Certain farewells can be harder than others. Now that it’s time to say farewell to this particular blog, I’m glad that I came across this Gilda Radner quote:
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Finally, after nearly four years of blogging and numerous hours spent on research and writing posts, I find that I need to spend more time on my writing business. I’ll miss the writing here and all the wonderful folks who have supported this blog. I’m truly grateful for your support.
Even though I won’t be blogging, I hope I’ll always have time to answer your writing and publishing questions. Don’t hesitate to email me if you need help. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Back in 2008, when I first posted a piece about magazines that pay $1 a word, I had no idea that the post would be as well received as it has been. Nearly 3 years later however, it still holds the record for the most hits on this site.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to add more publications to the list but other work has always shoved that onto my “later” file. This week, however, I found time to come up with several other publications that pay $1 a word. You’ll find them below.
If you read that 2008 post, you may remember that I cautioned about magazines going in and out of business and I advised checking the publication schedule before sending a query. That advice holds true for these magazines too. Guidelines will give you details about how you should approach each publication. Remember, most want a query, not a completed manuscript. Also before you query, read the publications (check at your local library or college library or phone the magazine and ask how to get a sample copy). Send in your query exactly following the publication’s requirements.
Here’s the latest $1 a word list:
AARP The Magazine is published for people 50 and older and covers these categories: Finance, Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Travel, Consumerism, General Interest and Relationships. Their guidelines want you to send a one-page letter explaining the idea for a piece, show how you would approach it as a writer and mention the category of the magazine for which the piece is intended. The guidelines are online here. http://www.aarp.org/magazine/
Cottage Life is for and about water-based cottagers in Canada and the northern U.S. The publication has a strong service slant, using “how-to” journalism and coverage of the people, trends and issues in cottage country. Rates range from $750-$2,000 for columns, and $1,800 to about $4,000 for features. Guidelines say that its front-of-the-book department, Waterfront, is an excellent place to break into the publication if you haven’t written for the magazine previously. Waterfront features short news, humor, human interest and service items with a maximum length of 250 words.Visit their website here.
Whole Living is a magazine that offers natural solutions for stress, sleep, allergies and more and includes healthy recipes, customized fitness for body and mine, and beauty. They pay $1 to $1.25 per word on acceptance. Articles run 1,500 to 3,000 words and departments up to $1,500 words. Whole Living buys all rights. You can send a query here.
Attach Magazine. The US Airways Attach magazine wants entertaining articles for travelers, 400 to 2,500 word articles on “the finer things in life.” for ongoing departments and some features. The “Paragons” department offer short pieces touting the best of the best; “Informed Sources” contains experts’ opinions and knowledge on a variety of topics. They do not want any politics or Hollywood issues and they pay $1 a word on acceptance. Their address is Pace Communications, 1301 Carolina St., Greensboro, NC 27401. You can visit their website here.
Family Fun is the nation’s number one magazine for families with children aged 3 to 12. It has a heavy emphasis on activities and ideas that distinguishes it from other parenting and family magazines. Editors are looking for freelancers who are experts in the art of being fun-loving, creative parents.
Be sure to query early with your ideas because articles are scheduled and assigned at least five months in advance of publication. Do not query by telephone, fax or email — be sure to send in your query by U.S. Mail.
Most departments pay at least $1 a word. Their website lists names of individuals who receive queries. All queries should be addressed to them at Family Fun, 244 Main Street, Northampton, MA 91060.
You probably can find copies of Family Fun at your local bookstore or library but you can also get a sample copy for $3. See the website for these and many more details about the publication.
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Last week when I wrote a post about Making Time to Write, I included one of my favorite ways to get started writing: Making an appointment with myself and keeping that appointment.
That post inspired the one you’re reading now. This week I’m asking you to share your tips for getting started writing. I’m a great believer in writers helping other writers, so your tips might go a long way in helping a newcomer to writing become successful.
