Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Find Out If Your Work Was Published By Using Issuu.com


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 because you may have simultaneously submitted a regional parenting magazine. 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. I usually find at least one piece per month that was used without my permission.

So you'd put your name in the search bar like this: "Kerrie McLoughlin"

If I find what I call “borrowed work,” I pop off an email to let them know I found it and I include my invoice, usually for $35-$40, because I think that’s a pretty fair rate currently. Of course I do check my book 1st (7th edition coming soon) because I don’t want to send a $35 invoice if there a publication that pays $50 for reprints! I make sure to thank them for using my work and ask them to please next time ask me first just in case there are competitors in the area who might have also snapped at the same piece only they were considerate enough to let me know first.

Happy searching!

Check out my 350-page+ PDF of tips, tricks, and insider information, as well as 382 paying markets for only $9.99 (coming soon)! I wish you success!


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 Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Generating Ideas for Articles and Blog Posts


Sometimes I think it would be cool to be able to pop a software program into my brain and automatically and immediately know how to cook, clean, care for kids, teach them, guide them, help them, as well as be able to calculate the exact time it will take to get this kid to soccer without being late to getting that kid to dance. Okay, so we don't all know how to do the same things. It's alright, because that's what other parents are for and that's what these parenting magazines and blogs are for: your valuable advice!

Some days ideas flow out of you like money flows out of my household bank account and food is sucked out of my refrigerator. Other days you might stare at a blank page, trying to figure out something that you can write about that might be remotely interesting to editors and magazine readers. 

Half the battle of seeing an article in print is coming up with an idea editors want to publish. Set aside some time to brainstorm article and essay ideas using the list below. Then choose your best ideas and work the 12-step process for getting published!

Keep files of ideas: I have a physical file of scraps of paper, things printed out from online, even the cliche napkin with scrawled ideas. If my idea well ever dries up, I can always hit that file. I also have a folder on my computer called ARTICLE IDEAS and it's full of half-started and barely started articles. 



Eavesdrop on conversations everywhere you go. I have gotten so many great ideas just by accidentally hearing snippets of momversations while out with my own kids. It's the best way to get your finger on the pulse of the parenting world.

Go through your old blog posts, email messages, and journal entries to find essay or article material.

Read letters to the editor in your local newspaper.

Rework something you have now that you've abandoned. Something you already wrote that needs a new life. I often do this with pieces I wrote 10 years ago that are dated. Something you have now that you've abandoned. Maybe inspiration will strike this time.

Write the birth stories of your kids for some inspiration. I know it sounds a little weird, but you might come up with an article idea, as well as have a cool keepsake for your child. I wrote my youngest son's birth story and out of it came two articles: NICU parents and after the NICU.

Come up with some inspirational stories.

Solve a problem you have now or have had in the past. Something you personally struggle with but don't think is a huge deal might be a VERY big deal to other moms and maybe you can pop off an article full of ways to help with the problem. A few of my own personal article examples include pieces on having a husband who travels for work, how to bounce back after having a baby (not just physically, but in several other ways), and what to do with yourself once you become a stay-at-home mom or during your maternity leave. Have you had a problem, posted it on Facebook, then received so many great replies you could have written a helpful article using the quotes and advice? Write that article! If you have a problem, many others probably also do, and editors will want to publish your piece! Something past or present.

Write about something you wonder about. When I was curious about virtual school, I researched and wrote an article about it.

Write about something you know how to do. Oh, the things parents know how to do that they don't even think are a big deal.

Write the opposite of your experience with a subject.

Report on a negative or positive trend.

Read editorial calendars.

Read writer's guidelines.

Read magazines you want to write for. Now this is easier than ever with so many magazines available online. So many are free online using platforms like Issuu.com, BlueToad, and more. Gone are the days of sending off for a paper copy. The world is in your computer (or phone!). Not all RPMs are created equal. While some may seem almost identical from coast to coast, you'll find some are more liberal, some more conservative, more crunchy, more emphasis on humor, etc.

Think about what's missing from publications you read. Think about what's missing from publications you read. Should there be more articles about single parenting? Attachment parenting? Special needs? Adoption? Large families? Homeschooling? Daycare issues? Pet care? Chores? Meal planning?

Now put these ideas to work! Grab the 350-page+ PDF of my book, which contains tips and tricks, as well as 382 markets you can start submitting to TODAY!



