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Is anyone here writing for magazines any more?

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I've been around this board since the first day so I've observed a lot of changes, and one that struck me recently is that there seems to be a lot less emphasis on magazine sales in recent years, and far more emphasis on book publication.  We used to be far more evenly split.

I'm sure a large part of this is due to the number of magazines that have stopped publication in that time (GP4K comes to mind as well as a number of the better denominational magazines like ON THE LINE and MY FRIEND), but magazine writing can be so rewarding.

I admit that since I signed with my agent that I've devoted myself more to my book-length work.  Another reason for me was that I got to the point where most of my rejections from mags were personal, along the lines of "This is great, but we just can't use it right now" and I got tired of second-guessing a magazine's needs, especially with fewer and fewer places to send a piece to. 

I used to be able to count on picking up the new issue of HIGHLIGHTS somewhere and recognizing at least one if not many author's names--now that's rarer, and I know far more writers than I did 7 years ago.

What are your thoughts?
#1 - August 31, 2010, 05:13 AM
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Hmmm, I got away from magazine writing somewhat because my friends kept point me toward novels. And there are fewer magazines to submit to. I got my start with Standard Publishing, writing fairly regularly for R.A.D.A.R. which changed to some other name which I forget now. And I've had one thing in POCKETS.

When I started out doing this oh - lo -- 15 years ago I primarily wanted to be a magazine writer ... but I'd say the last five have been centering around novel writing.

Good question.
#2 - August 31, 2010, 05:40 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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I still write for magazines!  Mostly poetry.  And I love it.  In fact, while I'm waiting for revision notes, editor responses, etc, etc, etc, for my books, it's my magazine submissions and acceptances that keep me going.

Jody
#3 - August 31, 2010, 05:43 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED
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I stopped because there were so few markets and my writing time was so limited. I prefer to spend my writing time on my novels. I found I really like the long form better since I can delve more deeply into the characters.
#4 - August 31, 2010, 05:49 AM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

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I have a few magazine sales under my belt, but my focus has been on a YA novel the past year or so. I can do only so much with the writing time that I have. That said, it boosts my confidence to get a credit (and a check!) for a magazine piece so I don't think I'll ever give up it up completely. I've also noticed that the contracts from the mags come back at a slower pace than they used to.

Funny you should mention this. Yesterday I was reading another thread and thought to myself, 'Should I invest all of this time on the YA with no guarantee of income, or should I focus on what I know I can sell?' Even if I do have to wait longer for some of the things to get into print.
#5 - August 31, 2010, 06:41 AM
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 06:49 AM by ChrisLH »

Early on, I tried Highlights, but haven't really worked on magazine subs. I admire those who break in.
#6 - August 31, 2010, 06:43 AM
Stephanie J. Blake
MY ROTTEN FRIEND (Albert Whitman, September 1, 2015)
THE MARBLE QUEEN (Two Lions, December 1, 2012)

I still submit but definitely not as much as I used to. I heard the same rejections, "Great but doesn't fit our current needs." I concentrate on novel writing only submitting articles to those editors I have a relationship with.
#7 - August 31, 2010, 06:44 AM
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I generally only write for the Carus magazines, mostly FACES, because I love it that they have themes (ones for the coming year were just posted!). I don't have the time for the "doesn't fit out needs" and knowing what they actually want helps a lot. You do have to invest the time in researching your topic before you send in your query - you have to send in an outline with a list of sources, but that's what makes it possible to write the article in a couple of weeks when they assign it to you.

That having been said, I only query for a couple of issues a year, when I have a genuine interest/expertise, because I likewise want to spend most of my time on longer works now.
#8 - August 31, 2010, 06:59 AM

When I first started writing about three yrs. ago, my dream was for a book deal. Then I realized how much I enjoy writing for both children's and adult magazines--the usually quick editor response, having my work in print for lots of children to read shortly after the ms has been submitted, and I like moving from one project to another at a faster pace. Plus, considering the word count, the pay is usually pretty nice, too! Right now I have two assignments that I'm working on, one for Highlights and one for a regional magazine. When things are slow, I still have downtime to pursue my dreams of a published book. Magazines have been a perfect fit for me!  :smile
#9 - August 31, 2010, 07:30 AM
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 08:27 AM by writermutt »
www.amycobbwrites.wordpress.com

