Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Planning Your Writing

I was just looking at my Excel log where I keep track of articles I've sold so I can check to see if they've printed and then send invoices each month. I realized I'd already sold articles for 6 different months in 2012. I used to just write what I wanted to write about, then I started trying to write something for every month of the year.

Are you thinking ahead with your writing? Now is a great time to write down your goals for next year ... do you want to write one new article per month or do you want to write one new article per WEEK while also sending out queries to nationals and blogging for money? I'd love to hear what you have in the works!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Body and Soul of Your Articles and Essays

Sometimes I procrastinate writing an article or essay. I don't know where to start, and so I might do dishes or wash the baseboards instead. Then comes the time when I have to actually sit down and do the work. And I've found that I have a system! Here's how I write:

1. Procrastinate.

2. Get down the basic bones of what I want to write about. I think it's time to read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones again!

3. Do some research. I like to look for what's already been done so I'm not copying others or doing what's been beaten to death.

4. Let the piece ruminate for a while.

5. Go back and type Who, What, When, Where, Why, How and then move pieces of text under each heading so I make sure every question is answered.

6. Give it some heart. Get rid of my Who, etc. headings and make it more interesting and give it some anecdotes and hopefully a little humor so it's not like a robot-written piece.

What's your system?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blogging Jobs Do Exist

I've got a great assignment working with North Texas Kids writing blarticles for them (blog articles). This one is called "10 Reasons to Use Cloth AND Disposable Diapers" ... check it out and leave a comment there if you like!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Organizing Your Writing Assignments

I have a wonderful problem. I have too many writing assignments and no way to organize them.

I have to somehow organize them by deadline, by if it's a blog post that I'll have to rewrite to submit to the regionals later, by if it's just going to the regionals, by season, by topic and so on.

I've tried a spiral notebook. I lost it. I think it turned into the grocery list spiral notebook instead.

I would like to try something like Google Calendar but I like having things at my fingertips. I like to TOUCH my assignments and be able to immediately see what I have going on. I also like being able to throw a piece of paper away once the assignment is done.

So I got out a recipe box and am keeping track of assignments on index cards. I'd show you a picture but I'm a little embarrassed! I think Christina Katz said in one of her books that she keeps track of her assignments by clipping pieces of paper to a clothesline so they are always in her face and she knows when to follow up on queries and such.

So how do you organize your writing assignments? And if you don't have any assignments yet, it can be just as nutty trying to organize the things you WANT to query or write about! And I haven't even checked out any editorial calendars lately!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Go For Your Dreams, a Drill Team Story Related to Writing

I was either 13 or 14 years old and in junior high school. I practiced for drill team tryouts like a mad woman to Jungle Love (hey, it was the early 80s, what do you want?). I had the routine down, I smiled, and I served it to the judges. I knew I had this. I wanted this badly.

Did I get on the team and get to dance my heart out for a year?

No. Why?

Because I didn't get my permission slip signed by my mom. I don't know if I lost it or forgot or whatever. It wasn't her fault; it was mine.

I learned a massive lesson that day. I learned that if you sit around dreaming about something but don't follow through, you will never get it. But if you GO FOR IT and have everything in place, you at least gave it a shot.

Over the years, this comes to mind often. I've given things a shot and I have failed. But I smiled because I knew I had tried. I knew I had practiced AND gotten my proverbial permission slip in.

So you've written some articles. Great. Now what? Are you going to TURN IN THE PERMISSION SLIP (submit them) and find out if your dreams could start coming true?

Report back here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Love Affair with Writer's Digest

This photo was taken of me in 1995, before I even met my husband! Notice the Writer's Digest on the couch next to me. It was my date. I love it dearly. I must admit I even slept with it.

I have always loved Writer's Digest, and it is a huge help to me. My subscription has run out, and I will be hinting at my dad to re-up it for me for Christmas.

What writing magazines and sites do YOU love?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is $25 decent pay for 1,000 words?

Below is a response to an email from an ebook buyer. I apologize for the horrid all-caps and no caps. I do know how to write; I am just time crunched!

now, i do not think $25 is decent for 1,000 words at all. BUT I am doing it ... at least, my pieces are around 750 for an RPM blog and I'm getting $25 (I love when writers can talk honestly about money!). i'm doing it b/c it is making me write these pieces. then as i'm writing them i'm thinking of how i can change them by 20%. like i just sent one out about a specific subject. the one i sent them is pretty straightforward. as i wrote it, i wrote alternate paragraphs (more personal and first person) and just did a page break after the original piece and put my notes down there. Then when i send the actual piece to the RPM, I copy and paste it into the body of the email. If they want it in a document, I will just make sure I CUT and paste my notes for the other article and start a new document. It gets confusing! Then someday you will want to take the same piece and make it a QUERY for nationals and then you will really get confused.

