I decided to begin self-publishing my knitting patterns in 2008. I made the decision because my simple pattern didn’t seem polished or important enough to pitch to a magazine or website. Are you trying to decide whether to self-publish or pitch your knitting patterns to commercial publications? Which decision is right for you as a designer?
The process of putting together a knitting pattern, having it tested, tech edited, and eventually prepared for publication can be a long one. However, it can take even longer if you choose to pitch your pattern to a commercial publication in print or online. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. However, as an instant gratification kind of a knitter and designer, the longer process is a drawback for me.
Monetary compensation for self-published and commercially published knitting and crochet patterns can vary greatly. It’s possible to self-publish a pattern and make nothing, or to bring in thousands of dollars. Alternately, you could sell a pattern to a magazine that ends up knit by thousands of knitters, or one that doesn’t get much traction in the knitting or crochet community. If you are driven by a monetary goal, that’s something to consider when deciding whether or not to self-publish.
As a designer that publishes primarily through the self-publishing channel, the exposure I’ll receive isn’t likely to be as widespread as if I were publishing on popular websites or in print magazines. That doesn’t mean that you don’t receive exposure by self-publishing; it just means that you need to work on it (see the promotion section below).
When you choose to self-publish, it’s essential that you promote and advertise. If not, your work will easily be lost in the sea of self-published and commercially published patterns.
There’s a lot of competition in the knitwear design market. There are over 228,000 patterns in the Ravelry database. Many are for sale or download directly from this popular social networking website for all things yarny. This means that your pattern will have plenty of competition no matter how you publish.
Print and online publications will have their own standards for patterns. For instance, popular online magazine “Knitty” requires the use of their standard abbreviations, sketches, gauge swatches, digital photos, and particular sizes to be included with men and women’s garments based on Craft Yarn Council requirements. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements for each publication you submit proposals to. Many of these should be followed for many self-published patterns as well.
There are definitely pros and cons to both self-publishing and commercially publishing your knitting or crochet patterns. Whichever method you choose, be open-minded to other options and don’t close any windows or doors along the way.
Read more by this contributor:
5 books every knitter should own
Perfect summer knitting projects
Basics of knitwear design