be upset if it was mine! Now I know I will feel bad making it knowing it was a stolen pattern.

  2. Yes Naan, pretty much anything on Biser is stolen work. They just decide to scan in the pages of the magazine....completely that they can sell advertising on their site. And the magazine doesn't care...they made their money, they don't have the rights to the design anymore so they wont put any money/time into getting Biser shut down. I include the instructions for the Gothic Butterfly in my Urchin Wings tutorial in my store :)

  3. Mikki, your words are so true.
    also true: your tutorial instructions provide much more thorough explanations, drawings and instructions than the space of that article allowed you to provide.
    I love this design and will always know it is your design.

  4. Thanks. The magazines pay by the page so cutting things down....blending illustrations as they did with Gothic save space doesn't always work for the project. I posted the illustrations they blended on this blog simply because I was inundated with people confused by their blend. And answering all those e-mails took time I didn't get paid for. All things to be considered before you submit your designs.

  5. Mikki I'm sorry that you had to go through this.I also love your Gothic butterfly which I made for myself only and not planning to do anything else with it and I have to tell you I LOVE IT. I also got the pattern from biser.
    This magazine thing made me think. I thought those people at the magazine just like us and love beads and crazy about making them to a jewelry but now I am ashamed of myself being so very naive. Obviously they are there only for the money.
    If they would not get any pattern there would be no magazine!!

  6. It makes me so sad when I hear that Amy, please boycott biser. I'm glad you read my blog so that you can be informed about some of the workings of the bead world.
    The truth is money makes the world go around, we all need it. The thing that irks me with the magazines is they tell you all kinds of stuff and even have you sign contracts that tell you your copyright is protected when they know it's a load of BS and they have no intention of following through if your rights are violated.

    Why do they use independent designers? Because they don't have to pay them a weekly wage, or health insurance, or vacation pay, etc. They could hire designers, like a regular job, but why should they go to that expense when they can basically get what they need for peanuts??

  7. Absolute truth, Mikki

  8. All great things to think about. Thanks for sharing this, Mikki!

  9. I've heard, too, that they really don't pay all that much for one's tutorial. I've heard figures of only $40 which is far too little for all the work involved in my opinion.

  10. I was paid more than that but still nothing compared to what I can make selling it myself and certainly not enough for the work involved. Basically you can look at it this way....what would the advertising cost you? Then you can add up your time cost plus supply cost plus sales loss and see if you're plus or minus in the money department. That's really the only way to figure out if it's worth it to you.

  11. Thank you for sharing your insights. I didn't know that a design written in a magazine can (could?) be teached in a bead shop or elsewhere by others without your consent. How horrible.

    It also comforts me to see that I am not the only one having been fooled by that horrible website, Biser, in the past. Now when I come along a design hosted there, I am wondering who might actually be the real designer... I don't have time to check the designs made by others. I only know what I see in my newsfeed on Facebook.
    What I'm sure of is that what I call my own really is my own design. If I make something another designer made before, either I don't know it, or I give credit.

  12. Thanks for writing this. Our local bead store is so bad about teaching without permission. I didn't know about the magazine part as they say if it is in the magazine it can be taught.
    Your patterns and directions are great and well worth the price you ask for them.


Thanks for commenting :) I don't care for moderated comments but due to people posting ads in the comments section I've been forced to add this function.