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Preparing for presentation--please help!

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Hi fellow magazine writers,

I'm preparing a presentation for a writers' fair at my local library. Topic: Getting Started in Kids' Magazine Writing. Would you help me by answering any or all of the questions below? Pretty please? I'll offer  :donut2  :donut2 or  :cupcake  :cupcake as payment. (Or  :star2  :star2, for those on a diet.)  :thankyou

1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
2. What are the pluses of writing for kids' magazines?
3. As a magazine writer, what would you want to see included on a presentation about kids' magazine writing?
4. What are your favorite resources (books, sites, etc.) for magazine writers?

#1 - February 18, 2016, 02:37 PM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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Sara, this is one of my favorite topics and I promise I'll come back to it after the lacrosse game.

Vijaya
#2 - February 18, 2016, 02:54 PM
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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I'd just like to say that Vijaya is an EXPERT on this topic! I attended her workshop at a SCBWI conference in Charlotte and loved every second of it! Thanks, Vijaya! And, Sara, you're very fortunate to have such a wonderful presenter to  :help2 you!   ::-)
#3 - February 18, 2016, 03:11 PM

1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
-I've had people question whether I actually get paid. ?
-Also, they might be surprised to hear how long it takes to get a response.

2. What are the pluses of writing for kids' magazines?
-Getting your work out to the public. (I think Highlights has readers in the millions)
-Seeing your work professionally illustrated. Can't beat that feeling! It's so fun!
- Making connections with editors, illustrators, and other writers. (But that can take a while)
- Building credentials.

3. As a magazine writer, what would you want to see included on a presentation about kids' magazine writing?
-Coverage of all the major mags and what they're like.
-Different kinds of subs (nf, f, rebus, poetry, puzzles, etc.)

4. What are your favorite resources (books, sites, etc.) for magazine writers?
-I mainly write for Highlights and I love checking out the published work they have on their site.
-Also, maybe touch on the fact that Cricket mags recently started putting out calls for subs w/ specific themes
-Ev has a great newsletter for magazine writers.


Looking forward to hearing Vijaya's wisdom on this topic!

Good luck with your presentation! I'm sure you'll be awesome.
#4 - February 18, 2016, 05:38 PM
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Thanks Lab. I do so love writing for magazines, I sort of feel like a magazine evangelist.
I'll add to Diana's excellent response.

1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
- it's not worthwhile to pursue this if you're writing books
2. What are the pluses of writing for kids' magazines?
- honing your writing, becoming a professional, building a reputation (good or bad)
- many doors open because book editors read magazines too
- lots of times you can test an idea in a magazine market before you develop into a book
- if you have a brain that buzzes with lots of ideas, writing for magazines is a good way to clear the brain
- learn to finish things
3. As a magazine writer, what would you want to see included on a presentation about kids' magazine writing?
- go over a variety of markets, the best ones, and tips on how to break into them
- the craft of writing short stories
4. What are your favorite resources (books, sites, etc.) for magazine writers?
- Best of Children's Market (this is from Institute of Children's Lit (ICL) and although it hasn't been updated, it's a fabulous book of various magazine stories with the bonus of having the story behind the story, how the authors developed their ideas)
- A Treasure Trove of Opportunity by Melissa Abramowitz (how to write and sell articles for children's magazines)
- Children's Magazine Market Guide from ICL -- keep it in your bathroom with sticky notes
- ICL Basic Course (I am a graduate of both their magazine and book courses and taught the magazine course for several years and loved it)
- library: read various magazines to get a feel for where your work might best fit

Sara, I hope you have lots of fun turning others onto magazine writing. Please come back and report how it went.
Thank you for the cupcakes and sparkles!
Vijaya
#5 - February 18, 2016, 06:05 PM
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 05:50 AM by Vijaya »
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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This is great! Here you go, lab, Diana, and Vijaya:  :donut2 :cupcake :star2 :donut2 :cupcake :star2 Thanks so much for taking time to respond!

I'm so glad I posted this, because you all are coming up with things I wouldn't have thought to mention, even though I, too, feel like a magazine evangelist. :) Wish I'd seen your presentation, Vijaya.

Anyone else? The more, the better!

#6 - February 18, 2016, 06:21 PM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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Wow! Diana and Vijaya have done an excellent job of touching on important points.

Here are just a few more:

1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
--How long it sometimes takes for accepted pieces to be published. (It can be more than 10 years.)
--That magazines may edit your pieces without letting you know. Seeing the published piece can sometimes be a surprise.

2. What are the pluses of writing for kids' magazines?
--If you've been getting oodles of rejections on your book mss and are feeling discouraged, getting that acceptance from a magazine and seeing you name in print can really be a boost to the morale.
--The turnaround time from submission to publication is usually a lot shorter for magazines than for books. (There are, of course, exceptions--see above.)
--It can be just plain fun!

