Archive for the 'Markets for writers' Category

The Green Writer on Sierra Magazine

Susan W. ClarkBy Susan W. Clark

This month’s green market beckons with huge readership and very good pay rates. Sierra is published bi-monthly by Sierra Club and reaches 1.4 million readers. To quote from their guidelines, “We are looking for fine writing that will provoke, entertain, and enlighten this readership…Sierra is looking for strong, well-researched, literate writing on significant environmental and conservation issues.”

I’m pleased to note that women fill over half of their top editorial positions and that their guidelines show a moderate openness to new freelancers. Sierra’s content is 70 percent freelance written, but they do have a preference for working with writers they’ve used before. The good news is that once you send them a piece they like, you’ll have the inside track for more.

The magazine’s subtitle, “Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet,” gives clues to topics, style and tone that might attract the editor’s attention. The connection with Sierra Club means that you can seek out people and topics through your local Sierra Club chapter.

See if this freelance example from Sierra makes your creative juices surge. In a recent issue, the Green Cuisine department splashed the writing and photos of two freelancers across six pages. Their topic was food security and local gardens.

Departments include “The Green Life,” which showcases an upbeat take on green living, and “One Small Step,” which features first-person accounts of ordinary folks doing extraordinary things. These are both recommended spots for first-time freelancers.

The pay starts around $1 per word and Sierra pays on acceptance, which earns high marks. Please note they do not want e-mail queries or phone calls, and be prepared to wait a couple of months for a response to your paper and envelope query. Remember to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for that “yes, we want it” response.

Here’s the contact information:

Managing Editor, Sierra Magazine
85 Second Street, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441
Voice (415) 977-5656
Fax (415) 977-5794

Photographer, editor, and award-winning writer, Susan W. Clark is an ardent advocate for sustainability. The Utne Reader applauded her article “Sustainable Revolution” from In Good Tilth magazine as “world-changing.” She is a regular contributor to In Good Tilth and Touch the Soil. Her work has appeared in the Capitol Press, Portland Tribune, Small Farmer’s Journal, and Permaculture Activist. She edits Salt of the Earth, the quarterly journal of Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust. Her observations about living within our ecological means are posted at

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Who’s the Boss at Home?

hope_000.gifTime Management Mastery for Writers
By C. Hope Clark

If you run a family, you have managerial skills. If you have a large family under one roof, consider yourself a program director. The talents required are the same, with more politics in play than a government agency.

Managers from car dealerships to the IRS train on the basics of leading people. The only difference between their job and yours is that they get to fire a totally exasperating employee. You’re faced with yours for life and you don’t even get trained!

Step back and look at your family as a business, and you can improve efficiencies while keeping your writing goals in tact.

The Open Door Policy

Every leadership school of thought preaches some degree of open-door policy between manager and staff. Can your family come to you anytime with problems, dilemmas, and, yes, even criticism?

Joan Lloyd, a management consultant and syndicated columnist (, states if all is quiet, there may be an issue brewing and you don’t have a clue. On the contrary, if your open door revolves constantly because you answer all the questions and solve all the problems, you’re grooming folks to depend entirely on you, which can keep you from writing.

Strategic Planning
Does each family member know the personal plans, desires, and goals of the others, as well as the day-to-day activities? Strategic planning is crucial. If each staff member in a 100-employee office knew only that the company sold books and nothing else, imagine the chaos and financial disaster that would occur. But if each staff member knew the company’s goals, who was in charge of different benchmarks, and what each department was expected to accomplish, they’d work toward a more productive end. Families operate no differently. With everyone aware of and invested in each other’s goals as well as the family’s priorities, you can help each other be successful.

Passion Management
Nobody wants to work in a rut job. If your family members sense your excitement about and dedication to your career, your home, and family activities, they may catch the fever. Thrill and passion are infectious and downright intoxicating! A positive outlook can set a momentum for everyone to follow.