The reason I do this is b/c like I said (1) it gets me writing (2) it makes me some REGULAR money (3) I can rework it and send it to more pubs to make more money (4) I can someday make it a query and retool it again for nationals or onlines.

I am being honest with you about pay. Some places will give you $50 and up for one reprint, but that is rare. If I'm asked what I charge, I say $35. I'm doing a special thing for this RPM. the people who tell you that you are writing for too little also have daycare and 40 hours a week to write for tons of money. most of us are doing this for extra money, clips and to get our name out there FOR NOW. I don't want to do writing of manuals and stuff b/c it bores me, even though it makes more money! The clients are weinies sometimes, too. Editors for RPMs are generally so simple to work with!

P.S. You make more doing this than writing for $15 an article for article mills, and they OWN your piece for life, friend. When I think of all the stuff I did for ehow.com, I made a few bucks and they booted me off anyway, I could spit.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Real Paychecks

Holly just asked today how much I make doing this writing gig.  I told her those kinds of questions are never too personal! 

Here are a few posts about that topic (click on the word Here!).

I don't make what most people would consider "real" paychecks, but it is real money. I consider a "real" paycheck to be $700-1,000 writing for a national magazine, and I'm not quite there yet, although I am querying, putting different angles on my pieces that did well with the regionals. My checks are from $15-120, but they are consistent as long as I have lots of pieces circulating.

I currently have about 40 pieces out and some do better than others. October was a good month since I have 3 pieces for halloween. Still, a good month means only about $400-600 for now. For me, I love it b/c I can stay home with my kids and I am on nobody's schedule usually. It covers our groceries! You can't get rich writing for the regionals, but it is steady and you can get assignments, credits and experience so you can jump to the nationals! oh, and it took me about a year to get going like this, but i know others who write better pieces than mine who got like 50 new credits in their first year.
Catholic hippie family chaos at http://TheKerrieShow.com
Homeschooling Mommybot http://homeschoolingmommybot.blogspot.com
My ebook: Get Published in Parenting and Family Mags at http://GetPublishedParentingMags.com
Follow me on Twitter http://Twitter.com/mommykerrie
Author site http://KerrieMcLoughlin.blogspot.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

Writers Without College Degrees

I hate to admit to you that I only have an Associate of Arts 2-year degree from Johnson County Community College. Sure, there were a couple of classes in there where I had to write original works, and I'm pretty sure I got As in those, but that degree took me 10 years to finish. By the time I was done, I knew I never wanted to go to college again if I could help it!

So I was annoyed with myself and didn't think I'd ever become a writer. Then one day I just started doing it and haven't looked back. By speciality is parenting articles and essays, but then I branched out into the ebook world. Now I'm working on a cookbook and an ebook memoir while still writing just about everything I can. I also whip up blog posts for money sometimes.

My message to you is that sometimes people can be over-educated. To me, this means they don't LOVE TO LEARN; they just went to school because they had to and then on to college because it was expected. I love learning my craft more every day because I enjoy it and not because I am trying to make millions or impress someone. If you have a college degree -- something cool like an MFA even -- good for you! That is wonderful, and I hope you had an amazing time earning that degree and that it is serving you well in your writing.

Write on! Check out these sites:

College Dropouts Hall of Fame
Forbes (33% of the Forbes 400 don't have college degrees; Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout!)
100 Top Entrepreneurs Who Succeeded Without a College Degree

Friday, July 22, 2011

Babybug Magazine Submission Writers Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in writing for Cricket's family of award-winning children's magazines! We welcome submissions from writers of every level of experience, and we assure you that your manuscript will be read and reviewed when submitted. Unless otherwise noted, we consider all submissions for all our kids' magazines, so if you submitted an article for publication in SPIDER, we may deem it more suitable for LADYBUG, CRICKET, or another of our publications.

 Submission Guidelines for BABYBUG magazine for babies ages 0-3

BABYBUG, a listening and looking magazine for infants and toddlers ages six months to two years, is published by Cricket Magazine Group. BABYBUG features simple stories, Mother Goose rhymes, short poems, words and concepts, illustrated in full color by the best children's artists from around the world.

