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Breaking Into The Parenting Market
The parenting market provides a venue for
all writers -- yes, all writers. There are as many parenting magazines as there
are different styles of writing. Many parenting magazines have the 'normal'
non-fiction informational style of article but turn the page and you'll discover
by Marie-Helen Goyetche
What You'll Find In Parenting
You'll find creative non-fiction articles for
problem solving, a fictional story to make the reader relax, a poem or two for
reflection. You'll find how-to articles such as how to get the children to
behave or how to deal with their behavior, quizzes about parenting styles and
relationships and personal essays for the "I've been where you are at now".
You'll find articles written by mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other
adults about relationships with children. You'll also find family humor to
help the reader see that "things are not as bad as they seem".
Before writing for parenting magazines, you
need to know there are two major categories in the genre: those with a
regional and those with a national distribution.
The Regional Magazines
The regional magazines are publications of
under 60,000 in circulation covering a limited geographic location. Many of
these regional magazines want a local slant in their articles. Most articles
run from 400-700 words. Their lead time is about 2-3 months but the pay is on
publication. The pay isn't high but the editors will buy one-time (reprint)
rights allowing you to sell your articles to other regional parenting
magazines. This is the place to build a portfolio of clips to get the
credentials to move up to the national magazines.
The National Magazines
A national magazine circulation can start from
100 000+ copies per issue and can be found across the nation. These magazines
want articles that will suit a larger and more diverse population. You'll need
to query your story idea providing a résumé and clips to the editor. Articles
can run from 200 words up to 3000 words. Pay is usually acceptance. $.50+ a
word is an average price. The higher pay compensates the fact that most buy
all rights or FNASR (First North American Serial Rights). Due to the large
number of writers submitting material to these publications competition is
fierce. Many national publications demand that articles are submitted 8-12
months ahead of the event or holiday.
Study The Past
Knowing the differences between both styles of
parenting magazines is not enough, you'll still need to send away for their
guidelines and study past issues to get a feeling of what the magazine's
styles and needs are. Some national magazines pay on publication. Some
regional magazines do not accept fiction or personal essays. Their needs are
vast and different. Are they looking for an academic approach or is their
publication in a more popular vein? Do they serve a highly educated audience
or one with limited education? Is the publication based on religious beliefs?
Focus on the magazines' needs and their lead time.
What to Write About?
"When I started my full-time freelance writing
career, this is the market I chose. I wrote about it (a family dilemma)...it
was accepted and my relationship with parenting publications was born," says
Marisa Trevino a freelance writer.
"I broke into the parenting market with a
personal essay," says freelance writer Dana Nourie.
Parenting magazines, whether regional or
national, focus on the daily relations with children. Knowledge about babies,
children or teenagers provides an advantage. Are you a specialist in a field
that involves children?
"The old writer's adage, "write what you know"
is not one that I usually adhere to since I enjoy learning about new things,
but writing for the parenting market comes naturally to me probably because I
am a parent," says Marisa Trevino.
Medical, artistic or educational are some
areas of expertise you could slant for parents. Have you, your family or
friends lived through a traumatic event?
Maybe you have a special and successful
parenting tip you'd like to share. Most parenting magazines will pay for
fillers - advice or tips under 100 words.
How To Write The Articles
When writing for the parenting market, tone
and style must offer support, inform the readers and be easy to understand.
The words must be written in a straightforward manner, without jargon or a
condescending attitude. For the best possible chances to make it into print
give the reader more than solution or possibility. Include sidebars and
additional information such as telephone numbers, support group addresses, web
sites or books to deepen and encourage their own research. The reader will
appreciate a sense of not being the only one facing this situation - be
resourceful and comprehensive.
A parenting magazine just like parenting in
itself is a not strictly one domain. Consider writing crafts articles: for the
parents to make as gifts, or for special holiday treats or as an activity to
share time with their children. Activities, games, recipes are also popular
article topics. Ideas for Halloween costumes, birthday parties and other
celebrations will always have a place in the parenting
Where To Find Guidelines
I invite you to check The Writer's Place
Guidelines Database at http://www.awoc.com where they
list over 40 parenting markets (write parent or child as your key word in the
Dana Nourie along with Rachel Stassen Berger
have created Writers' Guidelines Database http://mav.net/guidelines/family.shtml have at least 25
© Copyright 1998, Marie-Helen Goyetche
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