Monday, May 14, 2012


Sometimes being a stubborn, thick skinned bugger pays off...

I have spent the last seventeen years submitting as many grant applications as I could manage (to be fair, it's more accurate to say the years from 1995-2010), and in that time I managed to get two funded. Two. Whole. Grants. Out of probably about 25 or 30. Not the best track record, right? But it has had a very welcome side effect: I take rejection really, really well.

This has served me quite well on the designing side of things. To date, my designing experience has gone something like this: come up with an idea, spend a few frantic weeks really excited about it and working up a prototype, get stuck, put design away for a while, eventually come back to it, finish prototype, write up pattern, hopefully get some test knitting done, submit, get rejected. Submit somewhere else, get rejected. Then maybe submit somewhere else, or self-publish, or sit on it for a while longer.

In the past few months, I've gotten two designs accepted for publication that had long histories of rejection. The first one I submitted to Interweave Knits (I like my rejection to come from the top, thankyouverymuch), then to a book, then to Knitty, then to the magazine that is publishing it this summer. The other upcoming design was first submitted to Sanguine Gryphon, then to one book, and then finally to yet another book that will be coming out next year with my pattern (hooray!). In both instances, it was a question of finding the right home. For both successful submissions, I sent the proposals in mainly on a whim, and lo and behold...

The take home message from all this? Well, if you're reading this, and you've been submitting designs (or you're thinking about submitting designs) and getting lots of "No thank you", take heart. First things first: don't take it personally or think they don't want your pattern becauses it sucks. It is far more likely that your pattern is just not what they're looking for at the moment. Then put the proposal away for a bit, and look at some other options. After a while (several weeks? A couple of months? You choose), you can take it back out and reevaluate - maybe you can improve your presentation a bit? A better swatch or FO photo? Revamp that proposal and send it back out. Because if you don't submit, you aren't giving the editors the opportunity to say yes. And that's the opportunity they need.

So, with brimming optimism on the design front, I'm putting out my tentative goals/schedule for the rest of 2012:

1) 2 proposals to Knittyspin for fall, May
2) self-published mitt pattern, June
3) shawl proposal to Knit Picks, June
4) lacy cardigan, self-publish (or to #5), August
5) shawl proposal to Twist Collective, September
6) Hats ebook, self-publish, November

Oy. Time to get cracking!


aquaphilic said...

You do know that there are only 12 months in a year, and we're in the 5th one, right?

I have learned, however, that I should never doubt the porpoise. Or the grand plans of the porpoise. Or the ability of the porpoise to do 20 things at once, all more than competently.

Mostly, I just miss the porpoise. You list should involve visiting Chicago, dummy.

Good luck, WH, if anyone can finish that list - it is you.

porpoise said...

What is maybe a bit unclear from that list is that a several of those items are only for proposals, not actually finished items/patterns. Which makes it a bit less insane - whipping up a proposal with a swatch takes infinitely less time then knitting a whole sweater.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! At least for now...

Carroll said...

Good for you.

Go, Porpoise, go!