BABYBUG measures 6-1/4" x 7", contains 24 pages, and is printed in large (26-point) type on high-quality cardboard stock with rounded corners and no staples. The paper and colors are non-toxic.

Editorial Director: Alice Letvin
Managing Art Director: Suzanne Beck

Published: monthly except for combined May/June, July/August, and November/December
Price: $33.95 for 1-year subscription (nine editions)


Stories: very simple and concrete; 4 to 6 short sentences maximum
Poems: rhythmic, rhyming; 8 lines maximum
Nonfiction: very basic words and concepts; 10 words maximum
Activities: finger plays, parent/child interaction; 8 lines maximum


·         By assignment only. Artists should submit review samples of artwork to be kept in our illustrator files. We prefer to see tear sheets or photoprints/photocopies of art.

·         If you wish to send an original art portfolio for review, package it carefully, insure the package, and be sure to include return packing materials and postage.

·         Author-illustrators may submit a complete manuscript with art samples. The manuscript will be evaluated for quality of concept and text before the art is considered.

·         Rate: $500/spread ($250/page).

·         We purchase all rights; physical art remains the property of the illustrator and may be used for artist's self-promotion.


·         Before attempting to write for BABYBUG, be sure to familiarize yourself with this age group and read one or more past copies of the magazine.


·         We will consider any manuscripts or art samples sent on speculation and accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Submissions without a SASE will be discarded.

·         Response time: Please allow 6 months for manuscripts and 3 months for art samples.

·         We do not distribute theme lists for upcoming editions.

·         Submissions from outside the U.S. should include an International Postal Reply Coupon.

BABYBUG normally purchases the following rights:

1.    For previously unpublished stories and poems, BABYBUG purchases all rights.

2.    For stories and poems previously published, BABYBUG purchases second North American publication rights. Fees vary, but are generally less than fees for first publication rights. Same applies to accompanying art.

3.    For recurring features, BABYBUG purchases the material outright. The work becomes the property of BABYBUG and is copyrighted in the name of Carus Publishing Company. A flat fee per feature is usually negotiated.

4.    For commissioned artwork, BABYBUG purchases all rights plus promotional rights (promotions, advertising, or in any other form not offered for sale to the general public without payment of an additional fee) subject to the terms outlined below:

1.    Physical art remains the property of the illustrator.

2.    Illustrator may use artwork for self-promotion.

Please address all MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS to:

Submissions Editor, BABYBUG
Cricket Magazine Group
70 E. Lake St.
Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60601

Please address all PORTFOLIO SAMPLES to:

Art Submissions Coordinator
Carus Publishing
70 East Lake Street
Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60601

Direct inquiries regarding PERMISSIONS to:

Mary Ann Hocking
Rights and Permissions Manager
Carus Publishing
315 Fifth Street
Peru, IL 61354

And for over 250 more parenting and family markets you can write for and make money, check out my book here at Amazon!

You can sign up for an email subscription to this site and get a free sample of the book, including FIVE markets that pay $50 plus for reprints! Please also consider joining my Facebook group called Regional Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hopscotch Magazine Submission Writers Guidelines

Hopscotch Submission Guidelines from the website http://funforkidzmagazines.com

Every HOPSCOTCH contributor must remember we publish only six issues a year, which means our editorial needs are extremely limited. An annual total, for instance, will include some 30 to 36 nonfiction pieces, 9 or 10 short stories, 18 or so poems, six cover illustrations, and a smattering of puzzles, crafts, and the like.

It is obvious that we must reject far more contributions than we accept, no matter how outstanding they may seem to you or to us.

With that said, we would point out that HOPSCOTCH is a magazine created for girls from 6 to 13 years, with girls 8, 9, and 10 the specific target age.

Our point of view is that every young girl deserves the right to be a young girl for a number of years before she becomes a young adult.

As a result, HOPSCOTCH looks for articles, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that deal with timeless topics, such as pets, nature, hobbies, science, games, sports, careers, simple cooking, and anything else likely to interest a young girl. We leave dating, romance, human sexuality, cosmetics, fashion, and the like to other publications. Each issue revolves around a theme.