Yours can be a tip that we’ve already talked about or it can be something entirely new. Please share all your tips here so everyone can take advantage of them. I think you’ll find that it’s really great when one writer makes it possible to help another writer.
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People always make time to do the things they really want to do.
Many of us rarely have big chunks of time to get started writing, so often we don’t start at all. But there are so many ways to begin spending time writing your novel, short story or magazine article that there’s no excuse for not starting at all.
If you don’t have a big block of time to get your writing done, you might consider using small blocks of time, including using some of the tips below. It has been said that there are three sure ways you can get writing done: Find the Time, Make the Time, Steal the Time.
Buy a micro-cassette recorder and talk your writing into it. when you have time, translate those random thoughts into coherent sentences and paragraphs, and then into your writing project.
Don’t check your email until late in the day, after you’ve put in your writing time. Email is very disruptive and eats up time that can be better spent writing.
Turn off your phones or refuse to answer them. A good answering machine can take your important messages and you can return calls later.
Put on some favorite music, especially classical, to play while you write. Music will help you focus and drown out background noise. Some people say that classical music stimulates creative brainwaves.
Don’t fiddle with the radio when you’re stopped in traffic. With a pen and paper always in the car, you can spend 10 minutes writing while you wait for a train to pass or traffic to speed up again.
A trusty notebook will also come in handy if you spend 15 or 20 minutes waiting in the dentist’s or doctor’s office, or standing in line at the deli counter. You could write a basic query in 20 minutes.
Ignore the television and the internet. Both can gobble up precious writing time. Turn them back on days later, for just a short while, when you’ve reached a goal in your writing.
My favorite way to make time to write: I make an appointment with myself. When I’ve set up the day and time, that appointment is just as important to me as a doctor or dentist appointment. I’ll make sure I’m in front of the computer and ready to write on time.
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A site that I visit often is MrMagazine.com because I think it is the prime information source about magazines. Mr. Magazine is Dr. Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, School of Journalism. He’s also Professor at the School of Journalism. I first heard of him in the early 1980s when I was in Journalism school at what is now the University of Memphis and I’ve been following his work ever since.
Right now on his site I found his list of “25 Notable New Magazines from The Last 25 years.” He says the magazines are “the new blood that runs through the veins and arteries of our industry.” Many times we hear that people are no longer reading magazines but his list of 25 that are still being published seems to cut that idea short.
I know that some magazines have gone out of business, but others spring up and take their places. People are reading magazines. I’m delighted about that because I really like writing for magazines and I hope to continue doing so in the future.
I’m familiar with most of the publications on his list of 25, but there are several that I’ve never read before, including Wizard which came out in 1992. Dr. Husni says that before comics were a pop culture craze, “Wizard has been dishing out all the information about anything and everything comic related.”
There are several other new ones for me, including Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concerns that debuted in 1998. “Magazines like McSweeney’s show that the magazine buyers in America are hungry for unique, quality products,” Husni says. “You won’t find a more innovative magazine on the newsstand or a more devoted readership.”
All You first came out in 2004 and Husni says it’s a great partnership between the country’s largest retailer and one of the country’s largest magazine companies. “All You shows that it doesn’t have to be difficult to find customers where they are.”
And then there is Relish, which started out in 2006 with a circulation goal of 6 million. Now it has a circulation of about 15 million.
Husni says he dedicated his list of 25 magazines to “individuals who have been saying we are publishing in vain and that magazines are a soon-to-be-extinct medium. They were wrong 25 years ago and they are still wrong and will continue to be wrong.”
If you want to read the entire list, go to the Mr.Magazine site here.
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Rather than spend time on the Internet over last weekend, I decided to reread passages from some books on my bookshelves. That’s where I came across a section called “Etiquette and Ethics” in Writing for Money, a book by Loriann Hoff Oberlin. I must say I agree with the basic rules she outlines in the book.
