All in Jamie

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers (and if we don’t, we’ll find the person who does).

We get lots of questions sent to the Paper Darts inbox and we’ll be answering the most frequent or interesting questions in this “Ask Paper Darts” column. Do you have questions about the publishing industry, creating a magazine, making it as freelance creatives, or what it’s like to eat CAP’N CRUNCH for every meal? Shoot ‘em our way:

So to start us off, here’s a recent question:


Hey PD,


I’m never sure how long to wait before following up about a submission (or if I should even do that). I feel pesky emailing editors to ask about the status of my submission, but after waiting and waiting…I just want to know! Any guidance?




Waiting for Godot

1. What are three key things a freelance photographer should do to turn the gig into an actual business?
I think the transition from freelance to professional is different for each person. I was lucky/unlucky enough to lose my job a year and a half ago, which sort of forced me to go full time. If you are gainfully employed, however, there are a few things that I think will be helpful for a slower transition.


Be brave.
Talk to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE that you know about what you do. Yes, some people will not find this interesting, but forget about them. Forget about anything negative that you hear, and anything that sneaks into your brain. It sounds cheesy to say that you should believe in yourself, but that is truly the most important thing. Be brave enough to believe that you can accomplish what you set out to accomplish.

Say yes.
I get the most joy out of shooting portraits of babies and kids. I have found that I cannot, at this time, make a living just shooting what excites me. This means I have shot everything else that people have offered to me, including: awards ceremonies, art openings, weddings, family portraits, commercial work, etc. You don't always have to love what you do; the goal is to get paid so that you can get the equipment and name recognition that you need. The more you say yes to people, the more people will offer you work. Once you're getting enough offers, you can be more selective about the jobs you accept.

If you’re diggin’ Paper Darts, you’re probably an aspiring artist, writer, musician, publisher, or just a smarty pants with a creative mind. No matter who you are right now, it’s important to always think about where you’re going. How do you want people to think about you? If you’re an artist, are you branded as an artist throughout all media channels? If someone else was to describe you, what would she/he say?

“Man that Melvin…he sure reads a lot of interesting books and he’s always linking to a new place he’s been published—he must be great writer.”

If you’re trying to excel as an artist, make sure people think of you as an artist.

Can you describe yourself in 6 words? If you can’t, work on it. Just think of the famous Hemingway story:

Andy Kehoe, an artist originally from Pittsburg and now working in Portland, captured my attention recently when browsing works in the online Sebastian Foster Gallery. Seeing his art next to our previously published Jennifer Davis, I couldn’t help but feel that I was in parallel worlds. Davis using Easter pastels and Kehoe with autumn tones, both creating worlds that are magical, yet disturbing.

Here’s a Kehoe art-roundup coupled with a sampling of online interview questions, perfect for this erie time of year.


Hey artists, go get your inner geek on.

Usually, I wouldn't jump at the chance to write a post on art (considering Paper Darts’ creative director, Meghan, is our token “expert d'art”)…but there's an exhibit in town and my inner geek can’t resist mentioning it. 

Trying to establish yourself as an artist? Writer? Musician? Designer? Consultant? Any other profession that I can’t seem to think of just now? Then you should have a Tumblr.


“What is Tumblr?” you ask?

Tumblr is a blogging platform that allows users to post text, images, video, links, quotes, and audio to their tumblelog, a short-form blog. The service emphasizes customizability and ease of use.

Why You Should Tumblr:

The majority of us use our computers daily for most of our tasks and for you bearded hipsters who write everything in a leather-bound notebook (you know who you are), glean from this what you can. Personally, I love tech and I love being organized, so I've pulled together some great free resources that can help you electronically organize your life one small click at a time.

Seven Essential Free Apps (Mac)


If you aren’t getting sick of everyone talking about “how important social media is," well then you’re probably too busy going to actual art openings rather than just hearing about them on Twitter—and props to you! I, however, spend a disgusting amount of time trolling my Twitter columns on TweetDeck . . . and even I get worn out discussing how useful social media is.

Being the astute reader that you are, you have noticed the title of this post and are probably asking yourself, “Why write a post about Twitter then?” Well, recently Twitter has been awesome for lil' Paper Darts. Without much of a budget, Paper Darts has been able to really leverage Twitter as a free marketing tool and it has definitely been "paying" off.

We’ve used Twitter to engage in conversations, promote our artists, and, perhaps most importantly, network. While playing around in the Twittersphere, I’ve noticed how other literary organizations are using the tool and here are a few of my favorites and why.

Graywolf Press

I’ve ranked Graywolf Press number one not only because of their outrageously high following (to put their 10,000 followers in perspective, Random House has 23,000 and that’s Random House people!), but they also have some of the best engagement that I’ve seen.


It is well known that with the boom of technology publishing has been on the decline. People are not only consuming different kinds of content, but also through different mediums. The Internet has established expectations that content should be free or very cheap and with the high costs of printing it has become very difficult to provide a profitable product that people are willing to buy.  

How does this affect the publishing world? I have a Kindle and for reading books it serves its purpose. Do I miss the feeling of holding an actual book in my hands? I think I do, but I’m not sure. I know the Kindle is more practical, cost-effective, and keeps my bookshelves from getting cluttered. With the launch of the iPad, perhaps now magazines can experience technology the way books have with the Kindle.


There are two kinds of interviews: the job interview and the informational interview. Both are equally important, and the latter might even lead to the former. I’m going to focus on the informational interview because I feel like it is a critical component to lining up job interviews and networking.


An informational interview is the process of asking to meet with someone who is working in an industry you'd either ideally like to be working in or know more about. Think of them as an opportunity to continue your education about a particular career and, most importantly, to network.

Networking On and Offline

Very few people actually enjoy networking and those that do are lucky. The rest of us know deep down inside that we should, but we aren’t quite sure how to go about it. If you are someone that is still skeptical in the benefits of networking...that probably means you’ve never actually done any networking. So, here are a few simple steps to get you started.

Offline Networking: While social media is all the craze, offline networking is still where the meat of connections are made and where real opportunities will develop.


Here is the second edition of “Getting a Job in Publishing.” The goal of this post will be to help point you in the right direction of where to apply for internships (necessary for getting a job) and different techniques that wil help you in the application process. Remember, a lot of the specifics of this post are geared towards Minneapolis/St. Paul, but the bigger strategy applies everywhere.

You'll find:

Tips for getting and finding internships.

Great list of databases/search engines for internships and jobs.