1. You Can Simultaneously Submit the Same Article to 50+ Regional Publications, and Most Won't Care
Any poor sap who's had to telemarket (ahem) will tell you that getting a "yes" is a numbers game. Knowing this, there's nothing more frustrating than pouring your time into an article...and then submitting it to o-n-e publication. And waiting through six months of torture. As said article hangs in the Black Hole of No Response.
Enter: regional parenting magazines.
Most don't care whether your article is printed somewhere else too - as long as you don't submit it to another paper in their area that might have the same readers, known as an overlapping readership. (Of course, it's a good idea to check their writer's guidelines to confirm this. There are always exceptions). In general, I'll submit an article to about 15 markets across the US and get back two acceptances. If I
2. Your Article Can Be Printed by 50+ Papers At The Same Time, & You Can Get Paid By Them All. At The Same Time!
It's true that their payout doesn't compare to, say, the glossies. In general, each one pays me between $25 - $50 per article. But if you have a very appealing article and are willing to do your work as far as finding markets, that figure is easily multiplied. In fact, my writing mentor told me the story about a man who sold one article every year, once a year, to hundreds of newspapers throughout the US. He made ~$20K just from his annual hot air balloon article. !
3. Publication & Editor Information Is Fairly Easy to Find
http://www.newspapers.com/ provides a list of newspapers for every state and includes links to their individual websites. Many have "staff" pages that list editors' names and departments, and some also have writer's guidelines.
Here's where the work comes in: some of this information is missing or outdated, and it's not unusual to email a submission just to get it back as "undeliverable". At that point, it's more than okay to call the newspaper and ask for the name and email address of the editor in charge of ______.
*UPDATE 5/2012: I recently discovered an ebook listing over 100 regional parenting markets. (No, I'm not an affliate. It's just that good.)
4. Submission Guidelines Are Pretty Standard
So far, I've found submission information to be pretty standard: paste the article, single-spaced, within the email. While some suggest also sending the article as an attachment to ensure the editor gets it, I shy away from this because so many people worry about downloading viruses from unknown (and even known) email addresses.
A tip from the freelancer I spoke to this week: include your snail mail address in the email, because some papers simply print the article without telling you beforehand, and then mail a check. (Again, this is for regional parenting publications.)
5. Once They've Published One Of Your Articles, They're Likely To Publish Another
They're always looking for new content, and this "pond" is smaller than in the glossy magazine industry. If you're writing for a local publication, residency and local knowledge is already on your side.
If you are chasing the glossies, that's even more reason to write for regional parenting magazines: publish enough articles on a topic in enough papers, and you'll hold more weight when pitching that same topic to a magazine.
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