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 Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

General Submission Guidelines for Regional Parenting Magazines


In an ideal writing world, you would have time to read back copies of every parenting magazine in existence to get a feel for what kinds of articles they publish. But with so many demands on our time, that's just not possible. So if there are no writer's guidelines available for a regional parenting magazine, follow the rules below:

Make sure you have a copy of the Associated Press Stylebook because most RPMs like articles to follow "AP style" (a few prefer the Chicago Manual of Style).

Always include your name, address, phone number, email address and word count with every submission.

Use one space after periods so your piece is print-ready for most publications. RPMs like to save as much space as they can, and that gives them more room for advertising and sidebars.

Include a general service sidebar of where readers can go to get more information (websites, books, etc.).

If you can, include either local quotes in your article or quotes from experts around the country, not just from your hometown.

Photos may be submitted with the story, but since many editors don't read email with attachments (or it goes to their Spam folder), just offer and describe the photo in your "cover letter." I sometimes put a fitting photo on my author site with the synopsis of the story.

Unless otherwise stated, the subject line in your email should be "Submission: [Article Name]."

Submit a "cover letter" in your email. Unfortunately, you will also have to add something to it like "Please let me know if you plan to use my article, as I want to make sure two magazines in the same region don't use it at the same time. Also, I need to send you an invoice because my work is not free " It's sad, but some magazines will use your work without telling you and without paying you and you need to point back to your original email.

Submit seasonal pieces (e.g., Christmas, Mother's Day) three months in advance as a general rule, unless writer's guidelines state otherwise.

Add a one to two sentence bio at the end of each article. For instance, "Kerrie McLoughlin is the homeschooling mom of five naughty kids and wife of Aron. Catch up with her at www.TheKerrieShow.com."

Make sure your submission says it's available for "purchase."

You'll save hours if you make every piece general, but put in your cover email letter that you are happy to include a local sidebar of resources (e.g., local meal prep stores, local food bank donation centers, etc.) depending on the topic of your article.

Don't submit your article as an attachment unless the editor asks for it that way in written guidelines, or it may end up in the editor's Spam folder. Instead, place the submission in the body of the email. (Update: I recently sent out SIX different birthday reprints AS ATTACHMENTS to everyone on my submission list as a last-ditch effort and also so as not to bug them with six different emails. The result? So far I heard from one magazine wanting to buy all six at $25 each, and then I heard from a magazine I never worked with before - that is in this book, of course - wanting to buy print and online rights for one article for a total of $5O! So far so good!)

Keep your piece under 1,000 words unless guidelines state otherwise.

OTHER INFORMATION

Editors always reserve the right to edit for clarity, length and style.

Most publications receive many more submissions than they can use.

Check out this post on my 12-step process for getting published (it's just the basics but you can find the fleshed-out version in my PDF of 382 paying markets, available soon here on the blog for only $9.99!



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 Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

The 12-Step Process for Getting Published


In my book How to Get Published (and Paid!) Writing About Your Kids: The Ultimate Guide for Selling Your Stories to Parenting Magazines, I share not only 382 markets with hyperlinked websites, submission guidelines and email addresses, as well as pay information, but I also share a wealth of knowledge from over a dozen years of working in this niche.

I'd like to share these steps with you here, but please know I go into MUCH more detail in the book and answer questions about previously published work versus new work, blog posts as articles, etc.

Below is a typical process I follow when submitting to regional parenting magazines. This might go in a different order for some.

1.     Read magazines you want to write for.

2.   Brainstorm. Check out my blog post called Generating Ideas for Articles and Blog posts here.

3.   Get the bones down.

4.   Call for quotes (only if necessary).

5.    Research. (some do this right after the Brainstorm step and some prefer to do it later). 

6.   Check out the General Submission Guidelines here.

7.    Read the Writer’s Guidelines in the book.

8.   Finish, proofread, read it out loud, give it to a friend.

9.   Add it to your writing website.

10.  Keep good records.

11.   Enter the email addresses and prepare your message.

12. Hit Send!

Check out my 350-page+ PDF of tips, tricks, and insider information, as well as 382 paying markets for only $9.99 (coming soon)!



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 Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

Do You Need a Website as a Freelance Writer?


Even though the pay is relatively low, writing for regional parenting magazines can earn you valuable publishing credits. You'll need those clips and credits in order to make your move to writing for national publications in the future. Don't think an author website is unnecessary and too costly for you to set up. You don't need a professional website developer to showcase your writing credits and synopses of your published pieces. For now, in fact, my author website is on Blogger, and I hear amazing things about WordPress, whether you host it yourself or let them do it.