3. As a magazine writer, what would you want to see included on a presentation about kids' magazine writing?
--As the others have said, going over the best markets and giving tips for how to break into them is important. But I would also think it'd be good to share information about some lesser known, maybe newer markets, that might be easier to break into than the top tier markets. I'm personally not adverse to subbing even to no-pay markets, especially when a writer is first starting out.
--Maybe talk about the importance in NF of narrowing down a topic.
#7 - February 18, 2016, 07:07 PM

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1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
That only children read children's magazines, when in fact many people in children's publishing read them too.
People often think you can get published faster in magazines than in books, when in fact, it can take many years to see an accepted piece get published.  Highlights has had many pieces of mine for nearly ten years with no publication date in sight.
Some people think it's a quick way to make a buck, but the reality is I've waited seven years for one publication to appear and another year and a half after that to get the $25 check. 


2. What are the pluses of writing for kids' magazines?
It's a great way to earn writing credits and build your knowledge and self-esteem as a writer.
You may be contacted by testing companies or textbook publishers wishing to reprint your published magazine work.
You get experience working with editors and can build relationships with those you work with regularly.  Sometimes these editors will contact you when they need specific pieces written.  Also, magazine editors sometimes become book editors and remember working with you.

3. As a magazine writer, what would you want to see included on a presentation about kids' magazine writing?
How to submit.  What distinguishes a magazine piece from a picture book manuscript.

4. What are your favorite resources (books, sites, etc.) for magazine writers?


#8 - February 18, 2016, 08:29 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
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I forgot about the long waiting time ... I had to withdraw a ms from Ladybug and I'm still waiting on a couple of pieces to be published by Highlights (it's past 10 yrs for me too :( ). At a conference, one of the editors said one ms was published after 27 years. :faint 

Rebecca, I had to laugh about the $25 check. With my first Ladybug check, we went out for ice cream.
Vijaya
#9 - February 19, 2016, 05:55 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces



1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
--How long it sometimes takes for accepted pieces to be published. (It can be more than 10 years.)
--That magazines may edit your pieces without letting you know. Seeing the published piece can sometimes be a surprise.


 :yup
#10 - February 19, 2016, 07:53 AM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

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Thanks for chiming in, Ev and Rebecca. This is so helpful! (And here ya go:  :donut2 :cupcake :star2)

Besides being helpful, it's kinda fun just to hang out with fellow mag writers and hear some of your experiences and opinions. So often I feel alone in my love for this genre--I go to conferences and there's very rarely any workshop about mag writing. The vibe is that everyone seems to want to be a PB writer or a novel writer, and mag writing feels like the it's the unwanted runt of the litter. There are so many good things about it, and I hope to entice some people to try it!

Oh, and I thought it was unusual that I have a story at HL that's going on 9 years. Guess not!

#11 - February 19, 2016, 07:55 AM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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You should pitch a magazine workshop, Sara. So many people don't consider it because it seems throwaway ... but once they realize the great benefits, they are converted. The best part about doing a workshop like this is that the following year, people will come up to you and tell you where they have acceptances.  :stars3

Vijaya
#12 - February 19, 2016, 09:59 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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Okay, BBer's, this is just too fantastic because I am presenting on the exact same topic in July!!! Thanks for doing all the heavy lifting for me!

I would just add that a huge plus for me is having my magazine work published alongside some of the greats in children's literature!  Eilieen Spinelli, Valeri Gorbachev, Joy Cowley, Nancy White Carlstrom, Greg Pizzoli --- wowzer!

And, if any of my nonwriter friends were to question the legitimacy of magazine writing (which they never would but still..) I would whip out a New Yorker and point to some of the world's greatest novelists --- writing for a magazine!

 :dancer

#13 - February 19, 2016, 01:12 PM
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 01:14 PM by Stephanie Shaw »
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:yay Stephanie!!!
#14 - February 19, 2016, 01:37 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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Glad to help with the lifting, Stephanie. :) And thanks for the input!
#15 - February 19, 2016, 02:17 PM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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Quote
You should pitch a magazine workshop, Sara.

For many years, when I filled out the evaluation at my local annual conference, I asked for more workshops on mag writing. In ten years, I think there's only been one (which was awesome, by the way, given by the amazing Marilyn Kratz). For the past few years, I've wondered why I don't do it myself. Maybe this presentation will give me the courage to finally pitch it, Vijaya!
#16 - February 19, 2016, 02:21 PM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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How to format your manuscript for submission? Not sure if it was mentioned already. When I was first subbing, I didn't leave enough white space and I think I left two spaces after periods.