Twitter: @AmyCobbWrites

I admit, I lost my love for magazine sales because I kept selling stories that never appeared!  The money is nice, but it was disheartening.
#10 - August 31, 2010, 07:40 AM

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My first sale was also to R.A.D.A.R, and I've had things in Pockets, Turtle, and a handful of others. But short stories, which are basically epiphanies, are harder for me to pull off than the slower, deeper character growth in a novel. At least 50% of my "short story ideas" were really novel ideas. I don't see magazine work as a sure sale at all. I wrote a short story based on a fictional boy who was on the scene of one of Jesus' miracles and it turned out really well. The magazine sent me a great rejection -- a personal letter saying, "We really don't need a NT boy right now. Can you write about an OT girl?" Well, yes, I suppose I could, but the whole episode just spotlighted the fact that for almost any magazine piece you've only got a few good market prospects for it. If it washes out, you're done. My perfectly good story remains unsold. Not that the same can't happen with a book, but there are more outlets for a book. I decided magazine work was frittering my time away and I now do only about eight shorts a year for an adult magazine, on assignment.

There are still good markets: Highlights, the Cricket Group, Hopscotch and Boys' Quest, the US Kids group (Jack and Jill, Turtle, Humpty Dumpty), Pockets. There's a huge advantage to theme lists, and I think magazine-length work makes a lot of sense for rank beginners who need to learn the very basics within a manageable length. It's also good for those who thrive in the short story or article form rather than book length, or whose life doesn't currently allow for immersion in a long project.
#11 - August 31, 2010, 08:10 AM
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Funny you should ask. I had a poem finally appear in Cricket in the May/June issue (The Art of Winning) after waiting 6 years. Another poem of mine (Sea Family) appeared in the July August issue of Ladybug after 5 years. I have rebuses and poems waiting to be published by Highlights too, but at least they pay on acceptance.

When Cricket changed their policy to buying all rights years ago, I stopped subbing to them. But, I admit even knowing how long it can take, I'm still tempted to sub. to them from time to time. The waiting stinks, as does the pay, but it's  satisfying seeing your words illustrated and in print. It's heartening knowing your words are read by children all over the world. Just the thought makes me smile.
#12 - August 31, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Ahh, I'd forgotten about Hopscotch .. I never subbed for them because the dates were always several years in advance .. and I knew in that time I would move out of state once or twice .. and I just didn't want to keep up with the logistics of it.
#13 - August 31, 2010, 08:33 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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Very true -- the wait times can be forever. It's possible to sell a book ms. and a story to Hopscotch/BQ at the same time, and have the book come out first.

A friend of mine had her poem appear in Cricket after six years, and had literally forgotten she'd submitted it.

#14 - August 31, 2010, 08:40 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
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Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
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Thanks for this thread!  It reminded me to SQ Humpty Dumpty about a poem they are considering!
#15 - August 31, 2010, 09:58 AM

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I've written over 60 articles, stories, and poems for magazines--about half of those for the Cricket group.  I rarely submit anything to magazines these days, except the occasional assignment.  As others have said, it's just not worth it with the long wait and low payment.  But I still get a thrill when contributors' copies fill my mailbox...And I'm happy to have contributed in the past.
#16 - August 31, 2010, 10:35 AM

I still write for mags.  Love writing for them, actually.  I obsess a little over themes, and like Jody, the communication makes me feel as if the publishing world isn't just a black hole.  In between educational writing assignments and waiting to hear back on pb subs, magazine writing has kept me busy.  And some do pay very well, IMO.

buglady
#17 - August 31, 2010, 10:44 AM

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I'm revising an article on spec right now for Spider magazine, but it's one I wrote a while ago. Laurie
#18 - August 31, 2010, 10:49 AM
Laurie Wallmark
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I still sub to magazines, though mostly poems now. The occasional acceptance keeps me going as I plod along with picture book attempts.
#19 - August 31, 2010, 12:30 PM

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Once in a while ...  I have so many ideas and some are, thankfully, short enough to develop for magazines. There is such a pleasure in finishing a piece, sending it off and getting an acceptance and getting paid, even if it's just a small amount. And seeing the thing in print. Books take FOREVER ... Gee, maybe if I didn't get distracted with magazines, I'd have more books. Just sayin' .... but I am concentrating on my books.

