Getting Published — Is It Important?

By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO and Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Photo Credit: Katie Klein

The next best thing to experiencing great interior design is viewing images of great interior design. We all know those images don’t tell the whole story about the spaces we create. They may even give a false impression of the actual space, which may have been altered to make a more attractive photo. Yet, there’s no denying the impact they have on the public. They are essential for building and promoting your brand.

Designers today have many channels available to them to circulate images of their work—websites, blogs, online designer portfolios, and social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. So is it worth the time and trouble to try to get your work published in a book or magazine? I believe it is. Having your work validated by appearing in a commercial publication not only increases the chances it will be seen, it lends additional authority to your reputation as a talented, in-demand professional.

If your work has not been previously published, a good place to start is with a local or regional publication. This could be a home décor or lifestyle magazine, Sunday magazine supplement, or the Home section of a newspaper. For more experienced designers with a solid portfolio, a few noteworthy clients, and possibly some design awards, consider publication in a national design, home or lifestyle magazine.

For book publication, you have several options. There are both U.S. and foreign publishers who produce high quality interior design books. (A quick search of interior design books on Google or Amazon will show you which may be right for you.) Some feature the work of a particular designer with a distinct style; others focus on design trends, styles or rooms. You also have the option to self-publish, either through a so-called “vanity” press (whom you pay to produce your book) or using a do-it-yourself service like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Bear in mind that when you self-publish you have to do all the production and marketing of the book yourself or hire freelancers to produce it and a PR firm to promote it for you.

Sometimes publishers or editors will put out a call for certain types of projects they are seeking for an article or book. Usually, though, you will need to email an editor with a proposal. You can find information about how to contact the editor, the types of projects they are seeking, what their requirements are, and other details on the website for the magazine or publishing house. Never send images to or call an editor without first being asked. And be patient. It may take some time for an editor to get back to you. Don’t assume the editor is not interested if you don’t get a response right away.

A few other things to bear in mind if you are considering publishing your work. First, you need to have a strong portfolio of professional, high quality photos in high resolution digital format. Make sure you either own the copyright to the photos or have the photographer’s explicit permission to publish the photos in a print publication. (You may need to pay extra for the rights.) Remember, editors are always on the lookout for what is timely, new, exciting and unique. Be prepared to explain what makes your design different from the rest. Finally, unlike the internet, print publication is a long process, sometimes taking many months for a magazine and usually two to three years for a book.

Fortunately, designers no longer have to vie for limited print publication space to get their work in front of potential clients. Still, print publication carries a lot of prestige. It can pay big dividends if you have the images to get yourself noticed.

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