Once you get a decent body of work, you'll want to periodically send an email to editors to let them know about your freelance writing (author) website, which will list all of your available reprints. (If you don't have time for this now, just send out your reprint list every few months and call it good.) The reason you do this is to keep your work fresh in their minds for when they need filler pieces.

Your writer website is important and should include the following:
  • Something about you as a writer and a person. Are you a new parent, mom of triplets, single full-time dad?
  • A photo of you.
  • Summaries of articles you have written or have had published.
  • Links to the places where you have been published (your publishing credits), serving as a type of online resume.
  • A list of available reprints you have for sale. How you organize these is up to you. I organize mine by month because editors are often looking for something for a specific month's issue. Then I also have a category called EVERGREEN, plus sections for BIRTHDAYS, CAMP, and HOMESCHOOLING. I also add the word count and a snippet of the article or a synopsis.
  • Testimonials/references. Don't be afraid to ask for these from editors you have worked with. I have found LinkedIn to be a great resource for asking for recommendations.
  • Links to any other online writing you have done so editors can see your writing style.
  • Contact information. Once an editor falls in love with your writing style, they want to be able to get in touch with you!
  • Social media links.
I like to keep a post on my author site dedicated to projects that are in the works. Articles, books, etc. For instance, one magazine routinely asks me to write a fresh piece for them for $40-50 each month. It's only 500 words and doesn't take me long to research and write. I don't like to sell it as a reprint until it is actually a reprint (meaning, the magazine has published it), which might be a couple of months away. I like to post the title of the piece and the approximate word count on my site so other editors know it will be available soon and coming their way via email.

With a little patience and a lot of hard work, your writer website will grow as you write more pieces, are published more places, and as you gain testimonials.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THIS
I honestly have not gotten many sales with my reprint list on my author website but I leave it there anyway and attempt to update it. I have much better luck keeping my work in front of editors by sending out my entire reprint list every few months. I also make sales when I send a wrap-up of articles that might fit for the next few months. For instance, in early February I might send out articles for March through June.

It might sound crazy to send out March pieces in February, but you'd be surprised how many editors DO NOT work ahead six months or who might have a last-minute space to fill. I have received many emails right before an issue goes to press because an editor realized they had room for a piece and I had sent them something recently enough that I was still on the top of their mind.

Check out my 350-page+ PDF of tips, tricks, and insider information, as well as 382 paying markets for only $9.99 (coming soon)! And if you came here from the Glossary of Terms from the book, THANK YOU for purchasing it. I wish you success!



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 Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!

Sample Magazine Email Query Letter


Check out a Sample Magazine Email Cover Letter here.

Following is an email query letter that I sent to American Baby. They loved the idea so much they had already assigned it to another writer a few weeks before they received my query! Ah, timing!

To: tricia.obrien@bonniercorp.com
Subject: Query: Desperately Seeking Sleep

Being pregnant five times has practically made me an expert on sleep disturbances. If I wasn't rubbing out a leg cramp, I was wrestling with four pillows, eating Tums like they were M&Ms, or lying awake worrying.

I would like to write a piece for you called "Desperately Seeking Sleep," which would offer solutions to eight of the most common sleep disruptions experienced during pregnancy. This piece was originally published as "Pregnancy Sleep Solutions" in Kansas City Baby (insert a link to your article here) and several other regional parenting magazines, and I know it would be a great help for your national readership, as well.

To make this article a knockout, I would interview national experts about the latest sleep solutions, research, and recommendations (e.g., if Ambien is alright to take during pregnancy, whether or not calcium tablets work for leg cramps, etc.) and would get quotes from moms all over the country about their pregnancy sleep woes and solutions they found helpful. It would also include a sidebar of relaxation exercises to try before bedtime.

I have been published in over two dozen regional parenting magazines, including Calgary's Child, Columbus Parent, and San Diego Family. You can find all of my publishing credits, as well as links to published pieces, at http://KerrieMcLoughlin.blogspot.com.

I would be happy to customize this piece in any way you might need and look forward to hearing from you.

Check out my 350-page+ PDF of tips, tricks, and insider information, as well as 382 paying markets for only $9.99 (coming soon)! And if you came here from the Glossary of Terms from the book, THANK YOU for purchasing it. I wish you success!



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 Parenting Magazine Writers ... it's FREE and full of tips and tricks and markets and like-minded writer friends!