Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Collecting Information on Publications

FINALLY this blog gets down to business and stops talking about Kerrie's writing accomplishments. Thank GOD! I was getting sick of that chick's self-love.

So let’s say you’ve written a brilliant piece that you want to try to get published in a magazine. Sounds easy, right? Just find a couple of magazines that would LOVE to have your essay or article, and send an e-mail.

Not so fast.

Remember how I learned the hard way about reprints (see previous post)? So this time I’m determined to find the RIGHT home for my little articles. And if you are a fan of The Kerrie Show, you know I have nurtured my articles by carrying them around in a sling daily.

If your specialty is parenting or womanly articles (cooking, cleaning, mothering, fathering, eating chocolate on a daily basis), then this post is for you. Otherwise, I’m gonna have to tell ya to get yourself a recent copy of Writer’s Market and then dig deep into the Web. For example, Google “writer’s guidelines [subject] magazines”. The subject could be travel, religious, nature, etc.

You know the biggies: Parents, Parenting, BabyTalk, American Baby, Mothering, Good Housekeeping, O Magazine. I personally am not ready for these guys yet. But if you know these magazines like you know your own cellulite and think you have written something that will work in one of them, go for it. Check out their writer’s guidelines, follow them religiously and submit your work (usually via e-mail, of course).

Otherwise, you’ll need to visit a sweet place called the Parenting Publications of America Web site (see sidebar on left). On any given day, there may be close to 120 different publications that are members of this organization. I would also suggest Googling “writer’s guidelines parenting magazines.” This will yield even more gold.

I’m going to tell you how I collect information and organize it, you lucky reader. I can’t wait for someone to leave me a comment to tell me a MUCH EASIER way of doing what I’m already deep into doing. But at least that way we can ALL learn!

This is a long process that takes me weeks:

1. I go to the PPA Web site, click on Find a Member, then leave Search fields empty so I get all results. I have a printed copy of all PPA members so I can check them off as I gather information.

2. Starting at the top, I click on the bold member (e.g, About Families – Berks County). I print the Member Publication Details sheet so I have contact, circulation and frequency information.

3. I go to the Web site of the specific publication and poke around there. Mostly I’m looking for Writer’s Guidelines, which are sometimes hiding under tabs like “About Us” or “Contact Us” or are lurking at the bottom of the page. If I find them, I print them. I staple my sheets together and file them in a folder called “Sample Copies.” Feel free to peruse copies of the magazine online, if they have that capability. I prefer a paper copy personally, so I send off for those (more on that in the next post).

4. Because there are so many parenting publications, I really had to get organized. I enter all the information I can find into my Outlook contacts and have made a new category of Writing so I can lump them all together for easy printing later. I also don’t enjoy digging through mounds of paper looking for ONE sheet of paper.

5. I also started an Excel spreadsheet which lists all PPA members and also all parenting magazines I know of, which may be overkill, but I like to be able to print one sheet to see what’s going on (who owes me a sample copy) and what I still need to do (call for writer’s guidelines because their Web site stinks).

Coming up … ordering and devouring sample copies

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