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430Latinidad 7/13-8/13: 10th Anniversary - Write for Magazines

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  • Marcela Landres
    Jul 2, 2013
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      Latinidad 7/13-8/13: 10th Anniversary – Write for Magazines

      1. Saludos
      2. Q&A: Linda Formichelli
      3. Resources: Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference
      1. Saludos

      In continuation of my celebration of Latinidad's tenth anniversary, I am
      culling the best advice and advisors from back issues to help you get
      published. Previously, I've discussed managing money and time, writing
      classes, critique groups, the revision process, and the submission process.
      This month's focus is on writing for magazines.

      Being published in literary journals can put you on the radar of agents and
      editors who are looking for new talent, but there is a distinct advantage to
      being published in mainstream magazines—the numbers are better. For
      example, Ploughshares has a circulation of around 5,000 to 10,000
      whereas AARP The Magazine has a circulation of over 20 million. A single
      article in AARP can expose your book to more potential buyers than a tour,
      an advertising campaign, and all your previous literary journal publications

      Yet many writers, especially literary ones, don't consider writing for
      magazines. Even if they did, the skill set required to write a poem, short
      story, or essay is not the same as that required to write a magazine article.
      To learn more about how to write for magazines, read this month's Q&A
      with Linda Formichelli, a successful freelance writer, author, and instructor
      of the e-course Write for Magazines.

      Helping Latinos get published,
      Marcela Landres

      To read past issues of Latinidad®, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marcelalandres/
      2. Q&A

      Linda Formichelli has written for more than 120 magazines, including
      Redbook, USA Weekend, Fitness, Women's Health, Entrepreneur's
      Business Start-Ups, Wired News, and Writer's Digest. Linda co-authored
      The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance
      Writing Success and The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock.
      Linda lives in Concord, NH, with her writer husband and three cats. Her
      interests include kung fu, science fiction, languages & linguistics, Archie
      Comics, Thai iced tea, and volunteering for animal welfare organizations.
      You can learn more about Linda at http://www.lindaformichelli.com/ and
      you can learn more about Linda's e-course and e-mentoring at

      Q: What was your first published article, and how did you land the

      A: My first assignment was an article for EEO Bimonthly, a career
      magazine for women and minorities, about informational interviews.
      After I got my master's degree in Slavic Linguistics (!), I decided
      to ditch the PhD program and go into publishing, so I went on
      informational interviews at several publishing companies. After
      doing the interviews I decided that working in publishing wasn't for
      me after all, but I thought the experience would make a great
      article. I read Queries and Submissions by Thomas Clark, wrote up my
      first query, bought a copy of Writer's Market, picked out a few
      career magazines, and sent the queries off to the pubs. Several
      weeks later, I had an assignment from EEO Bimonthly magazine—for
      $500, which practically made me pee myself. After that I started
      contacting trade magazines like Sign Builders Illustrated and AKFCF
      Quarterly (for KFC franchisees) and getting small assignments—worth
      maybe 10 to 20 cents per word—and worked my way up, using those
      clips, to national publications.

      Q: What are the three most common mistakes writers make when querying

      A: (1) Many new writers *don't* query, because they don't understand
      the process of getting an article accepted for publication. I hear
      from writers who say, "I wrote this great article. Where can I send
      it?" In most cases, editors don't want to see an entire article;
      they prefer to see a query letter outlining the idea. If they like
      the idea, they'll give you an assignment, and then you'll write the
      article according to the magazine's specifications. Exceptions to
      this are the personal essay and very short items—in these cases,
      editors want to see the whole thing.

      (2) Often writers don't follow up on their queries—if they don't
      hear back, they just give up. You need to be persistent! E-mail or
      call the editor (if you're afraid, do it after hours so you can
      leave a voicemail) and ask about the status of your query. The query
      may have been lost in cyberspace or buried in the editor's inbox.

      (3) I often see writers get in their own way by making "newbie"
      mistakes that cause them to come off as amateurs. There's nothing
      wrong with being new to professional writing, of course—we all have
      to start somewhere—but editors want to work with writers who
      demonstrate that they understand how the publishing business works.
      Some mistakes that make you look like an amateur include:

      * Sending the query to a generic "Dear Editor" or "Dear Sir or
      Madam" instead of to a specific editor.
      * Putting a copyright symbol on your query.
      * Mentioning that your mom, your friends, or your cat think your
      idea is great.
      * Telling the editor how long it will take you to write the article
      (she'll give you a deadline and expect you to adhere to it).
      * Misspelling the editor's or the magazine's name—or, even worse,
      addressing the query to a competitor magazine, such as "Parents"
      instead of "Parenting." (I did this once and thank goodness the
      editor was nice about it, but not all editors are so understanding!)

      Q: Other than honing their craft, what is the smartest step writers can
      take to get published in magazines?