Vijaya
#20 - August 31, 2010, 12:38 PM
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Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I write for magazines and love it!  I agree with Jody - it's what keeps me going - as I hope to someday break into the book market.  If I ever do that, however, I think I'll still keep writing for magazines.  I write mostly poetry and fiction.

Laura
#21 - August 31, 2010, 02:24 PM
http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/
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When Cricket changed their policy to buying all rights years ago, I stopped subbing to them. But, I admit even knowing how long it can take, I'm still tempted to sub. to them from time to time.

Andi, my last four contracts from Cricket were for exclusive first publication rights worldwide, not for all rights. You should submit your work!

AM, I still like subbing magazine stories, but I do it less--in between writing novels. I used to sub around to different markets, too, but I don't do that anymore. For one thing, they seem to be disappearing, but I also feel like I've found my best fit with the bug mags (and they pay the highest.) I've tried Highlights several times and have only placed one story there. The pay is less, but they give it to you right away which is great....
#22 - August 31, 2010, 02:34 PM
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 03:00 PM by Lenzi »

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Hi!  I write for magazines too.  Like Jody, I find magazine writing very motivating as I plug along trying to break into the pb market.    It's encouraging to me that Carus doesn't necessarilly always purchase all rights, though I have a feeling you have to be an established author with them to have them modify their contract for you.   

Laura
#23 - August 31, 2010, 03:02 PM
http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/
Twitter:  @laurasassitales
GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz 2014)
GOODNIGHT, MANGER  (Zonderkidz 2015)

Anne Marie, I've just been wondering the same thing! I used to send things out regularly and have had several mag sales (Highlights has been especially good to me--two stories within this year), but like others have said, it is so maddening to have great stories that there are no markets for (unless you want to go without pay, which is fine for pub credits, but $$ is better!)

Once I began working on novels, I stopped on short stories and articles. This also coincides with my finishing the second ICL course. Mag credits don't seem to matter as much to agents in queries as I thought they would (at least, hasn't kept me from getting Rs!) But it's true, there's nothing like getting that mag with your story in the mail . . . unless it would be getting a book deal!

That said, I really miss short story writing. I absolutely love the feeling of polishing a story 'til it sparkles and getting the ending just right. In fact, I told my crit partner the other day, "I'm itching to write a short story!" This thread makes me want to scratch that itch!
#24 - August 31, 2010, 03:33 PM

coffeeluvr

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I submit most of my work to magazines.  I continue to write and sub pb's, but like many have already said...those magazine contracts are great motivators.  I've been lucky enough to sell a few things to Highlights---I have a poem in this month's issue of High Five and I just sold that last year.  Also, an article I sold to Pockets in February of this year was in the July issue.  So I've been fortunate to see at least a couple of my things go from contracts to publications pretty quickly.   As for the rest...I'll just have to keep twiddling my thumbs!
#25 - August 31, 2010, 05:29 PM

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I write for both children and adults and write almost entirely for magazines and ezines. I have played around a bit with a couple of PB ideas lately, but I don't see myself ever wanting to write long novels. I write and sell short stories, poetry/light verse, puzzles, articles, jokes/riddles/fillers and have also sold some greeting card captions. I love writing short things because then I always have lots of work out. This means a rejection won't sting as much because of all the things still out there. It also means I sell a lot more pieces (even though some don't pay that great).

I've sold many many things to all three magazines in the Bluffton group (Fun For Kidz, Hopscotch and Boys' Quest). And I have items scheduled for publication in all three over the next few years. These three magazines also sometimes re-publish a piece used in one of their other mags, paying me a second time when they do so. And educational testing places like SIRS and ETS have contacted the Bluffton magazines and/or me to use pieces (and, yes, I then was paid again). Ah reprints, I love 'em, and sell them when I can in both my children's and adult writing.

