Tips for Getting Pages Published

Much of Creating Keepsakes content is reader-submitted. To better understand the guidlines we use in selecting reader pages, we've put together this list of tips.(Bear in mind that none of these are hard and fast rules, but in many cases they are the factors that make the difference between a good page and a publishable page.)

Use color photographs. Sometimes people may be trying to be artsy, or perhaps they think that the paper is too busy or doesn't match. But living color is beautiful and real. Says Associate Writer Lori Fairbanks, "In my opinion, color photos look better 95% of the time." Do we publish layouts with black and white photos? Yes. Yet we frequently ask contributors to replace b/w pics with color ones.

Use multiple photographs on a page. If you check our magazine, you'll notice that we do publish single-photo layouts. But the vast majority include more than one picture. We often go back to people and ask them to add more photos. Many of our readers like to get more on a page, so we try to show you how to do that effectively. (One note: our cover layouts will almost always use only one photo, just because it's more attention-grabbing on the newsstand.)

Include journaling. A darling photo (or several) with beautiful embellishments and the title Sweet Baby may be visually appealing, but without journaling it isn't very meaningful. Say SOMETHING. The date, the occasion, the emotions the photo(s) evoke-something is always better than nothing. Take it from Associate Editor Joannie McBride, "Pages that have journaling on them allow me to feel like I am getting the whole story." 

Keep it fresh. Be sure that you are checking out online galleries (like the one on our CK website) and looking carefully at the projects in our magazine. Try to employ cool techniques and unusual takes to stand out from the crowd. You don't have to use the newest products, as long as how you showcase them is interesting. However we are looking for pages that don't look outdated. While old paper is perfect for a scrapbook, we tend to focus on new and fashion-forward looks, which usually means using the latest products.

Be yourself. Know the trends, but make them your own. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it right for you. If every layout we receive has the same embellishments or type of embellishments because it's super trendy, they will all look the same to us, so doing something innovative and unique will help a page stand out.

Create double-page spreads. We definitely publish one-pagers, but we do look for spreads, since many of our readers prefer them, and we seem to get fewer usable two-page submissions.

Make sure your title and journaling are legible. We can't show layouts at full size in the magazine, so it's important that the font and color choices you make allow the words to be read easily. If you use your own handwriting, make sure it's neat and straight.

Proofread. We know you're not handing this project in to your English teacher, but if it's going to be in a magazine, it needs to be correct. Check your spelling thoroughly.

Utilize good design principles. We examine layouts carefully for unity, balance, color sense, etc. If these terms are foreign to you, bone up! Make sure that your design is clean. You can have a messy style but still have clean design.

Understand visual hierarchy.  One of the main ways to achieve clean design is by observing the visual hierarchy. Take care that the title and photos aren't overwhelmed by embellishments that are too bright or large. Inattention to visual hierarchy is one of our most common reasons for passing on a page.

Choose the best photographs. We tend not to be drawn to layouts that have several different pictures from the same occasion of the same person in slightly different shots. Pick only the most engaging ones, and put the rest in a simple photo album. And apart from varying the subject matter, make sure they're not too dark or too cluttered or too far away. Again, the image will be shrunk down somewhat in the magazine, so simple and clear is best.

Reach for the "it" factor. "Maybe it's a cool technique, or a striking color palette, or unique/cool/beautiful accents," says Lori-that's what separates your page from the rest.

Inspire us. We're scrapbookers, too. Make us wish we had thought of it first! When Assistant Editor, Joannie McBride, opens your submission, she asks herself, "Does the page inspire me? Does it make me happy? Would I recreate the page?"

We hope these tips give you a little peek inside our process, and if it is your desire to get published, perhaps we've given you some valuable concepts to consider. If we haven't covered something you've wondered about, let us know. Check here for our current page calls, or direct general submissions to our attention at



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Thank you!
Thank you so much for all the great tips! There is so much information that I'm going to read several times to make sure that I haven't missed anything :-)
This was excellent!
I am an outline sort of person and I appreciate the concise and specific directions for submission. Because I know the guidelines,
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