Archive for November, 2008

Writing & Selling Personal Essays: 12 Holiday Bonus Markets

Kristin Bair O'KeeffeBy Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

Happy holidays, everyone! To get you ready for 2009, I thought I’d end this year with a jumbo list of paying markets for your personal essays. I’ve included a little something for everyone so get to it!

“My Turn,” Newsweek
Weekly essay. 850-900 words. Stiff competition (Newsweek receives over 800 submissions a month for this spot), but a great challenge!

“Women in the Outdoors,” Bugle Magazine
Monthly essay in the Elk Foundation’s magazine. 1,000-3,000 words. Gotta be outdoorsy to write this one (and know a thing or two about elk).
An online magazine looking for personal essays by musicians and music industry professionals. Any rockers out there? 800-3,000 words.

Good Old Boat: The Sailing Magazine for the Rest of Us!
Are you a fan of cruising boats from the 1950s-1990s? Here’s your market! A couple of good opportunities in this publication: “Reflections” (350-750 words) and “Cruising Memories” (1,500-2,500 words).

“Destinations,” Backpacker
Nine issues per year. Personal essays about a recent trip experience. Most essays include an Expedition Planner sidebar (useful info about the destination). 1,500-5,000 words.

Midwest Today
A quarterly, general interest magazine. Looking for short, true-life stories set, of course, in the Heartland. Up to 2,000 words.

“The Last Word,” Plenty: The World in Green
Bimonthly print and online magazine with a focus on protecting the environment. Essays must have a strong eco-connection. Maximum of 800 words.

“First Person,” Hemispheres Magazine
Monthly inflight magazine of United Airlines. Essays cover a wide range of topics. 1,200-1,400 words.

“My Testimony,” Essence
Monthly lifestyle magazine for African-American women. “My Testimony” explores some aspect of emotional life, relationships, or culture. Requests a query letter for essays. Monthly circulation of over one million. Challenging, but a great opportunity.

Alaska Magazine
Publishes ten issues a year. General interest magazine about Alaska, for Alaskans, by Alaskans. Requests a query letter for essays.

The Funny Times
Monthly humor forum. What’s funny? Anything! Food, politics, death, pets, etc. 500-700 words. Great place to work your funny bone.

The Subway Chronicles
Print and online forum for stories about the New York subway system. Lots of nonfiction opportunities: essays (up to 3,000 words), nonfiction shorts, “Top 5” lists. (Pays only for essays.)

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe moved to Shanghai, China, in April 2006 and has been writing about this incredible country ever since. Her blog, “Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse,” chronicles her adventures (and misadventures) in Shanghai and garners the attention of readers all around the world. Her essays about the China experience can be found in The Baltimore Review and To Shanghai With Love (forthcoming). As a respected writing instructor, she has taught hundreds of writers over the past fourteen years and is currently teaching both fiction and nonfiction writing in Shanghai.

Fund Your Writing Projects: Put On Your Party Hat

Gigi RosenbergBy Gigi Rosenberg

When you’re raising money to fund your creative efforts, don’t overlook the possibility of fundraising on your own. What do I mean by that? I mean you actually ask your friends and colleagues to donate money for your project.

This “ask” can take many forms. One way is to throw a fundraising party. This party can be a swanky wine and cheese tasting in a friend’s home where you read some of your work and then ask for donations. It can be a theatrical event where ticket prices are donations. You can raffle something off. You can host a donor dinner. You can even solicit donations from businesses to pay for the refreshments or party favors at your fundraiser. The list is endless. Morrie Warshawki’s book The Fundraising Houseparty is a good resource to check for more ideas.

You can also write a direct mail fundraising letter where you solicit donations from people you know and who know your work. This is easier than throwing a party or putting on an event, but it will still take guts to ask people directly for money.

I raised several hundred dollars with a direct mail campaign when I wanted to attend an expensive workshop with a prestigious instructor. I still ended up applying for a grant to fund the full cost but the few hundred dollars I raised on my own showed the funder that I had a team of individual donors behind me who believed in my work enough to write me a check.

As I’m sure you can imagine, doing your own fundraising is not for the faint of heart. The whole topic of money-having it, spending it, asking for it-can bring up your own beliefs, fears and neuroses. However, the sooner you discover these, the sooner you can sort through them and find your own clarity.

To be successful at any fundraising, you need to believe in your project enough to be willing to ask others to help you bring it into being. Fundraising forces you to clarify your project, consider your audience, and create the highest quality work. You need to do these things anyway, so fundraising just helps you with a process you are already engaged in. That can be scary, but no scarier than going to the writing desk and creating your work.

Even if you only earn $300 from throwing a fundraising party, that $300 may be what separates you from another grant applicant who doesn’t have any other sources of revenue. Your project is much more competitive in the eyes of funders if your budget shows money you have already raised towards your project. And fundraising on your own shows chutzpah and determination, two qualities that granting organizations find irresistible.

This month: Put on your party hat! Brainstorm the most fun, creative ways you can to invite people to invest in your work and in your future as an artist.

Gigi Rosenberg writes about motherhood, relationships and the writing life. Her latest essay “Signora” appears in the Seal Press anthology The Maternal is Political.  Her work has been published in Parenting, Writer’s Digest, The Oregonian, The Jewish Review and featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting. Gigi coaches writers on how to read to an audience. She is currently writing Get Your Art into the World: How to Fund Your Creative Endeavors a book to supplement her national workshops on grant writing.

Get Known Featured in NYT Bestselling Author’s Blog Today!

