Ever thought you could gain money and publicity by writing locally? Anyone can – as long as you know where to find local / regional publications, how to make contact, and what to offer.
WHERE: YOUR LOCAL STORE LOBBY
You know those freebie magazines and newspapers stacked high as soon as you walk into any local market? They may include local parenting publications, magazines excerpted from regional newspapers, kids and family guides. I found two local gigs this way, the first being two columns for Cape Cod Parent and Child newspaper, the second being an interview contributor for Prime Time Cape Cod, a free excerpt from The Cape Cod Times. I snagged those publications for free, brought them home, and read each, cover to back. Then, using the internet and Google.com, I searched for their online homes by inputting the publications’ titles. Another fantastic place to look is in your local market’s check-out line. Woman’s World, for instance, is just over a dollar to purchase and uses freelance writers as contributors.
HOW: CONTACT THE EDITOR
Once you are at a publication’s online home, you’ll see a menu of links on the left-hand side of the site. “Submissions” is the link to click. You already know what the publication is about. Now, you must find out what it needs desperately. In the submissions section, the editor tells just that. In the rare event the publication doesn’t have an online home, just look at the editorial list which is usually on the first or second page of a publication. Here, you’ll find the editor’s (or publication’s) contact email address.
WHAT: GIVE THE EDITOR WHAT S/HE DESPERATELY NEEDS
Again, what you must focus on is what the particular publication desperately needs. If you can’t find it in the “submissions” section online, contact the editor via email to query an idea. For instance, Cape Cod Parent and Child was missing a non-fiction book review column for parents. In discovering this as the main need, I queried the editor and became the new “Off-The-Shelf” columnist! For Woman’s World, I noticed in one section after one mother’s article, a request was made asking for more like it, but with a unique bent. So I queried a memoir-type essay about a unique family tradition shared in my childhood with my own mom, which we’d called “Mother-Daughter Skip Day.” That was one of two articles that I’ve had published in Woman’s World.
I’ve had over a dozen interviews published in the local Prime Time Cape Cod magazine. I got this job after emailing its editor a couple samples of children’s articles and reviews I’d written for another local publication. Guess what? Writing locally pays well and is fun.
In other words, profound inspiration can come from your neighbors. There are amazing, free publications in grocery store lobbies that will pay interested writers WELL (as I found out from my Prime Time and Woman’s World paychecks) and provide them with fascinating subjects to write about.
Once you’ve secured a local gig, endless inspiration is the reward. Since a recent Prime Time article I wrote about “Clementine” author Sara Pennypacker, I’ve created my own chapter book based on my daughter’s funniest life events and words!
Sara Webb Quest lives in South Yarmouth with her husband, daughter and cat. Her stories have appeared in Fandangle, Cape Cod Parent and Child, Woman’s World and Prime Time. She has written many children’s books that crave an agent (including her humorous chapter book Aydil Vice & Her Disgustin’ Hair Knots, which has already received rave reviews from award-winning authors. Quest is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. www.authorsden.com/sarawebbquest is her website, where anyone may sign-up for her writing-life newsletter.