Thursday, May 26, 2016

The road to the magazine

A number of people have asked how the magazine feature came to be.  When I told them the backstory, many were surprised, in particular, by the timeline.  I worked in the magazine industry ages ago, so I kind of new it wouldn't be quick, but I was still a little surprised myself!

Here's how it went down:

October 2014 (Yes, 2014): I brought in a photographer, the very talented Melissa Oholendt, to photograph my house.  (That alone created a flurry of projects to "finish" the house.)  To find the right photographer I searched sites like Design Sponge for local home tours, then checked out the photo credits.  I loved Melissa's editorial framing and use of natural light, particularly in Emily Henderson's makeover of the Curbly house.

Our shoot was a one-day event, with me doing the prop styling and the flowers and a little art direction.  We shot everything with natural light which meant no light kits and a more minimal set up, so we could cover a lot.  Like EVERYTHING!  A few weeks later Melissa sent me a preview (below) and I about died.  Properly photographed, my house looked like it could be in a magazine!  This was a huge help to me--seeing it through someone else's lens gave me confidence.

Then I sat on the gorgeous photos figuring out what next.  I remembered this article from Sherry Hart, a veteran designer and (hysterically funny) blogger in Atlanta.  The blogging community is SO generous with information and advice!  In the article Sherry interviewed Lisa Mowry, the Atlanta editor for a number of shelter titles, and asked for tips on approaching magazines.  Based on Lisa's advice, I had my husband track down local writers/ contributing editors who worked with publications I thought would be a good fit for our house, and readied my pitch.

March 2015: I sent scouting shots and a list of "reader take away" ideas to the local writer.  She responded immediately and enthusiastically, and we set up a time for her to come by to see the house in person.  When she did, she brought her own camera to take additional images that illustrate how the rooms relate, to give editors a sense of where they could set up cameras.  Then she pitched two magazines we had agreed on, one regional and one national, which would give maximum coverage and would not be a conflict.

May 2015: I got an email from an editor at Mpls St. Paul Magazine, saying they were interested in featuring my home in their Home and Design magazine.  At the time, we talked about shooting within a few weeks for an upcoming issue.  After various emails with two editors over the course of maybe 2 months, we scheduled a shoot with one of their photographers.

July 2015:  The shoot!  Cancelled!  Due to illness.

August 2015: The shoot!  For real!  I did the flowers myself and much of the styling, so I didn't get much in the way of behind the scenes photos.  It was pretty amazing to see the computer set up--especially since my time working in commercial photography was just on the cusp of digital.  Most shoots I worked on still used real film, and we literally didn't know what we had until the photos were developed.

At the time of the shoot, the plan was to be in the March 2016 issue.

January 2016: Moved to the June issue!  Then August.  Then back to June.  I share this because it's so interesting when you think of the complexity of a magazine--it's like a puzzle and all the pieces need to fit.

March 2016: Kelly Kegans, the executive editor of the magazine and the writer for the story, sent me interview questions, some clarifying a bunch of stuff we talked about on the shoot, some new.  I put together a resource guide for paint colors and sources for items in my home (which is in the back of the magazine).

March 2016: I heard from an assistant editor at the national publication--a year after the initial pitch!  They wanted to know if I was still interested, and a feature is under consideration with them.  Fingers crossed!

April 2016: Kelly sent me the story (pretty much as it appears in the magazine) for fact checking

May 2016: It's out!

So all told, this piece was about 14 months from pitch to published.  There's so much that happens behind the scenes--and this is just from my point of view as the subject.

I'm thrilled with the piece and so appreciative that MSP magazine saw something in my home and was willing to put their resources into sharing it with the people of Minnesota.

Hop you enjoyed this little behind the scenes!

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