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Strike While The Iron Is Hot!
by Kathryn Lay
After 1000 sales to magazines and my first book
sale, Im often asked how I make so many sales. Most of it has been persistence,
obsession, and a desire to get my writing in front of editors.
But after a recent experience, I realized that
one of the things a writer needs to do is take advantage of potentially great
situations. Jump in when the interest is there, when an editor needs work or has
liked what youve sent them.
I NEED, SAYS THE EDITOR
Several years ago a friend told the thirty
people sitting at a writers group weekly meeting I attended that he had met and
editor from out of state with a travel magazine who was in need of some short
articles on travel tips. I wrote down the name and address of the editor.
The next day, I did some research with my vet
and online about traveling with pets, wrote up a 500 word article on how to
travel with your pets, and sent it off that day to the travel publication
editor. A week later, I had an acceptance in the mail. I couldnt wait to tell
the writers group and was shocked to learn that no one else had jumped on this
How many times have you hard or read about
information where a publication is looking for writers for a new magazine, a new
column, or specific topics? How many times have you jumped on that opportunity?
A couple of years ago, I saw a short blurb in an
online writer publication about a tourist information group who needed people to
update their brochures from various states. I immediately sent in a writing
resume. A year later, I received an email from the editor of this publication
telling me that they needed someone in my city to update the brochure their
travel agencies used for interested clients. The pay was excellent and I
accepted. Two weeks later he wrote to say that the writer who was doing the next
town over from me had backed out, and could I do that one also? The money paid
for those two jobs paid for my daughters school tuition for a
IF YOU SEND IT, THEY WILL COME
My first childrens book is due out in a few
months. Recently, sudden inspiration struck for a sequel to the book. I feared
that it was too early to suggest it because my first book hadnt been reviewed
yet, nor sales figures to use as leverage. After two weeks of holding onto the
idea, I worked out a pitch and sent it to my agent. She loved it. She left a
message with my editor, who also loved it and took it to the next mornings
editorial meeting. They loved it as well and asked for a synopsis and two
chapters to use as consideration for a possible contract. I was flabbergasted
and thrilled. I had considered waiting to suggest this sequel until months
later, but now I am busily working on the proposal that will hopefully produce
another contract and book.
THEY BOUGHT IT! NOW DO IT AGAIN
Whenever I make a sale to a new publication, I
always try to send in another piece within a couple of weeks while I am still
fresh on their mind. After my first sale to the Kids Day section of Womans Day
magazine, I sent in another piece as soon as possible. It sold and the editor
informed me she was looking for ideas for their Solutions section. The next day
I came up with a half dozen ideas and sent a query list. She picked one that she
liked and asked for a more detailed query. Before long, it was approved and I
was writing a feature article. In the next year, I sold them seven more Kids
When you receive an acceptance, celebrate. Then
get another idea or manuscript off to that editor as soon as possible. Dont
bombard them with inappropriate material or on a daily basis, but continue to
keep your name and writing in front of them. They liked your writing once; they
very well may like it again and again.
Watch for those opportunities to break into a
new publication, to sell more to your editor, to take a friends advice and
contact their agent or editor or a magazine they have heard about needing
writers. Dont let those chances slip through your fingers, they may not be
available later. And best of all, you may come away with opportunities you never
dreamed would happen, all because you reached out and grabbed the brass ring
before it was lost.
© Copyright 2004, Kathryn Lay
Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through firstname.lastname@example.org
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