We are looking for lively writing, most of it from a young girl's point of view, with the girl or girls directly involved in an activity that is both wholesome and unusual. Examples have included girls in a sheep to shawl contest, girls raising puppies that are destined to guide the blind and girls who take summer ballet lessons from members of the New York City Ballet.
While on the subject of nonfiction, remembering that we use it 3 to 1 over fiction, those pieces that are accompanied by clear photos with high resolution are far more likely to be accepted than those that need illustrations.
The ideal length of a HOPSCOTCH nonfiction piece is 500 words or less, although we are not about to turn down a truly exceptional piece if it is slightly longer than the ideal. We prefer fiction to not run over 1000 words
We will entertain simultaneous submissions as long as that fact is noted on the manuscript. Submissions should be double-spaced.
We will pay a minimum of 5 cents a word for both fiction and nonfiction, with additional payment given if the piece is accompanied by appropriate photos or art. We will pay a minimum of $10 per poem or puzzle, with variable rates offered for games, crafts, cartoons, and the like.
HOPSCOTCH buys first American serial rights and pays upon publication. It welcomes the contributions of both published and unpublished writers. We reserve the right to publish all material from the magazine on our website as a sample of the magazine. This is for display only on a limited time basis. Contributors will be compensated whenever their work is published to generate revenue and not strictly for exposure.
Sample copies can be purchased for $6.00 within the US, $8.00 for Canada and $10.50 for all other countries. All payment must be in US funds. A complimentary copy will be sent each writer who has contributed to a given issue.


We use a number of photos, printed in black and white, inside the magazine. These photos support the articles. Payment is $5 per photo.


Most art will be by assignment, in support of features used. The magazine is anxious to find artists capable of illustrating stories and features and welcomes copies of sample work, which will remain on file. Payment is $35 for full-page illustrations and $25 for partial-page illustrations.


Although we are working far into the future, we occasionally have room for one or two pages.

There's One More Thing

We are always in need of cute and clever recipes, well-written and illustrated crafts, riddles, and jokes.

Email manuscripts to "submissions AT funforkidz DOT com". It is important to include in the subject and body of the e-mail message which of the open issues your story is intended for.

And for over 250 more parenting and family markets you can write for and make money, check out my book here at Amazon!

You can sign up for an email subscription to this site and get a free sample of the book, including FIVE markets that pay $50 plus for reprints! Please also consider joining my Facebook group called Regional Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing as a Gamble: Encouragement!

one tip so you don't get discouraged with the regionals: write your piece and send it EVERYWHERE ... to all on my list. it seems like a gamble and it really is, but these pieces do not take you nearly as long to research and write as something you would make 10 times the money for writing for a national. you also get more headaches writing for nationals, but when you're ready to move up, go for it! it's taken me about 3 years to get over 60 writing credits ... i just keep writing and sending ... i have about 35 articles i keep in circulation and not a month goes by these days that i don't get a check.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Guest Post: I am a Writer!

Tanya Scherschel is our guest blogger for today. She bought my ebook recently and is already getting results. I feel like I sell exercise videos sometimes: "Buy my video and get instant results ... your butt will look better within one week." Instead it's more like I almost guarantee that if you keep sending out full pieces you will sell one within a month. Check out Tanya's piece at ChicMom.com ... I'm impressed because this is a place I have not been published! Keep up the good work, Tanya!

Actress Rachel Weisz, a.k.a. Evelyn Carnahan in the 1999 blockbuster The Mummy, and I do not have much in common. She is a statuesque brunette. My blonde gets a little help from a box. She has a gorgeous British accent while mine, after 16 years of marriage to a southerner, is a strange Chicagoan-drawl hybrid. But in the scene where Rachel’s character is asked by Rick O’Connell what it was, exactly, that she did for a living her response that, “I…am a librarian!” did resonate with me. No, I am not a librarian. But after selling my third article I did shout out with equal gusto that, “I…am a writer!”

Making money shouldn’t be the only criteria one needs to proclaim themselves “a writer.” After Mrs. Cable, my first grade teacher, told me that my poem, “The Mouse,” was the best she’d ever read and then hung it on the coveted bulletin board, I knew I’d found my passion. Small writing successes followed: publication in a junior high school anthology, a college paper read aloud in class as an example, board members’ praise for my monthly newsletter column. But let’s face it, people. When you’re a stay-at-home mom you know that even though hubby assures you the money belongs to you both, sometimes momma needs more than a new pair of shoes. Sometimes, momma needs a new pair of shoes – bought with her own money.

For years I’ve been tinkering with this submission process, and I have some really nice ding letters to show for it. Then I read about Kerrie’s eBook, and I bought it. A month later I sent my first story out and that afternoon I received a request for an invoice. Such quick turnaround has never happened with any of my submissions before – or after, I’m sorry to say, but it breathed new life into my efforts.

