While going through some old files today, I came across a magazine with a November 1997 publication date. Now I’m sure readers of this blog are not surprised that I keep magazines for 13 years. Being the pack rat that I am, I sometimes keep them for many more than 13 years. I do this because I find great value in magazines, even very old ones. Sometimes in these oldsters I find ideas I can use for brand-new articles; sometimes they may lead to blog posts that could help others find new markets. I think this one could help someone who is new to freelance writing and eager for that first byline in a magazine.
The publication I found today is Good Old Days Magazine. I immediately checked to see if it is still being published. It is — and amazingly still lists the same editor, Ken Tate, as in 1997. And it has a wonderful array of articles focusing on the past. As it did in 1997, it still takes a nostalgic look at the Good Old Days, telling the real stories of people who lived or grew up around 1935-1960.
The featured article in the current June issue is a delightful one about dowsing — the practice of using a Y- or L-shaped twig called a dowsing rod to search for underground water. Among other articles in the issue was one about a Stag Dance, the place where people went to enjoy an evening of socializing; one on childhood pets in the early 1940s; another about Feed Sack Dresses and the Big City (during the depression, women made garments from the sacks in which chicken feeds and other feeds were sold); and Faith of Our Fathers, about the Great Depression at its peak.
I downloaded the Contributor’s Guidelines and there I learned that most of those who contribute articles for the magazine are not professional writers. In fact, the guidelines state: “We prefer the author’s individual voice, warmth, humor and honesty over technical ability. Successful stories tend to stick with one subject (i.e.: how my brother and I got caught skipping school one day and faced the consequences…my most embarrassing moment, etc.)”. That sounds to me like a great opportunity for a talented beginner to earn a byline and a check.
The guidelines provide examples of the kind of stories the magazine publishes, plus specific details about their requirements. I’ve seen the publication on the newsstand at Barnes & Noble and it may be available at other newsstands. You may find copies at your local library. The publishers will send you a sample copy for $2.00 and a self-addressed stamped manila envelope mailed to: Good Old Days Sample Copy, 306 E. Parr Rd., Berne, IN 46711. You can read some of the articles and get more details just by visiting their website.
So how about it? Is there a Good Old Days byline in your future?
Please leave a comment.