I've also sold lots of puzzles and a few poems to places such as Guide, Pockets, The Friend, Jack and Jill and Humpty Dumpty (these last two places aren't buying much new stuff lately, though I did have a puzzle in Jack and Jill earlier this year). I have a poem/puzzle scheduled for Bumples in September, though they are having some difficulties so I don't know what will happen there. Hopefully, they'll hang in there and right the ship.

I miss On the Line, Story Friends and Wee Ones, three former good markets for short stories, articles and puzzles.

The LA Times published a number of my children's short stories before they began having financial troubles, though I do notice they are still publishing stories sometimes on their Sunday Kids' Reading Room page. (Hmmm, maybe I ought to write and send them another story... First, however, I'll have to find out the current editor of this department.)

I've had some nice personal rejections from Highlights, and have a short story out to them right now (fingers crossed). And I've sold to other children's publications both print and ezine, as well.

Whatever, I'm always on the watch for new markets, because old (and often good) ones are always falling by the wayside. Such is the life of a magziine writer, and any other writer as well.

Oh, to those mentioning R.A.D.A.R -- I believe they became Kidz Chat. I sold them lots of puzzles back in my early years of writing for children. Then they began re-using stuff. And now I believe they, too, are gone. Grrrr!

Guy
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#26 - August 31, 2010, 10:59 PM
http://www.guybelleranti.com/
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Magazines have become much more specialized than when I began writing a million years ago. When you write a magazine article or story on spec, there are very few places to send it.  However, I am getting tired of waiting around for success with my books, so I plan to go back to more magazine writing.
#27 - September 01, 2010, 07:42 AM

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Anne Marie, I agree with your observation that there seems much less emphasis on magazine writing here on the Blue Board than there used to be.  I don't know for sure, but I think it's possibly due to how successful the board and many of its longer-time members have become.  When I first started here lots of people were fairly new in their writing careers and lots of people were writing for magazines.  People posted both magazine acceptances and magazine publications in the Good News, and lots of people cheered for them.

Many of those people who were just starting in their writing careers have gone on to publish one or more books and have changed their focus to that kind of writing.  In the meantime, lots of other successful book authors have been attracted to the board.  Good News posts now usually consist of "big" news--acquisitions of agents, book contracts, movie rights, awards, book releases, etc.  When news of an agent gets four pages of congratulation posts, and a magazine publication gets maybe 10 or 12 posts, it's not surprising that most members quit posting about magazines.  I know the moderators tried to encourage members to feel free to post about any and all good news, and I'm glad that some members have done that.  But I think most people don't.

I still sub to magazines, and I still get acceptances, but I don't ever post about those in Good News any more.

Because people aren't sharing their good news about magazine publications and maybe also their trials and tribulations about it, I think we've lost the sense of community that magazine writers once felt here on the Blue Board.  I'm guessing that a lot of them hang out on other writing boards where they feel there are more kindred spirits.

BTW, Guy, I'm glad to see you here on the Blue Board.  I've run across oodles of your pieces in a variety of magazines and have always been impressed with how prolific you are.
#28 - September 02, 2010, 02:58 PM

GailHennessey

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I continue to write for children's publications.I used to write regularly for Time for Kids and Scholastic News but with all the budget constraints, they rarely have needs this days. I also write for educational textbook companies when there are positions that interest me. Although I have written seven books for teachers/young people, I would still very much like to write a children's novel or adult novel(started two-one in the Mary Higgins Clark mode).
I developed a children's series (but they are really long stories not book length so I don't know if publisher would be interested) called Mrs. Portulaca Purpilopilis and the Purple Adventure Goggles, an eccentric substitute teacher who loves the color purple, taking students back in history to learn about different events/people. If anyone would like to review the stories, you can see them at my website:http://www.gailhennessey.com/index.shtml?MrsP.html
My website for teachers/young people and writing plays on famous people continue to keep me as busy as I'd like to be at this point in my life.
Gail
http://www.gailhennessey.com
#29 - September 02, 2010, 04:47 PM

C. Lee

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I have three non-fiction pieces waiting for me to return to them. I miss writing for magazines so much and I'd love to get back to that. Maybe next year.
#30 - September 02, 2010, 04:54 PM

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