Monday, 2 September 2013

Slowly, Slowly, Catchy Monkey


I had one of those nice commissions on Friday afternoon: one that came out of the blue, when I least expected it. Except, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this was not completely out of the blue. I had done something to generate it.

The commission was from the editor of Outdoor Photography magazine, Steve Watkins, who wanted 650 words to accompany a couple of images I’d offered him several months ago for a specific slot within the magazine, called Viewpoints. (One of the photographs accompanies this blog.) Here, photographers send in images of places that would be of interest to other outdoor photographers, so they can visit those places and (hopefully) capture some awe-inspiring photos.

The Viewpoint section within the magazine comprises two 650-word pieces with accompanying photographs, and then there are also 8 smaller pieces, each with one photograph and 50 words. All ten of these submissions are provided by ten different photographers. So, it’s a great slot to target, because the editor is looking for ten different contributions every four weeks (yes, Outdoor Photography is published four-weekly, not monthly, so that’s 13 times a year, or 130 opportunities in this one section of the magazine every year!).

I’ve always liked this slot as a reader, and so I made a conscious decision to submit something to the editor for this slot on a regular basis. And this ploy has worked: the editor has used three of my photographs for the smaller 50-word slots over the last couple of years. However, last Friday’s commission was the first time I’ve been asked to do the bigger 650-word slot (which also pays considerably more!).

As a writer, the larger, 650-word, slot is the one I’ve always wanted, and as a photographer I prefer this slot because the photos are printed bigger than the other viewpoints. So, after making regular submissions over the past few years, I’ve been rewarded with the opportunity that I was looking for.

If there’s a slot, or a magazine, you’d like to see your words in, then, obviously, you need to submit something to it. However, if the first submission fails, don’t give up. Keep submitting. And if the editor uses your submission, but not in the way you’d thought, then go with it, and continue submitting for the slot you want. The editor will spot your tenacity and remember you for it.

Even though I’ve achieved the commission for the slot I was targeting, I shall continue making submissions to this slot in the future. After all, if I’ve done it once, I can do it again! So, make a commitment to submit regularly. It may take you several years but determination is a major ingredient in the recipe of success. And my commission would not have happened, if I hadn’t sent something off in the first place.

Good luck!

10 comments:

  1. Well done Simon! Another success story, and wonderful to hear its one you generated by doing something else.

    Beautiful capture.

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  2. I know this mag quite well but I've never submitted anything to it - or to any other photo-mag either. I'm never sure that my images are good enough really. Some day I will get round to submitting something. Being Outdoor Photography, it's not limited to landscapes is it; city scapes and street photography should be OK too - I hope - cos I can't walk to such sites where you got the image in your post here.

    Ron

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    1. You're right - it's not just landscapes, but cityscapes, flora and fauna too. But do send something off because you never know!

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  3. Well done, Simon - beautiful photo, by the way. Makes me want to pack my bags and go there -wherever it is! Just bought your short story book by the way! :)

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    1. The photos is in Snowdonia - near Beddgelert! And thanks for buying the sort story ebook too!

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  4. Another interesting outlet, Simon. Presumably this is aimed at the serious photographer and not those of us who take a decent photo for illustrative purposes yet rely on auto settings? It is quite surprising how many outlets of this type there are lurking in publications. Prima, Yours and the Guardian are all titles that have lots of small slots hidden amongst their pages.
    Ann

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    1. Outdoor Photography is aimed at the more experienced photographer. But then, whilst my photos do appear in magazines, books, and even calendars, I wouldn't classify myself as a professional photographer - just someone who enjoys taking photos, and thinks he has a rough idea of what he is doing!

      But you're right - there are loads of these small slots hidden about just waiting for people to make submissions. So what is everyone waiting for? ;-)

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  5. Thanks for encouraging us to continue in determination.

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