Business journals and professional magazines give management advice to millions every day. Adjust your frame of reference,read those pieces from a family manager’s viewpoint, and note how the concepts work the same. It’s called people skills. Whether you lead an eight-person staff in an office or a toddler, two pre-teens, a Type-A husband, and a mother-in-law, you need diplomacy, intelligence, and efficient management to meet goals, deal with adversity, and work together to deal with issues. Bring the best of your managerial skills to people who mean the most to you and they’ll be as loyal and self-empowered as a staff can get. And you’ll have more writing time than you ever thought possible.

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. Her magazine credits include Writer’s Digest, The Writer Magazine, ByLine Magazine, NextStep Teen, College Bound Teen, Landscape Management Magazine, TURF Magazine, and American Careers Magazine. Hope is a motivational soul known as “Freelance Hope” in many circles. 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 &

An Interview with Tracey Ryder of Edible Communities Magazines

Tracey Ryder, Publisher, Edible CommunitiesAgent & Editor Insights

By Cindy Hudson

Tracey Ryder didn’t intend to start a national phenomenon when she created Edible Ojai magazine with business partner Carol Topalian. She just wanted to produce a magazine about something she cared about: locally grown foods and the farmers who produce them. But shortly after their publication debuted, the women were swamped with calls from people around the country wanting to print a similar publication in their own areas. To meet the demand, they created Edible Communities to license other magazines with a similar format in communities nationwide. That was in 2004. Three years and five million readers later, the company will welcome its 25th Edible magazine into the fold, and there’s still a long list of communities in the queue.

I recently talked with Tracey about the commonalities and differences among these publications as well as the various opportunities for freelance writers.

Is there a common goal for Edible magazines?

Yes. We are striving to connect consumers with people in their communities who grow and produce local foods. We want to have a consistent brand in place, but we also let the local publishers have as much creative freedom as possible so the magazines don’t feel homogenized or like “cookie-cutter” publications.

Are most freelance contributors local to each magazine’s publishing area?

Most of the time editors work with local freelancers who know local stories. But there are opportunities for all different levels of writers. Beginning writers can get bylines and very seasoned, experienced natural food writers who happen to live in the community also contribute. In Santa Fe for example, Deborah Madison, a well-known food writer, is a contributor. And college students who are trying to get their feet wet as food writers are also featured. It’s a nice collection of different perspectives.

If a writer has an idea for a story that would work for more than one community, whom should she approach?

Writers can approach us at the headquarters level, and we always encourage them to contact the local editors as well. A lot of times we get story ideas that are specific to a region, for instance California or the Northeast, where we have clusters of magazines. So we forward those to the local publishers who decide as a group if they want to run the article(s) as regional piece(s). We’re usually able to pay a slightly higher fee to a writer who’s going to run something in multiple publications.

Are there opportunities for stories to run nationally?

We have one national column now called Edible Nation that’s in all the Edibles. People like Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan and Michael Ableman have contributed to that so far, and we’re very open to ideas for that column. Our Web site is also going through a major renovation, and it’s going to change a lot. There will be much more content that we’re creating specifically for the Web to keep that fresh and different from our printed publications. It will be a separate channel that we’ll probably begin using writers for in April or May.

What should writers know before pitching an Edible magazine on a story idea?

Obviously, they need to be knowledgeable about local foods. We say our publications are narrow and deep. Our subject matter is quite narrow, because we focus on regional, local food items that are fresh and in season. And it’s deep because we want to know everything we can about those items. We also love the human-interest side of all our editorials. Let’s say the story is about a winemaker or a cheese maker or a farmer. We really want to know who that person is or who their family is or what their motivation is for doing what they’re doing.

What do you like to see in a query?

Creative thinking is well rewarded. As much as we’ve done in this field, we definitely don’t know it all. And because we want to be narrow and deep and really get to know the communities we’re in, there’s so much information we can never find out ourselves. Writers who dig up ideas are our lifelines to what’s happening, and we really want to hear from them.

What’s the best way to query you?

E-mail works best because we’re so spread out. I traveled about 150,000 miles last year, and I wasn’t in any one place for more than seven days.

Contact Tracey at Links to Web sites for all 25 Edible publications can be found at


Cindy Hudson writes for national trade magazines, regional magazines, online publications and daily newspapers. Her Web site,, and its companion blog,, publishes reading lists, book reviews, author interviews and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at

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