Share this article on Facebook
Write a List, Make a Sale
by Shirley Raye Redmond
As a compulsive list maker, I keep shopping lists,
trivia lists, Christmas card lists, books-to-read lists and must-write lists.
Once, while glancing over my collection of ideas for beating the rejection
letter blues, it dawned on me that if my list was helpful or informative, I
could probably sell it in the form of a how-to or round-up article. Deciding
that everyone, not just writers, suffers from the doldrums now and then, I
generalized the ideas on my list and sold "Beat the Blues" to MODERN
ROMANCES for $150.
While waiting for a friends wedding service to
begin, I picked up a church hymnal and casually flipped through its pages. I
noted that many of the hymns had been written by women. Quickly, I scribbled
down a list of names of the more prolific ones. The following week, after a
little background research at the library, I compiled an informative round-up
article on little-known women hymn writers. The 900-word article sold
immediately to WOMANS WORLD for $500.
After selling a list article entitled, "How to
Write Memos That Others Will Read" to COSMOPOLITAN and "New Years
Resolutions That Could Save Your Childs Life" to PARENTING for a
dollar a word, I realized that list articles were quick and easy to write. They
were also lucrative. And when I used a seasonal slant, the queries usually got
an immediate go-ahead. After all, editors always need holiday material with a
fresh approach to the same old seasonal subjects.
With that in mind, I successfully pitched my
tips for tackling test anxiety to BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS for their
back to school issue. A list of safety tips gleaned from my collection of
utility bill inserts sold immediately to LADYS CIRCLE as "Is Your Home
Safe for the Holidays?" And my list of nonprofit groups in need of funds sold to
VIRTUE as a timely piece on "Unconventional Christmas
Once youve polished all your personal lists for
publication, creatively recycle others lists. For instance, a casual perusal of
THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY OF NURSERY RHYMES intrigued me. I learned
that "Ring Around the Rosies" was really a gruesome little ditty about the
bubonic plague and that Humpty Dumpty was no egg at all, but King Richard III
who "had a great fall" off his horse during a battle in 1485 and "all the kings
horses and all the kings men couldnt put Humpty together again." He died
shortly after this accident.
The list of nursery rhymes and the real
histories behind them would surely interest youngsters, I decided. So I queried
and subsequently sold two different versions of "The Not-So-Innocent Mother
Goose" to HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN and SEVENTEEN.
Ive often assigned my writing for publication
students to produce a list article and often as not, it is their first
successful foray into the world of writing for money. The next time you find
yourself scrounging around for an idea, consider a list that meets a need. For
wheres theres a list, theres a
© Copyright 1999, Shirley Raye Redmond
Other articles by Shirley Raye Redmond :
Check out the latest articles in
How to Promote Your Book BLOG
Find out what works.
Join the Writing for DOLLARS! group on Facebook.
Writing for DOLLARS!
is a publication of