      A: Oh, my goodness, there are so many things writers need to do besides
      honing their craft! Writing is a business as well as a craft, so
      writers need to be professional. Take a look at books about business
      and marketing and try to incorporate some of the advice into your
      writing business. Build (or have someone build for you) a
      professional website, get some nice business cards (not mandatory,
      but they certainly work for me), follow up on your queries and other
      communications with editors, occasionally send editors updates on
      what you're working on, turn in your articles on deadline or before,
      follow article instructions (i.e., don't come in 2,000 words over
      the assigned word count!), send thank-you e-mails or notes to your
      editors and sources, and follow the principles of excellent customer

      Q: How can established magazine writers take their careers to the next

      A: Diversify! Though you can make a good living as a magazine writer,
      diversifying can help you even out the financial ups and downs of
      the freelance life. Do corporate writing, write books, teach classes, and
      so on.

      Q: What inspired you to create your e-course on Write for Magazines?

      A: I have a life coach friend who has a very successful e-course on
      improving your life, and she encouraged me to start a writing e-
      course. I had actually attempted to start a course a couple of years
      before that, but gave up during the market research phase: I posted
      to a few writers' discussion groups that I frequented, asking what
      writers would want in an e-course and how much they'd be willing to
      pay, and a few people posted, "Why would I pay for information I can
      get online for free?" (Of course, the way they were getting info for
      free was by e-mailing professionals like myself asking for advice,
      and posting questions on writers' forums.) My life coach friend
      convinced me to try again and walked me through the whole process. I
      did a beta test in April 2005 and launched the course in June 2005.
      It's been a hit! I've had over 140 students in the last 15 months,
      and so far they've landed assignments in magazines like Woman's Day,
      MyBusiness, E: The Environmental Magazine, Pizza Today, and others.
      It's so gratifying to hear from a student that she scored her first
      freelance assignment or broken into her dream magazine! So many of
      my previous students have asked me for a follow-up e-mentoring
      program that I added that to my services a few months ago for both
      my former students and writers who don't want the structure of the
      formal e-course.

      3. Resources

      "I read How Editors Think in one sitting and was engaged from beginning to
      end. It is well written, highly informative, and humorous—I found myself
      laughing out-loud in a few spots! Thanks for sharing the secrets of the trade."
      —Mayra Lazara Dole, author of Down to the Bone

      Inspired by my experience as a former Simon & Schuster editor, How Editors
      Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You reveals what it really takes to get
      published. For more information, visit:
      Date: October 5
      The 2nd Annual Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference, which will
      take place at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York, will provide
      Latino writers with access to published Latino authors as well as agents and
      editors who have a proven track record of publishing Latino books. Last
      year writers traveled from as far as California, Florida, and Mexico to attend.
      We invite you to join us this year as a sponsor, advertiser, and/or attendee.
      For more information, visit http://www.countonmebook.com/
      Dates: July 11 - 14
      Readercon is an annual conference devoted to imaginative literature—literary
      science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called
      slipstream. A typical Readercon features over 150 writers, editors, publishers,
      and critics. For more information, visit http://www.readercon.org/
      Reading Period: August 16 - May 15
      Confrontation enjoys discovering and fostering new talent. They have even
      published work from college students and teenagers as young as 14. For
      more information, visit http://confrontationmagazine.org/
      Reading period: September 1 - April 15
      For stories and essays, Subtropics pays a flat fee of $1,000 ($500 for a short
      short); poets are paid $100 per poem. They appreciate work in translation
      and, from time to time, republish important and compelling stories, essays,
      and poems that have lapsed out of print. For more information, visit
      $100,000 POETRY AWARD
      Deadline: September 15
      The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award offers $100,000 to an emerging poet, one
      who is past the very beginning but has not reached the pinnacle of his/her
      career. For more information, visit http://www.cgu.edu/pages/8610.asp
      $10,000 POETRY AWARD
      Deadline: September 15
      The Kate Tufts Discovery Award offers $10,000 for a first book of published
      poetry. For more information, visit http://www.cgu.edu/pages/8611.asp
      Deadline: September 30
      Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press.
      There is no reading fee. For more information, visit
      Hinchas de Poesia is a litmag of contemporary Pan-American writing. It
      publishes the fiction, poetry, and prose of authors from all of the Americas.
      For more information, visit http://www.hinchasdepoesia.com/
      Akashic Books, a highly respected and cool indie publisher, seeks flash
      fiction for two series: Mondays Are Murder, noir stories set in a distinct
      location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, that could
      only be set in the neighborhood you chose; and Thursdaze, stories that
      feature a drug, any drug, that capture the mood and rhythm of your drug
      of choice. For more information, visit
      When Cinderella's glass slipper is stolen, Queen Felicia sends her faithful
      steward Terrance to the real world to retrieve his love and witch-in-training,
      Bianca Frost. Bianca must gather every bit of magic she has learned to find
      the slipper and protect her new love. Together, they venture deep into the
      heart of Everafter to seek clues and along the way they uncover what
      happened to the Seven Dwarves after Snow White married the prince, but
      also learn the high price that must be paid for magical aid, even when used
      for good. For more information, visit http://www.lizdejesus.com/
      Please forward Latinidad® widely.
      For more resources, visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/resources.html
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      You are welcome to reprint part or all of this e-zine; please credit
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      Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marcelalandres/

      "He who is outside his door has the hard part of his journey behind him."
      —Dutch Proverb

      Latinidad® © 2003 by Marcela Landres

      Marcela Landres
      Author of the e-book "How Editors Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You"