Thursday, January 04, 2007

Top Paying Trades

I have written for some trade journals and would like to do more, so I read the recent roundup blog about trade journals with interest. None of the writers addressed what seems to be a sad point: many trade journals pay nothing, for they secure copy from companies or individuals who want the publicity. Others pay pennies per word and pay on publication(!). So...any recommendations on trades that pay well and pay on acceptance? I don't mean individual magazines(unless they want to be that specific), just the main corporate publishing companies.

As I've previously 'fessed up, I don't write for trades, and I didn't want to bug those generous writers who had previously offered up wise words on breaking into trades. Thus...I'm opening this one up to readers, many of whom have a lot of trade experience, I'm sure.

So, guys, if you know of good trade market, please do post about it! Remember: this advice thing is also about karma - put something out there, and something good is likely to come back you. And it's also wise to keep in mind that there is always plenty of work to go around. Offering up some market advice really won't cramp the pace of your own assignments. Trust me, I do it here almost every day, and I've never once regretted it.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sidebar Solutions

When you send an article query, do you also pitch an idea for the sidebar(s) that accompanies the final article, or does the editing team handle that themselves? Because what would happen if the editor likes the article pitch but doesn't see the sidebar as a fit, would that rule you out completely? Is it better to leave that open-ended?

Great question - one I wouldn't have thought of.

The answer is that it never hurts to include sidebar ideas. It demonstrates to the editor that you've really thought the pitch through and are taking the extra step to really deliver a bang-up query. Which means that you'll likely also deliver a bang-up article.

Of course, not all of these ideas will be used. Yes, some editors will assign sidebar ideas after you've landed the pitch or some stories might not even require sidebars. But still, they can be icing on the cake for a query. Another bonus: sometimes, an editor will read through your sidebar ideas and decide that one of them has the makings of a bigger story. Bam! You've landed another assignment without even trying.

Will an editor ax a query simply because he didn't like the sidebars? Not likely. Instead, he'd come back to you and ask you for new sidebars - this has happened to me a lot. Sidebars are like condiments: an editor isn't going to send back an entry simply because he doesn't like the ketchup that it comes with. Instead, he'll ask if you have mustard or relish or bbq sauce.

I generally include 2-3 sidebar ideas for each feature idea. But take a look at the column you're pitching for (for example, the As They Grow articles I write for Parents always have 2 sidebars, so I know to pitch at least that many), and tailor your query accordingly.

The toughest thing about sidebars, at least for me, is coming up with new and fresh ideas. Anyone out there have surefire methods to develop good sidebars? Or anyone have anything else to add on my advice?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Links to Learn From

Happy New Year! I hope you had a safe, wonderful celebration...and that your hangover ain't too brutal today. :) We made it out of the house (whoo!), but sadly, we were sacked out with hearty doses Nyquil by 11:00. (Damn those germs our son tracks in.) But hey, we made an effort.

Anyhoo, I just wanted to put up a quick post with two really informative links. In the first, Jen A. Miller, a fellow freelancer, discusses how to work with freelance writers to generate press and reviews for your book.

Here's her article for Poets and Writers.

Also, do check out Michael A. Stelzner's Writing White Pages. He recently named the top ten blogs for writers (I was one of them!! Thank you everyone who nominated me - what an honor!!), and as an addendum to that list, he asked each blogger to send him his or her favorite entry from the past year.

Here are the best posts from 2006. Some GREAT stuff in there, so do check it out.

Back later this week to answer more questions! Happy 2007!