Kerrie often writes that, “it’s [publication] a numbers game,” and I couldn’t agree more. Our written babies are competing against hundreds of others for the same prize. Even when we play the game “right” there’s no guarantee of publication. One editor, for example, loved my first piece, but was unable to buy it because funding for her magazine fell through. I pitched her a second piece which she published on her website. Yes, it was free, but this gracious editor gave me advice I might otherwise have not received. Not only did she help me make the story stronger, but she also gave me my second clip: a necessity in the game for paid publication.

To date I have three published pieces, have three others pending, joined a LinkedIn group, and am working on a website. Six months ago this did not seem possible. If you’re a closet writer as I have been, I encourage you to brew a cup of tea and put your Rachel Weisz on. Then take that work and send it out. There ain’t no tellin’ where it may take you.

Friday, May 27, 2011

How Much Can I Make, Kerrie?!

I recently read that a writer can expect to make about $1,000 on an article for a national publication. Sounds amazing, right? But this piece also said that it takes around 40 hours of work, including the querying, researching and more. So let’s say you land 52 prime assignments like that every year (good luck!), so you are working full-time all year. That’s an income of $52,000.

So the RPMs don’t pay those kinds of rates. That doesn’t mean you can’t make decent money while trying to break into the nationals. That also doesn’t mean you can’t write for BOTH. I mean, if a bunch of nationals reject a query, why not take a couple of measly hours to write it up as an article without national quotes or mom quotes and submit it to the RPMs? The way I see it, chances are you’ll sell it at least once. Let’s say you make $50 on that one time; that’s $25 per hour you just made (if you selectively forget the national querying time you spent). Not too shabby.

HEY, that’s the same as you’d be making at $52,000 per year. Hmmm. (don’t forget I have 5 little kids running around all day as I homeschool, so I don’t technically have 40 whole hours in a week to devote to a piece … that’s why my writing goal will never be to make that much money in a year.)

Another thing I love about the RPMs and selling my reprints is that it’s a TINY BIT like earning “passive income” … all I have to do is check my email for acceptances and then send out an invoice. I’ll admit I also sometimes have to hunt my “borrowed” pieces down, but it doesn’t cause sweat to form on my brow.

I’ve made different amounts of different reprints. I’ve made $273 so far on Pregnancy Sleep Solutions (sold 9 times), $365 on Homeschooling 101 (sold 10 times) and $95 selling Stocking Up On Meals Before (and After) Pregnancy (sold only twice).

The key words here are SO FAR.

My jackpot article is about Holiday Peace, which has made $531 and was published in 22 places in 2 years. I’ll query it to the nationals this summer. If I get rejected, out it goes once again to the RPMs who haven’t bought it yet. The beauty of this piece is that it was kinda like a journaling therapy session to try to figure out how to make my immediate and extended family happy, and it turned into a positive thing.

I think $531 is a nice fee for one simple article with no local quotes that I can sell more times. Every article you write won’t be this well-received … heck, you might instead SURPASS me, and I want to celebrate with you when that happens!

Thus ends this edition of TMI (too much information) with Kerrie McLoughlin. Hope to see you again!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Much Do YOU Make, Kerrie?!

Disclaimer: I started out writing solely for the pleasure of it and because I’d always wanted to and because it was something I could do while nursing a baby. The fact that I make ANY money doing this is good enough for me, but lately our household of 7 is needing a little more cash infusion. That led me to make some writing goals which hold me accountable for increasing my writing income every single year. Here are some facts for ya:

In 2009 I made $1,316 (not including ebook income, but including writing a marketing manual and doing some paid blogging)

In 2010 I made about $1,530 (not including ebook income; by the way, I’ve only sold about 100 copies of it, in case you were wondering … I’m horrible at marketing!)

As of the end of April this year I’ve brought in about $1,000 writing only for RPMs. If I keep going at that rate*, I should double my RPM income from last year. Of course, I hope to also break into some nationals and high-paying online publications, but again I’m doing this for the love of it.

*Did I mention I have another $1,000 in articles that are slated to be published? But we all know how that goes; an editor emails to say they didn’t have room for your piece and you go, “DARNIT!”

Come back in two days to find out the most I’ve made on a single reprint and how much I’ve made on a few others.

Monday, May 23, 2011

High-Paying Regional Parenting Publications

Recently Justine asked a very good question. She wanted to know which other regional parenting publications, besides Westchester Family and Western New York Family, pays over $100 for an article.

I honestly don’t know how much some publications pay, so there may be many more that pay over $100 for a reprint. I’m still submitting and querying all over the place and hope to find more like that.

