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breaking into print media..any tips?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've had one article published in a rather avant garde little publication, but other than that have yet to get into print media. I've been focusing on online publications and my novel of late, but I've been thinking for a while that the way forward really is magazines. Problem is, I feel so overwhelmed I don't know where to start. I've been reading 'Writer Mama' by Christina Katz which is quite helpful, but I wanted to get some suggestions from the veteran writer mamas here. So far, I've got lists of parenting and 'new age' mags i' d like to submit to, and have an article completed for a national parenting mag that i feel quite good about. But i'm wondering whether to focus on those mags that I feel capable to write for (which, let's face it, often don't pay and only give subscriptions, free copies etc) or try newspapers. I just feel lost amongst all the options! any help please.
post #2 of 12
Newspapers are cutting back staff left and right these days - so unless you have a specific paper in mind - they are not a great bet.
As far as parenting mags go - there are hundreds of them - and pretty much every magazine of every genre is hungry for articles on how to be greener and more natural right now. Even the most mainstream ones.
You do need to learn how to write a query though (a 2-3 paragraph pitch that outlines what your article will be about) no magazine will read a completed manuscript.
I also find that if you can afford it, taking an online course or a community college course in magazine writing pays off big for most people. You have time to do the work though. They usually cost about $200.
Finally try looking through the data base at regional parenting publications of America.(you don't need to buy their list btw - just go to the member website page) These mags typically pay anywhere for $25-$200 per article and only buy one time rights - so you can keep selling the story and keep making money.

There is a steep learning curve to magazine writing - but once you've done the work to make sense of the industry it's possible to do well.


http://www.parentingpublications.org...age&PageID=155
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice. I have checked out the parenting mags website,but couldn't figure out how to get the actual details of the mags. I might've been doing a million other things at the same time though, so will try again

I'm pretty confident that I can write a query, as I have done so for a magazine before and they asked me for the article (a small magazine admittedly), and 'Writer mama' has a whole chapter about that.

it's good to hear that the 'green ' stuff is so 'wanted'... my writing' s been headed in that direction. guess the only thing to do is just take it one step at a time, choose a couple mags and go for it.
post #4 of 12
Each link on the page takes you to another regional magazine's website. This gives you a chance to quickly look over the website (to see if you're a fit) then find the editor's contact (often just editor@ some magazine.com)
You can shoot off the same query to a bunch of the mags as long as they don't overlap regions. When you get the assignments you just tailor the story to each area by using regional experts and resources.
best,
Diane
post #5 of 12
Thanks for the suggestion on the class. Our local community college has an online class for magazine article writing that starts on 7/7 so I signed up.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyTwoAs View Post
Thanks for the suggestion on the class. Our local community college has an online class for magazine article writing that starts on 7/7 so I signed up.
That's cool - have fun!
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'll try that. MyTwoA's, good luck with the course. An online one is a great idea. Unfort I haven't got the bucks for anything extra at the mo, so am trying to just order the odd book. and, of course, come on here for inspiration and guidance
post #8 of 12
If you want to get paid, it really helps to have some clips. Write three or four stories for small local magazines, then start thinking about moving up. That national story could be really useful.
As far as magazine versus newspaper ... what are you interested in writing? I've been a newspaper reporter for five years and I spend a lot of my life covering council meetings and writing about elections. Small newspapers usually need general beat reporters -- which means a lot of nuts and bolts reporting with the odd "fun" feature thrown in -- it's not going to be all column writing. Of course, you could have a weekly column, but it would not bring in the big bucks. Big papers are laying off experienced reporters. When they do hire, they're hiring from within.
I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I just want to be realistic about the nature of newpaper reporting right now. Some days I have fantasies about quitting my job and turning into a freelance magazine reporter. Maybe that's how I'll finance my second baby in a couple years.
As far as advice for any specific publication -- I'm sure you already know this, but if you want to get published there, read a few articles and get a feel for the house style before you make any contact with them.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

anyone have back issues they're willing to send me?

thanks MamaJen. I'm not actually interested in being a newspaper reporter, I've always wanted to write for magazines. I just got the idea from some writing books that local newspapers were a good way to 'break in' and move on from there. I did tons of work for an article a while ago for a local newspaper and despite the editor saying yes, I never saw it published. (i did follow up, he said yes again, and still nothing happened). I felt like it was a bit of a waste of time to be honest. whereas, I've had success with magazines at least getting back to me, and one publication in an online magazine.

anyway, at the moment i'm trying to get back copies of mags i'm interested in, such as brain, child magazine. i'm on a seriously low budget though now that my maternity pay has stopped, and i really can't afford subscriptions or even back issues plus postage. I wondered if anyone has back issues of good parenting or ecological magazines, such as 'brain,child' or 'Mothering' (of course), that they're willing to 're-cycle' (postage costs covered of course)? I live in the U.K. but there's a lack of good natural parenting mags here, most are really rubbishy parenting 'advice' publications rammed with ads. There are a couple which I'm looking at though.
post #10 of 12
just lurking : this is where I'm at minus the novel.

oh and if anyone has great ideas for environmental/nature writing mags please lmk!
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaya View Post
thanks MamaJen. I'm not actually interested in being a newspaper reporter, I've always wanted to write for magazines. I just got the idea from some writing books that local newspapers were a good way to 'break in' and move on from there. I did tons of work for an article a while ago for a local newspaper and despite the editor saying yes, I never saw it published. (i did follow up, he said yes again, and still nothing happened). I felt like it was a bit of a waste of time to be honest. whereas, I've had success with magazines at least getting back to me, and one publication in an online magazine.

anyway, at the moment i'm trying to get back copies of mags i'm interested in, such as brain, child magazine. i'm on a seriously low budget though now that my maternity pay has stopped, and i really can't afford subscriptions or even back issues plus postage. I wondered if anyone has back issues of good parenting or ecological magazines, such as 'brain,child' or 'Mothering' (of course), that they're willing to 're-cycle' (postage costs covered of course)? I live in the U.K. but there's a lack of good natural parenting mags here, most are really rubbishy parenting 'advice' publications rammed with ads. There are a couple which I'm looking at though.

Would your library have mags from the US? Our library has a huge selection of magazines, and you can check out back issues, and it's not a huge library.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
momofmine, i checked out the library but their magazine collection is dismal. All they have are 'interest' magazines like gardening, and one or two very boring mainstream U.K. parenting mags. I will keep looking...
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