Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The rest of the answer

The question below is part of the same question I answered last week, but now I'm tackling it in more detail.

I have a hard time convincing myself that magazine, newspaper, book publishers would be interested in what I have to write.


There are many reasons why a magazine, newspaper, or book publisher might be interested in what you have to write.

What hobbies to you have? What interests? What expertise? Who can you interview? Who do you know? What makes them interesting? What things have you learned?

The person who asked this question is a photographer who travels around the country with his wife who is a midwife. They stay in an area for several months while she works and he photographs the area. Then they move on. He is also a conservationist. There are so many things he could write about. Let me list a few:

1. Photography
2. Conservation
3. Specific animals (birds, cats/lions, deer, etc.)
4. Outdoors
5. Hiking
6. Camping
7. Travel
8. Diary of a modern-day midwife (personal experience).
9. How-to (photography, travel, home health care, etc.)
10. Adjusting to life on the road.
11. Life on the road (personal experience).
12. Where and/or how to find a good place to…

Now, if you take those areas of interest and target either a specific magazine or specific area (newspapers), you will find editors interested in what you have to write, especially if you are a decent writer.

Many writers pass on the regional magazines, but I have found them wonderful to work for. They love to get my articles and stories and I get paid around a hundred bucks for a fairly easy-to-write article with little changes needed. If you write one of those for each of the twelve months most magazines publish, you have a nice income of $1200. That’s just for one magazine. Often the stories overlap with little changes to fit other markets.

Writing for nationals pays more, but you face tougher competition, more back-and-forth editing, and probably a once-a-year article. The pay often ends up being about the same and you often have to live with an edited version of your article that you’re not real thrilled with. Still, it’s nice to try those once in a while.

Another perk in writing for regionals is that you become a big fish in a little pond. People love to see my articles about them and their neighborhoods, and that encourages me to write more.

Then after you write a column or series of articles for several years, you end up with enough fodder for a book. Now, that you’ve been writing regularly, you also have a good place for free advertising of your book and can often publish some of the chapters in the magazines to whet your reader’s appetite for more. Both you and the editors come out winners!

Writing for newspapers can really keep you jumping! You may end up writing weekly or even daily. Whew! I don’t think I could handle the stress! On the other hand, having deadlines really keeps me writing, and I’ve discovered that the more I write the easier it becomes.

Now, if you add some good photos to go along with your articles, you have a sweet deal. If the editor has a similar article to choose from, they will most often choose the one with nice photos over the one that doesn’t have photos. This is more true for regional magazines than national. The other sweet part of the deal is that readers also seem to choose to read the articles with photos over the ones without.

So, this should give you a lot to think about. List your hobbies and interests, then grab a Writer’s Market, visit a local magazine rack, check the internet and see who might be interested in what you have to share. If you are a quilter, check out the quilt shops for specialty mags. If you are a hunter, check out a sports shop…you get the idea.

Have fun! And be sure to leave comments here on what has worked for you. It’s nice to help one another out.


At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy, You know I previously haven't been interested in article writing but your persistance and help in class has got me thinking of two articles. I identified one because of a conversation with a friend. She said to me with tears in her eyes, "All I want in my life is one true love."
I know who that is. And I agree with her. So I have a response started. Elle Bea

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Sandy Cathcart said...

Elle Bea,

That sounds like a great article idea! Go for it!


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