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by Marie E. Cecchini
I did not plan to be a writer. I never took a course in journalism. I
did, however, love to write and I was a fanatical reader.
One day, while looking through books at the library, I came across an
older book (whose title and author I do not remember as this was over
fifteen years ago) about how easy it was to write and actually sell your
work. Curiosity got the better of me. I brought the book home and read
it cover to cover. I was hooked.
That author led me to resources I was never aware of, the best being
the periodical guide. Using that, I gathered names and addresses for publications
that printed what I might be interested in writing. I also found and read
anything I could dealing with the submission process, queries, and writing
the best articles. Basically, I did my homework.
My next step was to write to all appropriate publications and request
guidelines. I found that every publication was different, some requiring
more than others. I later learned that some editors guidelines were not
exactly carved in stone.
I now felt ready to put something together to submit for possible publication.
Since I'd been a teacher for over twenty years, I felt the children's
market would be a good place to start. There are many children's magazines
to choose from. I chose Highlights for Children because is was listed
as "one of the best markets" for new writers. I decided to begin
by designing a craft project and writing the instructions, basically a
simple how-to article. I took great pains to prepare an impeccable craft,
type simple, easy to follow instructions, and follow the submission guidelines
to the letter. My work was in the mail within a week, and the wait began.
I'd so enjoyed putting that project together, that I immediately began
researching other publications and mulling over new projects to begin.
If nothing else, it made time seem to pass quickly.
It wasn't long before I received a letter from Highlights for Children.
I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was prepared for rejection.
Everything I'd read said to be prepared for plenty of rejection slips
and warned that first attempts by new writers do not often sell. I took
a deep breath and opened the letter. What I found was not a rejection
slip, but a contract for the purchase of my article. I was stunned. They
were actually going to pay me for doing something that seemed more like
fun than work. This was something I definitely wanted more of.
I have continued to write ever since. I continue to design craft projects
for children, many for a prominent family "glossy" publication.
I also write children's poetry, articles for family magazines and educational
publications, and I have published five teacher resource books. I am happy
with what I do.
If I could pass along one thing to all aspiring writers, it would be
to not give up. What one editor finds unsuitable, another will love. You
never know until you try.
© Copyright 2006, Marie E. Cecchini
Marie is the author of five books and has created award-winning crafts for children. She also writes childrens poetry as well as articles for parents, teachers, and writers. She can be contacted at MarieE2049@sbcglobal.net.
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