In the meantime, here are 15 more who are definitely higher than $50 for a reprint (I got this information from my ebook, by the way and have not actually been published in any of these places, but I’ll never give up! All the pay information I have is arranged in a table after the writer’s guidelines for all of the publications.):

Ann Arbor Family Press, Toledo Area Parent News, Findlay Family News pays $35 PER PUBLICATION, so if they love your piece and run it in all 3 places, you make $105

Birmingham Parent pays between $35 and $300

Boston Parents Paper pays between $100-400

Central Penn Parent pays $50-125 for non-reprints

Columbus Parent pays 10 cents per word

Hudson Valley Parent pays up to $120, and that’s even for a reprint that just needs tweaking and localizing (I have been in HVP, but with a different editor, so I only made $35)

Indy’s Child and Cincinnati Parent pay 10-15 cents per word

LA Parent City Edition pays 20-25 cents per word

Metro Parent Michigan $50-350 for originals

My Child Australia used to be in the regular section of the ebook, but I submitted pieces as reprints until they said they wanted one and found out they pay 25 cents per word (6 months later). They are now in the Bonus Section of the ebook.

ParentGuide Florida pays $25-150

Raising Arizona Kids pays $25-500

South Florida Parenting pays $150-300 for originals

Southwest Florida Parent and Child pays $25-200

WestCoast Families in Canada pays $50-100 per article

DON’T FORGET … some of these publications choose to only work with locals, so check that out first. Also, if you have an “in” — even if you aren’t technically a local, but can interview real people in an area — sometimes an RPM will take your article if it fits their needs and you query first, or send the completed piece and offer to pop in your local quotes later if they agree to purchase the piece.

I’m pretty sure there are many more out there who pay quite well and just don’t want to publicize it. That’s my job!

For those of you new to my Get Published in Parenting and Family Magazines ebook world, all the information you need to submit to the above publications is in the ebook kit for $19.85. OR you can just buy the 276 Regional Parenting Magazines edition for $9.95 (just click on the book you want to know more about at the right).

All I ask is that you please report back to me to let me know how well these publications actually do pay. If I break into one, I’ll let you know about my own experience. Because I’m submitting right along with you and am hunting for more publications all the time, this ebook is an amazing resource.

Justine and everyone else, check back in two days for my take on how much you can make selling only reprints to RPMs. I’ll share personal financial figures and let it all hang out.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Issuu.com ... Search for Your Publishing Credits

I stumbled across Issuu.com when I was hunting down my name and wanted to share it with you. It's a publishing service like BlueToad, only you can put in your name (best to put it in quotes), and magazine covers will come up that most likely contain an article of yours. You can then click on the cover and see your piece! Using Issuu.com I was able to find a piece of mine that was published in 2010 that I wasn't aware was going to be used at that time.

Happy searching!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making Money to Write for Regional Parenting Publications

I just heard from an ebook buyer and writer friend. She said she doesn't want to write for free, which I totally understand. I don't want to anymore, either. She said she went through the ebook and found the paying markets only and just submits her work to those places. Her list was small. Which made me think ...

I want you to get paid!!!!!

So check out my publishing credits down the left side of this site ... they aren't just there to look pretty or for me to brag. I put them there so you know I was published there and so you can check the ebook for what they pay. New ones that I've just sold to which are not in the ebook ... well, I'd be happy to let you know what those pay, as well.

I understand not wanting to submit to pubs that you don't know if they pay or not or if they'll steal your work or whatever. I take that chance anyway, and that's my problem or success, sometimes both. BUT ... out of my publishing credits on the side of this site, I've been paid by probably 50, which means you should be submitting to THOSE 50 PLUS any others in the ebook which have their pay listed but that I have NOT been published in yet.

I keep blind-submitting in the hopes of finding more markets that pay, and then I share that information with you. If you've been published in an RPM that is not on my credits list, you could do everyone a solid by sharing the info with me so I can pop that in the next edition of the ebook, adding even more paying markets.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Only a Writer?

I struggle sometimes with all the other hats I have to wear as a writer. I mean, you can’t just write something and POOF! … it’s published and checks are flying into your mailbox. Here are some of the other roles you have to try to perfect when you’re a writer if you want to be successful:

Organizer … how can I make sure I’m sending out my articles at the best possible times so they’ll be accepted for publication? I have to make sure my calendar is updated, my files are pristine, my invoice numbers are up-to-date and ready to go. My spreadsheets have to be in order so I know who isn’t paying me and when checks should be arriving. My online folders have to be set up so I know how to find what I need quickly.

