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.
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