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Resources for starting out in the non-fiction magazine market?

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I am interested in starting to write non-fiction magazine articles for the youth market. I’ve published articles in professional journals in my field. In those cases, I never had to query; the publication just contacted me to write an article.

An upcoming Cobblestone theme is in my area of expertise and I would really like to submit. I just don’t know how to go about querying – Send a completed article? Send my resume and a list of ideas for articles?

Can anyone direct me to a good resource for someone who is truly a beginner in subbing NF to kids magazines? Thank you so much!
#1 - August 20, 2012, 11:29 AM

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For Cobblestone, check their website to view submission guidelines. Each publication generally has its own guidelines to follow. In my experience, however, they usually want to see the completed article.
Also, here's a link to an article you may find useful -
http://www.ochiltreebooks.com/BREAKING-INTO-THE-NONFICTION-MARKET~81.aspx
A search of past threads right here may also turn up some useful info.
Best of luck!
#2 - August 20, 2012, 03:30 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink

www.juliemurphybooks.com

Cobblestone has their own set requirements. You have to send a short query letter that includes subject, kind of article and proposed length, with a detailed one-page outline and an extensive bibliography. Then you also include a writing sample. Preferrably of something that has been published. I know Vijaya on here got her first bite from them using a published piece for adults, so that didn't seem to be a problem.

You should be able to find the submission guidelines on their page.
#3 - August 20, 2012, 03:32 PM
THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC (Boyds Mills Press, Fall 2018)

Thank you both for your insights. That is a great article, Julie. And Amanda Sue, it was good to hear that others have started with adult writing samples.

I think I maybe have to trust my instincts more. While I've read the guidelines, they are intimidating (I know that sounds silly!). So when it says "Extensive bibiography if appropriate" I keep second-guessing myself (for one of my ideas it's appropriate; for another I feel it would not make sense and maybe I have to just go with that).

Thank you again!
#4 - August 20, 2012, 04:10 PM

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Christine, the Cobblestone group of magazines love for *experts* to write the articles. Pitch your ideas (and you do want to send in an outline and bib) and you can submit your adult work as samples. If you have any children's writing credits, do mention them. I had a total of three at the time, but I told them if I can write for Ladybug and Highlights, I can certainly write for Odyssey.

Good luck,
Vijaya
#5 - August 21, 2012, 05:46 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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When I went to the Highlights week-long workshop on writing for magazines in March, one of our teachers was Lou Waryncia, head of the Cobblestone family of magazines.  He stressed the importance of a good lead ("Kids will bale if the first 2 or 3 sentences don't grab them") and he suggested including the lead paragraph in your query letter.  He said the query should also list the intended age range, and think about how you can speak to both sexes and how you'll give the article your unique slant.  When I queried, I sent a cover letter, an outline of my article, and a bibliography of references.  Unfortunately, these are magazines that do not respond unless they are interested, and I never heard back so I'm assuming they weren't.  But best of luck to you!  They are great magazines.
#6 - August 21, 2012, 10:37 AM

Thank you all so much for the tips. I feel much better prepared!
Waffles--the logline concept makes perfect sense; that really helped me understand what I need to be pitching.
Vijaya--wow, you had some great credits when you started subbing NF; I only have credits in online mags but I will mention them along with my adult credits.
Thak you all again!
#7 - August 23, 2012, 02:56 PM

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