Marketer … how can I get the word out about my articles and ebooks? Through a blog? Twitter? Authorsden? Should I send out a press release about my ebook to my local newspaper?

Salesperson … this is one I’m bad at. I don’t get much time to go to other blogs at all, and going just to comment, hoping someone will come to my site to check out the ebook, feels greasy.

Businessperson … how can I make more money from my “products”? … I recently decided to not only sell my ebook as-is, but to break it into 3 parts for those who may not be able to afford or may not need the full ebook.

What roles am I missing? What else do you have to stay on top of to be a successful writer or even an aspiring one?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Writing Markets

You might wonder how I found all the markets I did for the ebook. Well, I went by the Parenting Publications of America list … gathered all the information I could and then went to every single website and grabbed guidelines, editorial calendars and pay information.

Then I Googled all sorts of things, like “parent magazines”, “regional parenting magazines” and even found some strange PR news release site where I found over 100 more sites to check out.

I also have Google Alerts set up to let me know what’s going on by putting in “regional parenting magazines”.

Sometimes I just stumble upon an RPM or think, “Hmmm, how come this major city doesn’t have a magazine?” Then I Google it and sometimes that city DOES have a magazine for families!

I know $24.95 seems like a high price for an electronic version of a book. But factor in free updates for as long as I publish it (this will be the 3rd version coming out soon), and it’s a steal! Don’t forget those updates on the site that come out when I find things out, as well!

Your first writing check should certainly cover the cost of the ebook!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Twitter and Facebook Overload!

Isn’t it so easy to zone out on Twitter and Facebook? To get sucked into long conversations about things you don’t even really care about but that you would argue to the death online?

Do you know how much time I once spent getting “friends” on ehow.com? I’m ashamed to say, and I never even converse with these people and they certainly don’t help much with my article page views.

These days if I know I’m going to be online (I don’t have access at home except through a friend’s cell phone sometimes), like at the library ALONE, I make darn sure I’m going to have something to SUBMIT that will make MONEY.

Then once I do that, I’m free to catch up on email and then wander over to Twitter to join in some fun. And then check out my pals on Facebook. And then hang with my homies on LinkedIn. Every now and then I even get the chance to read a blog or two!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When to Send Your Reprint List

How often you send this list is up to you. I usually only send one out when I’ve written at least a few new articles. Some writers may send their list out every single month just to keep their name in the brain of the editor.

Timing is important here, friends. You probably don’t want to send your reprint list out toward the end of a month since the staff will be frantically putting the next issue to bed. Yes, I know they plan months in advance, but the point is to have them read your list NOW and say, “Oh! I could use that next month!” Not only are you published faster, but you get paid faster! It’s nice to have articles on deck for months to come, but obviously the more you sell right now the better.

When do I typically send my reprint list? The last one I sent out around the 9th of the month, which was probably too late to get into the following issue. Next time I’ll probably send it out on the 1st. It makes it easier to remember anyway.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

InfoHumor Article Genre

I’m getting a little tired of myself and of my how to pieces.

I like to add humor to all things I do, but I fear risking scorn and being laughed at for sending totally inappropriate pieces with humor to magazines.

An RPM just asked me to see one of my pieces because they needed a humor piece. They liked the tease from my reprint list and wanted the see the entire piece. The problem was, the rest of it wasn’t funny; it was purely informational and, frankly, a bit dry.

So I sent them the original piece. Then I made another one and turned it funny, with a few facts sprinkled in. I call it InfoHumor. We’ll see how it goes.

RPMs are dying for self-deprecating parenting pieces, like essays.

Give it a shot! It’s okay to make fun our ourselves sometimes!

(Update: the RPM loved it! But I won't truly believe it until I see the published piece and the check in my hand! ... so far nobody else has wanted to buy it)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Are a Writer

I used to feel weird saying I’m a writer. It felt like I was bragging.

That I am a writer helps to pay for my sons’ gymnastics classes and my daughter’s dance class. It pays for our summer pool membership and our annual zoo membership.

I am a writer. It’s not just a job to me. It’s who I am. It’s who I always wanted to be.

So what if I didn’t get started until I was in my thirties with a few kids under my belt?

So what if I don’t make enough to support my family with just my income?

I am a writer.
So are you. Whether you have been published or not. Whether you have made a cent doing it or not.

