Samantha Hart, the Executive Editor of Home Design for Meredith Publishing, shares all that encompasses the role of a Special Interest Publication editor and what she’s looking for now!
What are your duties for a SIP and how is it different than the other editors on a typical masthead?
As the executive editor of the home design group, I manage around a dozen special interest titles (all part of Meredith Premium Publishing), most of which are newsstand-only titles, except for Do It Yourself and Country Home which are both quarterly subscriptions. I hands-on edit a couple of titles—Beautiful Kitchens & Baths and Cottage Style—but I also work with a team of contributing editors to get our more than twenty issues out the door each year! Some of them are annuals, some come out two or three times a year. The difference with special-interest titles is that the editorial team is usually much smaller—often just one editor and one art director—so we make the decisions on our content directly.
Are you interested in receiving pitches? Do you have different lead times?
Yes, however, it’s important to understand that we primarily need locations we can photograph—whole homes, or just kitchens or baths, or examples of spaces with great storage. Most of our magazines are around 80% location photography and focused on a particular design style. We work about nine to twelve months ahead.
Are there any particular ever-green stories that you consistently need to fill?
Kitchen and bath, anything storage/organizing or DIY-related, and whole-home tours across a variety of style genres. With so many gorgeous projects out there, I have to be really selective. A home or a kitchen can be absolutely beautiful, but sometimes I have to pass because I already have enough of that look, and/or I’m looking for a fresh take, a new idea, or a smart and unique solution to a design challenge.
Do you prefer that interior designers provide all photographs for the story?
No, not necessarily. We’re certainly open to receiving pre-existing professional photography and it often helps us see the project in its best light, but it’s not required. We send in our own stylists and photographers to shoot locations the majority of the time. For “scouting” photos, we’re perfectly okay with iPhone snaps! The more the better. If we know a designer resides in an area where we have a field editor, we might connect you with that individual. Our field editors are located all around the country and connect with designers and homeowners to find projects for us. They submit them to us and all the special-interest editors attend a weekly review session. But I’m also open to projects arriving directly in my inbox. Low-res jpegs, a PDF contact sheet of images, or a Dropbox link all work fine, and it’s always helpful to include a brief summary about the project in your email.