And I love this post! Learning just by reading it! Good luck with your presentation!
#17 - February 23, 2016, 08:16 AM
Anita N. Amin
RAJA’S PET CAMEL (Cardinal Rule Press, 2020); THE LEGACY OF RASHMI BAZAAR (Teacher Created Materials, Oct 2019) And more in 2020-2021

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Thanks for chiming in, Starfish! :)
#18 - February 23, 2016, 08:21 AM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
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Sara, are you still looking for input or have you wrapped up your presentation?
#19 - February 24, 2016, 06:50 AM
Kirsten W. Larson
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Hi Kirsten,

I'm still working on it. (It's not until early April, actually.) I'd LOVE more input!

Thanks!

#20 - February 24, 2016, 08:19 AM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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In that case... (and hopefully I'm not being too duplicative).

1. What are some misconceptions children's writers might have about magazine writing?
Misconception: It doesn't pay much. I've had magazines pay up to 50 cents a word. For a thousand-word article, that's a lot.
Misconception:It's too hard to break into. It really depends on the magazine. Highlights and National Geographic Kids are tough, but if you are willing to write for a themed magazines like Muse, ASK, and Boys Quest, those are much easier to break into. Plus in many cases they want a proposal only, not a full article, which can be a big time saver.
2. What are the pluses of writing for kids' magazines?
You get to hone your writing skills -- compelling opening hooks and lovely language. For me, I used magazines to get the clips I needed to break into school and library nonfiction, which was my ultimate goal.
3. As a magazine writer, what would you want to see included on a presentation about kids' magazine writing?
I think practical tips are always helpful. I remember Vijaya answering my question about "what should an outline look like?" when I was trying to put together a pitch letter and outline for an ASK query.
4. What are your favorite resources (books, sites, etc.) for magazine writers?
Evelyn Christensen's site and email newsletter are fantastic. Other than that, I go straight to the guidelines at the magazines. I use EasyBib for biographies (online Web tool).

Good luck!

Kirsten
#21 - February 25, 2016, 06:38 AM
Kirsten W. Larson
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Thank you, Kirsten!  I was going to bring up payment in my talk, so I'm especially glad for your input on that.

A question for you and others, even with that 50 cents/word (which seems a lot to me, too), do you think writing books is still always going to pay more than magazines? I've never written a book, so I don't know. Even if that's true, I suppose if you compare books and magazines payment per word, mags might sometimes come out ahead, yes?

#22 - February 25, 2016, 01:03 PM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

http://saramatson.com/

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Thanks for nod, Kirsten :)

Sara, some magazines pay top dollar. Books are a whole another kettle of fish though and rates vary wildly (just like with magazines) but in general you'll earn more with books than with magazines. You want to express it in $$/hr though so you can compare the rates -- some of my books have taken only a couple of hours to write, edit and polish because they came fully realized to me so the pay was like $100/hr. It doesn't happen often but when it does, woo-hoo! And yeah, magazine work comes out ahead if a book publisher is going to pay you a pittance (and some publishers will try to lowball you). Back to magazines. I know a lady who writes for the Christian market and she makes a lot by selling reprint rights. Since there's hardly any overlap of readership in different denominations (and there are a LOT of Protestant denoms), the editors are happy to buy something that will be fresh for their readers.

Depending on how much time I have, I go over various rights. This is eye opening for many new writers.

Vijaya



#23 - February 25, 2016, 01:18 PM
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Interesting. I'm learning a lot from you guys!  :thankyou
#24 - February 25, 2016, 02:35 PM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
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I'll piggyback on Vijaya. I keep track of all my hours in projects in Slimtimer (online Web spreadsheets). If I am writing a 1,000-word article and getting 50 cents a word, I can make as much as I can on some book projects, which pay more but often take much longer to write.

There are few magazines that pay as well as ASK. I will point out one that pays even better -- Boys' Life (Boy Scout Magazine) pays $1 a word (or at least it did a couple of years ago). I wrote a 1,000-word article for them once. That was a good deal. Now that I'm thinking about it, I should send another proposal!

Kirsten
#25 - February 26, 2016, 06:03 AM
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Just want to say thank you again to all here who answered my questions and helped me out. My presentation went well and I think I was able to offer a lot of useful information to the attendees. I can't say I enjoyed the presenting part of it too much, but I made it through. :)

 :thankyou
#26 - April 21, 2016, 04:36 PM
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Ah! I almost replied, and then saw this was an older thread. I didn't see it in February. I think I was busy trying to meet a magazine guideline.

Yay for magazine writers!
#27 - April 21, 2016, 05:19 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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