Monday, July 16, 2018

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"

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.


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!

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