Share this article on Facebook
Writing Markets You Want to Avoid
by Phil Truman
If theres one thing Ive learned during my
hundred-odd years as a writer, its
Well, Ive learned a lot of things,
Jim. And you dont need to come nosing around here asking me so many questions.
Especially during my nap time or Judge Judy, whichever comes first.
But thats neither here nor there. As a writer
there are certain markets you should avoid, and thats what this piece is all
about. My part-time editor and friend, Dan "Either write, read, or get the h***
out of the way" Case, suggested I put together something on this topic as, in
his words, "who better than you would know what fails to make you money as a
writer?" Who indeed.
The Dead Dog Market
Ive found that this is the most popular
non-paying market you want to avoid. Most people turn completely into lime Jello
with cottage cheese when they read stories about pet dogs who have died. I
suppose the same is true of stories about birds, monkeys, horses, and possibly
hamsters. However, Im not so sure about pythons or cats. And just so you cat
lovers wont write me indignant emails, I say that because Ive never had a pet
cat, not because cats dying arent sad events
to some people.
We had a hamster once Ratbert - who we found
dead-ish one cold winter morning, so the kids and I held a graveside service to
send him (or her) off to that big running wheel in the sky. I say he (or she)
was dead-ish, because later that day at work I related the story to a colleague
and he said a vet once told him hamsters go into sort of a suspended animation
when they get too cold. I still have occasional Poe-esque nightmares about
possibly burying poor old Ratbert alive. And sometimes, late at night, I awaken
to the sound of a hamster wheel creaking away ghostily in the laundry room. Ive
never mentioned this to my kids, who are both adults now.
But I digest. You want to stay away from the
Dead Dog Market, not because people dont love reading those stories, but
because most editors have the sentimentality of Rush Limbaugh at a NOW reunion,
and not only will they soundly reject your story, they will most likely ridicule
you in public.
The Classy Things Done by the Clinton
Most editors would pay you a healthy sum for
stories like this, unfortunately with the Clintons theres just nothing to write
about here. This used to be the Whos Who in Presidential Pardons Market, but
that has suddenly gone from a "who cares" to a "youve got to be kidding"
market. Also unfortunately, the only pardons left to capitalize on are a couple
of Arkansas axe murderers who once sent Bill and Hillary fifty bucks each as
The Shoot the Whales While Cutting Down Redwoods
to Roast Spotted Owls Market
This has never been a good market to get into
because everybody, including Yasir Arafat and Charlton Heston, likes whales.
Well who wouldnt, the big adorable blowhole spouting galoots. And the Giant
Redwoods are a national treasure, especially when it comes to building decks
around your house. Plus, nobody gives a hoot about eating Spotted Owls anymore,
since there are so few of them. Besides, they taste just like chicken anyway.
Now dolphins, thats a different matter. You get a little butter and lemon sauce
and mmm-mmmm. But nobody wants to buy these stories.
The Sensitive Side of Mike Wallace
Mike, who will celebrate his 117th
birthday this year, has been doing "Sixty Minutes" ever since it originally
debuted back in 1918 as "Fifteen Minutes." During all that time the closest he
has come to showing anything other than a mean spirit was when he cleared his
throat after an interview with Kate Winslet on her alleged story as a Titanic
survivor. No money here either.
Im sure there are other markets you writers
will want to avoid, but these are the ones I can tell you about from experience.
In the final analysis, there seems to be a lot more involved in picking paying
markets than writing them down on an 3 foot by 3 foot piece of poster paper,
tacking them up on the wall, and throwing darts at them. Some writing experts
would tell you that research into paying markets takes a lot of time and effort
if you want to succeed. On the other hand, you can pick up a set of darts for
less than five bucks at any toy store, and poster board is pretty cheap
© Copyright 2001, Phil Truman
Phil Truman's website is philtrumanink.com.
Other articles by Phil Truman :
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