A Regional Parenting Magazine (RPM) is a publication that caters to parents and families in a specific geographic area. For example, Kansas City Parent, my local publication, distributes their magazine all over the Kansas City metropolitan area, which is huge and covers two states!
The articles in RPMs range from how to handle newborn sleep issues to how to deal with too many activities and your middle schooler to how to deal with a surly teenager to how to deal with living with an aging parent. Many also have special separate issues dedicated to babies, special needs, teens, etc.
RPMs depend on freelancers to fill their pages with articles, essays, how-tos, etc., usually on a monthly basis, but sometimes bi-monthly or quarterly.
They make most of their money from advertisers and give out their magazine for free, which means pay to writers is usually low ($15-200 per article in general, depending on advertising income and subscriptions), and they need a steady diet of new and reprint articles, listicles (combination of an article and a list) and essays.
"Reprint" means you write an article and sell it to a magazine (I submit to a huge list of possibilities), then other magazines also buy it. Check out this post on how I can earn over $500 for writing just one article and sending it out to many RPMs.
Check out the story of how I got started in this online, at-home money-making labor of love back in 2006:
“My friend is crazy,” I said to myself when I got home from a visit with a friend who had kids around the same age as mine. I could not believe she actually went grocery shopping with a baby and a toddler every single day so she could have fresh ingredients. I, on the other hand, avoided the grocery store as much as possible and stocked up so I would not have to deal with the drama of taking kids there while my husband was out of town. I also liked to cook in bulk and freeze meals ahead of time so I wasn't living in the kitchen. My husband traveled for work often just like hers did, and I couldn't imagine spending my life at the grocery store and in the kitchen while caring for little kids.
So, like I had done since I was a very young girl, I channeled my annoyance into writing. I started writing about stocking up on groceries and meals to save time and money. Pretty soon I had what resembled an article like I had seen in my local parenting magazine, Kansas City Parent. I always picked up a copy of KCP when I was out and devoured it, and I figured I'd get the email address for submitting my piece and see what might happen. They snapped it up and sent me $25 after publishing it the following month and I was hooked. Making money to do what I loved was great enough, but being able to do it while being at home in my sweatpants while nursing a baby was EVERYTHING. It still is, about a dozen years later, minus the nursing and plus the homeschooling J
After that, I got to work tracking them all down individually, with no internet at home, dragging my then-three kids to the library and friends’ houses to grab info to pop into a main document later. How to Get Published (and Paid!) Writing About Your Kids has changed a lot over the years. It’s gone through a lot of cosmetic changes and even some title changes. Each edition sees magazines folding and being replaced with others, as well as magazines being added to the book in droves.
Are you interested to find out where I've been published and how I've made money by making this my career? Click the link in the sentence above.