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.

Books for your library by Writers on the Rise Contributors

Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz

By Christina Katz
For Writer’s Digest Books

The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters

Coming in December!
By Wendy Burt Thomas
For Writer’s Digest Books

Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen

Coming in March 2009!
By Sage Cohen
For Writer’s Digest Books

Writing for Newspapers by Sue Fagalde Lick

By Sue Fagalde Lick
For Quill Driver Books

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine
By C. Hope Clark
For Funds for Writers

Writer Mama by Christina Katz

By Christina Katz
For Writer’s Digest Books

Writing Roots: Writing is the Best Revenge

Christina Katz By Christina Katz
Beginning writers often struggle with permission issues. We may wonder, Who do we think we are to choose a path like writing? We may feel that writing is selfish or self-indulgent. We may struggle with negative internalized voices that tell us our work stinks or our efforts and energy are a waste of time. We may feel like we can’t write because it’s not practical, profitable or likely that we will succeed.

For anyone who has ever had any of this kind of stinkin’ thinkin’, I’d offer this: write anyway. Write because the mere act of writing is an act of self-expression and is therefore radical. Write because writing can move you from immobilized-by-self-doubt into empowered by self-confidence.

I should know. This is what writing has done for me. I use the word “empowered” purposely. It means to “give power to” and “to make powerful.” From my own experience, the power to put words on the page cannot come from anywhere else. Real power can only come from within. Empowerment comes from doing, even when you feel just the opposite of powerful-even when your own resistance bogs you down and threatens to drown you.

The more you dare to do, the more you fight the lure of entropy, the more empowered you will feel. Therefore:

No matter how impractical, you must write.
No matter how unlikely that you will succeed, you must write.
No matter how many other folks look at you askance, or question the devotion of your time, or even scowl or frown or ask if you are crazy, you still must write.

I say to hell with practicality. Show me a person who has said yes to his- or herself, and I see an empowered person. I can’t think of anything more refreshing than a person in touch with her expression in the world.

The world is full of no. The world is full of shadows and fear and dread. Real power comes from the inside. When you let yourself act on who you think you are, you can go from shackled to liberated. You can open the door to any prison you’ve formerly chosen to live inside and walk right out the door.

The word yes is like a magic elixir. Try it out for yourself. Just for one day, say yes to yourself all day. You feel like taking a break from work? Do it. You feel like screaming into a pillow while you pound on the bed with all your might. Do it. You feel like cranking up the music and dancing around wildly? Do. It. You feel like doing nothing? Do nothing.

Do you feel like writing?

I think you can probably see where I’m going with this.

If you want to write, write.

And take note. Deprivation, especially the kind that becomes monotonous, is a form of self-abuse and many have made an art form of it. Deprivation creates misery, which is a contagious disease.

By the way, don’t try to rescue miserable people. Save yourself instead. At the very least, put on your own air mask first.

Back to today. What’s it going to be? Do you want to take twenty minutes to let yourself write today? It sure beats being miserable.

I say, let yourself write. Let your words rip and roar. It really is the best revenge and it just might save your life.

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer’s Digest Books). She started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on Good Morning America. She teaches writing career development, hosts the Northwest Author Series, and is the publisher of several e-zines including Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs and Get Known Before the Book Deal, and speaks at MFA programs, literary events, and conferences around the country.

Time Management Mastery: Stationary Packs a One-Two Punch

October 2007 Family Fun MagazineBy C. Hope Clark
Writing magazines often carry articles about how to format a query or proposal to look professional. But what about the other times we communicate? We email so much these days that we forget about letter etiquette, even though letter etiquette is important, as there are many times that an email isn’t appropriate. Here are a list of supplies you may want to keep on hand:

  1. Plain paper. Make it white, crisp and clean. Insure your ink or toner is at the high quality level and doesn’t smudge.
  2. Printed stationery. That split-second of recognition achieved with pre-printed paper and envelopes places you a tiny bit ahead of the game. Professionalism opens so many doors and may be what it takes to snare someone’s attention long enough to read your proposal.
  3. Thank-you cards. A supply of tasteful, very simple thank-you notes should be within arm’s reach at all times and oft remembered. In these busy times, we forget to send words of appreciation outside a quick email with a one-line “thank you.” Drop a hand-written thank-you note in the real mail when you feel honored or grateful for the attention or assistance from another.
  4. Note cards. You mail books and magazines, often to customers and peer writers, and don’t want the formality of a typed letter. Keep a supply of writing-related note cards or simple cards with your initial. Spirited Woman offers beautiful note cards with embedded wild flower seeds in them for those special notes of appreciation.
  5. Postcards. Keep a supply of postcards that flaunt your work or website. They can deliver that short note in a package or be a means to contact someone whose e-mail address you forgot. Vistaprint and Earthly Charms are just two online suppliers of reasonably-priced postcards.

If you want to go a step further, consider personalized sticky notes and holiday/Christmas cards. Try not to let an opportunity pass to exploit your writing career. You never know when that extra effort results in a sale or a contract gig.

C. Hope Clark is founder and editor of, annually recognized by Writer’s Digest in its poll of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. She delivers four newsletters each week to thousands with her specialty being grants and income opportunities for writers of all sizes. She’s published over 200 articles on paper and online. Those reluctant to promote their writing cherish her trade paperback The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success. Find more hope for your writing career at &

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