Sunday, October 23, 2005

PANEL: Magazine Writing


TODAY'S PANEL IS : Barbara A Custer, Kathryn Lay, LaShaunda C. Hoffman

Are you interested in learning about writing for magazines, this is the room for you.

Post your question in the comments section.


Shelia said...

Good morning,

Is there a website to find out writer's submission guidelines for magazines or do you have to call the magazine directly to find out?

Shelia (Badge#16)

SORMAG said...

Hi Sheila,

You can check the website for their guidelines. If they don't have guidelines, its best to send a SASE requesting current guidelines.

LaShaunda - OO

Dera Williams said...

I took an online course a few years ago on magazine writing and one thing I learned was you have to hook them with the query letter. You have to actually tease them with a little of the actual article.

Badge #15

JENNA said...

I've tried to break into magazine writing, and have had some luck with e-zines. I read that you should try for the front of the book filler to build your clips and relationship with the editor. I e-sub, and tag the piece on at the end of the query. Is that okay? It's usually 3-500 words, and I know attachments can get booted. Is that how the process goes for filler?

Jenna - Agent 08

BlackButterflyReview said...

Good Morning,
My questions are: Is there a major difference in putting out a paper magazine vs an ezine? In other words, would you go about the prep work in the same manner? Also, I know that it is expensive to do a paper magazine, but how expensive is it to do an ezine?

Eleanor (#17)

Shelia said...

Thanks LaShaunda and Dera. I'll be working on fine tuning my query letter this week.

Shelia (Badge#16)

Kathryn Lay said...

Kathryn - 48

Dera, I broke into Woman's Day with a short piece. And my first sale to Family Circle was a filler about a family Valentine's project. I sent the Family Circle piece through email because I saw a mention for this particular section at their website, I believe. The Woman's Day piece went through snail mail. After the first sale with them, I made my next 12 sales through email, as that's what the editor asked for. I always recommend to my writing students they try fillers for the large magazines.

SORMAG said...

I believe putting together an online magazine and a print magazine are about the same. The costs would be different, because there is so much that goes into a print magazine. Since I’ve done a little of both, I give you my opinion.

Putting a magazine together consists of having an editorial. What is your magazine about? Who will write for your magazine (columns and articles)? How often will you publish your magazine? How many pages will your magazine be? These are a few questions to ask yourself.

For an online magazine the major cost is paying your contributors. You want to pay your contributors if you want to be considered a real magazine. Funding is hard for an online magazine because most of your money comes from advertisers. Lack of funds can put you on hiatus, which SORMAG is currently in. Its hard to sell ad space on the internet because its FREE and advertisers can set up their on site and do the same thing in their eyes. Finding funds is hard too. I wish I could offer more on this, but this has been my major problem.

As for print magazines they have the same problem, finding funding. Not only do you have to pay your contributors, you also have to pay for printing and mailing which can be very expensive.

If you’re serious about doing this, I suggest you get every magazine book there is out there and read from cover to cover. One I recommend you get first is – Starting & Running a Successful Newsletter or Magazine by Cheryl Woodard, it will let you know if you’re ready to jump into magazine publishing.

LaShaunda - OO

BlackButterflyReview said...

Thanks LaShaunda.
It was just a thought, now a distant thought. If I were to do that, I would have to get rid of my full-time job it sounds. Eleanor (#17)

Anonymous said...

To Shelia,
You can also find writers' guidelines through websites that will advertise magazines. I'd like to recommend The Gila Queen. This adversises guidelines for fiction and nonfiction of all subjects. Another one is This will list science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazines and websites to get guidelines.
Barbara Custer

Anonymous said...

To Dera, Badge Number 15.
The query letter is important if you're working on a nonfiction piece, but you don't query for fiction short stories. However, with your cover letter, the editor will look at things like grammar, spelling, and format. Hint: Other editors and myself get turned off by "Dear Editor." However, if you've done enough homework to figure out and address me by my nickname, I'm liable to be impressed.

Anonymous said...

To Jenna (agent 08)
I will accept magazine filler or stories tagged onto the query, but I prefer getting them by attachment. Reason is because when you copy and paste, sometimes your paragraphs can get jumbled, and both you and the write wind up with something different than what you started with.

Anonymous said...

To Elinor, # 17,
I agree that the same effort will go into a webzine versus a print zine. You'll want to have a good selection of artwork, poetry, fiction, etc. But you can save a bundle on postage expenses with a webzine. The downside is, you would need DSL or cable to email a webzine, especially if it's got photography or art. I attempted to send Night To Dawn to a friend via dial-up, and it didn't go. I plan to revisit making NTD available via the web after I get DSL. Ideally, it's best to have both; this would give the reader more to choose from.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, Badge 48

Barbara's response is an important point when dealing with submitting anything to a magazine. It's important to know how that particular magazine you are submitting to wants the work submitted. Some prefer email submissios, some snail mail, some will do either. Some publishers I work with want manuscripts and queries sent in the body of the email while others prefer attachments. Some won't open an attachment at all. The main thing is to do your homework and be aware of the guidelines for the magazine you are approaching.

Shelia said...

Thanks Barbara and ALL. I'm taking notes :)

Shelia (Badge#16)

JENNA said...

:?: Do editors view email queries with the same respect as print queries? I almost always get a response (via SASE of course) from snail Q's, but almost never from E.

Jenna - Agent 08

SORMAG said...

Hi Jenna,

That's interesting, since I do everything by email. I try to reply to all emails that come in. Mainly because I know what it feels like to wait on a reply.

As for other editors, you always have to know their guidelines. Do they editors accept queries through email? This might be why you haven't heard from them. They don't accept email queries.

Do you have the correct email or editor? This could be the problem too.

They also might be really busy and just don't have time to respond to email queries that don't fit their need at the time.

Don't take it personal, keep writing and submitting. You'll find the editor that's out there for you.

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