Knit Design Tips—2015: My First "Year Of Design Submissions" January 19, 2016 06:05

2015 was a new kind of year for me. In January I needed to rethink my approach to providing income for my family, and do things differently. (Read more about that.)

If you follow me on any of the various social medias, you may have noticed the hash tag #YearOfDesignSubmissions that I used from February to December. In 2015 my primary design goal was to submit to and publish with third-party publishers. A few of you have contacted me, curious about how that all panned out. 

Here are the results:


Submitted Designs

I submit a total of 127 designs between February and December, 2015. That doesn't mean I came up with 127 new designs though. Some of them were re-submissions of previously rejected designs.


Accepted Designs

I had 57 new and unique designs accepted. That's about a 45% acceptance rate. My goal was to have 5 designs accepted each month, and I ended with an average of 5.1 over the 11 months. Hooray! Here's how it looked:

Feb: 4
March: 5
April: 2
May: 4
June: 9
July: 6
August: 5
September: 4
October: 2
November: 13 (OMG!)
December: 2

As you can see, it varied month to month. April, October and December there were few, and in June and November there were many. I got 9 designs accepted the week before Thanksgiving alone! And of course, they're all due the same week too—the week I'm writing this blog post actually. I should be working on editing patterns...

Edited to add:
50 of the accepted designs were knit, and 7 were crocheted.
46 of them were sweaters, 8 were accessories, and 3 were shawls.


Financial Stuff

I know you're curious about this stuff. So, without going into to much detail, I'll share a little bit about the averages.

My expense to income ratio was about 34%. That 34% paid for the sample knitting and shipping for all the accepted designs.

After expenses, I earned an average of $203.27 per design.

Note that 11 of the 57 accepted designs are royalty only, so I didn't earn anything up-front. And many of them haven't been published yet, so as of right now there has been no income for those designs. Once they're published and I start to see royalties, the 34% expense to income ratio will likely lower, and the average per design will likely increase. But that's where it stands right now.

2015 Summary

Being my first year really making an effort and keeping track of my design submission, 2015 was educational.

I learned that publishers often have design submission calls and due dates that fall all around the same time. I need to plan ahead with design ideas—having some on hand for each season so when the calls go out I can use their mood boards to create some new designs, but also have some ready to go, wherever they fit.

I learned that (at least right now) I prefer to submit to publishers that offer an up-front payment, with the option for royalties and/or self-publishing. That up-front payment really helps keep my family fed and get the sample knitters paid right away.

I learned that my sample knitters are priceless, and it's so important for me to have a great team of them whom I can rely on. I couldn't do what I do without them! :: I bow ::


2016 Goals

Going into 2016 I have somewhat of an idea of what I might expect. Though I hope to expand on it, with realistically increased goals.

I'm shooting for an average of 6 accepted designs each month. Using my 45% acceptance ratio as a guide, this tells me that I need to submit an average of 13.3 designs each month.

I'd like to lower my expense to income ratio to 30–32%. I plan on doing this by creating more designs with worsted or aran yarns, so the sample knitting isn't as expensive as with sport and DK weight yarns, and by focusing my submissions toward publishers with up-front payments.


Leave a Comment

Are you interested in submitting designs in 2016? Follow my 9-Step Guide to Perfect Design Submissions and let me know how it goes in the comments. I'd love to hear from you!