You are a writer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Clips Organization and Querying With Clips

I recently got an email asking how I organize my clips. The writer also wanted to know how I send clips when I query. Thought you might like to know as well, so here was my answer:

"Thanks for writing! Honestly, after I write a piece, I print it out and put it in a manila folder and into a file drawer in alpha order. Then when I actually sell one and get a check (although getting an actual tearsheet is kinda rare), I pop it in there. I also TRY to write on the folder who I sold the piece to and when for when I try to rework it and resend it someday!

I don't query the regionals.

But when I query the nationals and I actually have an email address, I send links to published pieces since they don't like attachments. I've had to do it via snail mail and just made copies of my best few clips.

I should be grabbing a photo or whatever of stuff that is in digital editions of the regionals, but I'm just too darn lazy."

From: Rebecca Flansburg
To: mommykerrie@yahoo.com
Sent: Fri, February 11, 2011 5:37:39 AM
Subject: RE: Get Published in Regional Parenting Magazines

Great post..and that's where I am at now too. needing to get my feet wet and get clips. I've been out of the writing loop for ten years and it's like starting over! My question to you is, how to your organize your clips? And when you query with clips, is it via mail? Or email? Any info would be helpful. Thanks!

Life is hard. But it’s also amazing....and I will rock the heck outta it.” Check out the madness that is Lakes Area Mom Squad www.lakesareamomsquadblog.com Find us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/LakesAreaMomSquad

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Me as Editor of a Regional Parenting Magazine

I keep wondering how editors of RPMs keep track of each issue … what’s planned, what’s written, what they love from blind submissions (that’s you and me!), etc.

Sometimes I daydream about how I would organize an issue. I don’t ever actually want to be an editor, mind you, but I think about things like organization a lot (and yet, you should see my house!).

In my mind I see a big wall. It would say, for example, “June 2011 issue” at the top. I’d have sticky notes for advertisers, assigned articles, blind submissions I love that will fit, and so on.

Nah, too messy. The kids would get ahold of the sticky notes and it’d be toast.

Start over.

I’d have to keep it on the computer and pop in articles where I had space. I’d keep assigned ones in one folder and blinds in another. The blind submissions I’d file in my computer folder by subject.

Then when I needed a piece for Father’s Day, I’d check that folder to see what had come in (or maybe I even have my assistant print them all out so I can physically look at them while I’ve locked myself in the bathroom, away from my kids!).

If I had nothing I loved, I might come up with a new idea and contact, say, Jan Udlock or Jennifer Gregory and ask them to whip it up for me within a week. I suppose I’d have to have a well-organized email contacts folder, as well. I’d have to keep track of people who submit stuff I don’t hate but can rarely use just in case I ever need to call on them.

Here’s my bloggie dream: that a real live editor will comment on here about how they organize their issue. Maybe I’ll forward this post to a bunch of ‘em and see if they have time to give me some dish! And maybe I’ll be able to take a shower someday without a bunch of little people being in the bathroom with me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Regional Parenting Magazines = Small Money? Nope!

I once worked with a writing snob who couldn’t understand why I wrote for the little regional magazines when I could be querying the same articles to larger magazines and making a lot more money.

First of all, I’m new to all of this. I need to get my feet wet. I need to get clips.

Second, the RPMs are easy to write for. I write what I want and then submit. It doesn’t take that much time, and as the mom of 5 little kids, I don’t have a lot of that. My kids aren’t in school or daycare during the day, so I have to manage my working/writing time very wisely for now.

Finally, I’ve made over $500 selling reprints of my Christmas piece. And I get to resubmit it Every. Single. Year. It’s evergreen, baby!

So the RPMs are not a bad place to hang out while you try to also break into the nationals.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Editorial Calendars

Ever wonder why you submit over and over to the list of RPMs included in the ebook, and yet you never hear back from most of them at any given time? First of all, don't give up. I used to get discouraged, too, until I realized a few things:

  1. Some RPMs work with an actual plan and know exactly what they want to write about a year in advance.
  2. Some RPMs only work with locals, and yet sometimes they need to fill space. That's why I like to make sure they have my Reprint List just in case they ever need to pull something last-minute.
  3. The RPM may have switched editors, so your submissions are getting lost in a black hole. That's why it's important to check back here for updates because I'm submitting just like you are, only I'm following up when I get a Mail Failure message to see what the heck is going on.
Some of the RPMs in the ebook have ed cals included. Your best bet is to query or submit based on those to those specific RPMs. Of course competition is fierce, so try to come up with something new-ish!
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