Oberlin knew that when you are granted an interview for a publication, it doesn’t mean you can market that interview somewhere else. As an example, she uses her working with Family Communications in Pittsburgh, the production company for TV’s Mr. Rogers series. When she learned that the popular show would be celebrating 25 years on public television, she began producing a series of articles about the show, based on an interview with Fred Rogers, plus faxed questions and telephone followups. Her stories appeared in Hemispheres, The Saturday Evening Post, parenting magazines and other publications — all the result of her good working relationship with the production company.
“They trusted that I would place stories only in reputable publications, and they also knew that I kept in touch with and ran my ideas past their public relations staff,” Oberlin said.
She cautions writers to be careful when people you interview ask to see your article before you turn it in. “Allowing sources to preview your story would be allowing a form of censorship,” she said. “The public expects reporters to work uncensored and free of such constraints. We journalists shouldn’t have to fear that our sources will change their recollections, words or ideas to a more acceptable point of view. Also, by giving this kind of advantage to one source, you would give that person unfair insight into the information your other sources give you.
“Don’t misrepresent your credentials,” Oberlin warns. “Never tell someone you are on assignment for a publication when you are not, and watch that others don’t either.” Months after an interview, she recalled reading in a source’s newsletter that she was “on assignment” for several publications, when in reality she had only answered an intern’s questions about what magazines she wrote for and where she would be pitching the proposed story. “I was not pleased with the way he had misrepresented me,” she said.
She would also not be pleased, I think, with an ad I saw recently that was looking for writers to produce fake testimonials for an ebook going into production. What is equally unpleasant, in my opinion, were the scores of writers lined up, eager to write those fake testimonials. When the ad was reproduced on a freelancer’s post, the comments were very much against writing fake testimonials. Evidently those applying for the job could not see that they were going way beyond acting in a truly ethical manner. In my opinion, this is in the same category as writing papers that high school and college kids can turn in as their own. Those writers all need some ethics classes to set them on the right path.
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A long time ago, I used to be a business writer. After college, I began working for a business newspaper and although I came to dislike working for the paper, it was a great introduction to writing about business and business people. I did lots of writing in that job.
In my free time after work, I was also a freelancer, still writing about business, business people and many other subjects. I never wrote about anyone I met in my newspaper job but there were scores of others who made great articles. Freelancing gave me as much work as I could handle.
Sometimes it was a matter of writing one freelance article a week. On the whole over three years, I got to write dozens of business-related pieces. They covered real estate, office equipment, home furnishings, roofing, shopping centers, videos, physician seminars, freight rates and much more. Some were articles, but the majority of the writing was for news releases, box copy, brochures, sales literature and other pieces of information to help business prosper. I got no bylines, but I did receive lots of checks — and that helped my family budget.
Did I come up with the ideas for these pieces myself? Not at all. The ideas all came from advertising and public relations people who contacted me and asked me to write them after working at my regular job. And when I left the newspaper and began full-time freelancing, they began to give me even more work. Obviously they knew from my newspaper work that I could write and handle the assignments.
All that experience can be, I think, a lesson for other freelancers who want some checks in a hurry. They may not know that advertising and public relations agencies frequently use outsiders to do their writing. That may be because many of those firms are small — often only one person — or because they don’t like (or don’t know how) to do the writing themselves. Although I got a fair share of assignments from the largest agency in town, the majority of my work came from small shops who could not afford to hire full-time writers. Whatever the reason, it was a great way for me to write and get regular checks for doing what I like best — writing. And the pay was good and quick.
To work with agencies, you need to have some clippings to show that you can write acceptable copy. If you don’t have clippings, you might focus on getting three or four articles published as soon as possible.
You could even contribute copy to small local newspapers or magazines (be sure that you get bylines) or offer to do some free writing for a non-profit in order to get the needed bylines. Then you can concentrate on dealing with advertising and public relations agencies.
If I were a new freelancer looking for more writing jobs, I’d make it a point to contact every agency in my area and ask if they use outsiders for writing assignments. Send them copies of your clippings. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door.
It’s also a great way to get started as a business writer. If you like this approach, please let me know if and when you get writing assignments as a result.
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