Allison Winn-Scotch has been kind enough to feature me in an interview about getting known in her blog today!

She’s got a great blog that demystifies the publishing industry. If you don’t see your favorite topic in the most current posts, check the archives. She’s covered tons of ground over the past couple of years.

You may also want to add her new NYT Bestselling book to your holiday shopping list. Check it out! Allison’s next book was just announced in Publisher’s Lunch as a “Significant Deal.”

Clearly Allison Winn-Scotch is a writer mama we can all learn from.

Guide to Query Letters Amazon Spike on Monday, December 1st

Participate in the December 1st Amazon Spike for Wendy “Ask Wendy” Burt Thomas’ new book: The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters.Details coming soon!

Mark your calendar for Monday, December 1st.

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine

Nov/Dec Freelancing for Newspapers Challenge: Writing Holiday Articles

Sue Fagalde LickBy Sue Fagalde Lick
The holidays will soon be here and writing holiday articles may be on your mind. For magazines, which have long lead times, it’s already too late to submit for this year, but there still may be time for you to approach daily or weekly newspapers. Every newspaper must come up with articles related to the holidays and it gets hard for editors to come up with new ideas year after year, so a freelancer who can offer something original is a great early present for Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or . . . Remember that everyone is not Christian. I once wrote a piece for Bay Area Parent detailing the traditions of three different ethnic groups. Other standard pieces include how to pick out a Christmas tree, how to find or make inexpensive gifts, and special foods and drinks for the holidays.

How-to pieces are popular. How many of us groan at the thought of all the extra tasks we face at this time of year? Anything that will make it easier is welcome by readers and by editors. But how-tos aren’t the only way to go. Profiles of people who do something special during the holidays, business trends, opinion pieces, holiday lore, reviews of seasonal books, recordings or performances, personal memories of holidays past, or histories of holiday traditions are all possibilities. New Year’s stories are welcome, too, because of all those staffers taking the holidays off.

Editors want something different from the standard fare. For example, with people so busy and postage up to 42 cents, do folks still send Christmas cards? Is an e-card sufficient? In this time of tight money, are people doing the holidays differently this year? How do families who live far apart, don’t get along or are divided by divorce deal with the challenges of their situations?

If you’ve got a holiday idea buzzing in your head, write that query and email it this week. If you don’t have an idea yet, put on your stocking cap and start brainstorming.

YOUR CHALLENGE THIS MONTH: Come up with three ideas for holiday season story that you have not already read. Pick the best one and send a query to the most appropriate market. Don’t forget all those specialized newspapers for kids, seniors, religious groups, dog lovers, etc. Can you smell the pine needles? Start typing.

You are welcome to share your results or discuss the challenge here, as well as at my Freelancing for Newspapers blog. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

Sue Fagalde Lick, author of Freelancing for Newspapers, worked as a staff writer, photographer and editor for newspapers in California and Oregon for many years before moving into full-time freelancing. In addition to countless newspaper and magazine articles, she has published three books on Portuguese Americans. She has taught workshops at Oregon Coast Community College, online for and for Willamette Writers and California Writers Club. She offers an online course on reviews as well as individual coaching. See her website and visit her blog.

Thank you, 2009 Writers on the Rise Contributors / Editors

Many thanks to our great 2009 editorial team!


Editors / Columnists:

Christina Katz, Publisher, Editor
& Web Slave

Sage Cohen, Managing Editor

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe, Associate Editor

Cindy Hudson,
Associate Editor


Wendy Burt
Lori Russell
C. Hope Clark
Gregory A. Kompes
Sue Fagalde Lick
Gigi Rosenberg

Columnist Bio Page

Writerpreneur: Electronic Gift Giving

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory Kompes

We all love to receive gifts. As you make out your holiday gift list, don’t forget to include those who give back to you all year, your e-mail mailing list recipients. The holiday season is the perfect time to thank your loyal following.

Simple e-cards and e-postcards make nice tokens of appreciation. Most autoresponders have some type of e-card or e-postcard feature, so creating and sending out a holiday Thank You should be rather easy.

An even better idea is to give a gift that your audience will not only enjoy, but find useful. Why not send out an e-book to your audience. It could be an older one from your collection, or a new white paper or special report on your niche topic. This is a super way to connect with your following, further establish your expert status, and spread a little good cheer at the same time.

Two years ago, several fiction and poet friends of mine put together a twenty-page e-book for the holiday season. Each person in the group contributed their favorite family recipe, a brief poem or one page essay or story themed around holiday memories, and a bio that included both a photo and a website address. The selections were then combined into a lovely e-book with a table of contents and a brief introduction. All the contributors sent the same book out to their email lists. Not only did this make for a special gift, the e-book also served as a cross marketing project that introduced everyone in the e-book to everyone else’s lists.

Here are a few more recipe e-book ideas: cookies, cakes, appetizers, cocktails, or eggnogs. Another idea is to create a food theme collection, say recipes with peppermint, apples, or spices from around the world.

If you offer services, an electronic gift certificate makes a nice gift for your audience. For example, if you offer coaching services, you might provide a fifty percent off discount or a buy-one, get-one free offer. This might be just the impetus to introduce someone on your list to your services and help fill up the usually quiet January schedule. If you have several books in print, you could give one at half price when two are purchased. This not only spreads good will, but it also helps you clean up your stock room before the end-of-the-year inventory count.

It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates religious holidays. Instead of sending out a Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa gift, why not deliver a Thanksgiving or New Year’s e-book to your following?

Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.

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