Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marketing hints for magazine articles

I just got both a phone call AND an email from an editor who wants to publish the humor article I sent her. Pretty fast, since it just went out to her last week! I'm remembering what someone at a writers conference told us about selling magazine articles: You send the same piece out to similar publications in different markets. For example, regional parenting magazines, or different denominational publications--non-competing markets that may pay less than a huge national publication, but for which the total payoff will be higher. If I can sell this same piece to four or five different small publications, I can make as much as by selling it once to one national behemoth. Such a deal. Although the pay is less, the competition is also less, and total sales MIGHT make up for it.

Besides getting a little money out of the deal, I also have a nice fresh clip for my clip file. That's always good. And the pay will help cover the toner for printing out my novel's pages for critique group. That's also good. But the best thing about getting back in print is that it helps to boost my morale. I must be a real writer if I'm getting in print. And that's VERY, VERY good.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why is it funny, and does it matter?

Today, I read through some excerpts of the novel I'm working on about a recovering alcoholic attorney, and they made me laugh again, so I think I may be able to get back to work on it soon. It's important to me that my work makes me laugh. Most of what I write, even if it's sort of serious nonfiction, has a bit of humor. I sometimes don't even mean to be funny--it just happens. When I'm speaking at a podium that happens sometimes too. I don't plan to say anything funny, but then I hear people laugh. It pleases me to hear it, but I wonder if I ought to be concerned about how out of it I am that I'm not sure what I said that was funny?

But for now, I'm not going to worry about it too much. Worrying about being funny would be pretty deadly, wouldn't it? I think it would kill any creative influence you had leading you in a humorous direction. Things are funny because they take you by surprise, and if anything I write is even a little funny it's because a thought took me by surprise. Sometimes even as I type it. I like that. It lets me laugh, too. I don't know how stand-up comics do it. Having your living depend on being funny would make me very unfunny.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day, distractions and skiving

Yes, it's Mother's Day and I'm in here, typing away because, frankly, it's more fun than I've had all week. I like writing. I love my child and my husband, but a treat for me is taking time to write. We celebrated M-Day yesterday by wandering around an antique collective for more than an hour. By the time we left I was completely relaxed and ready to face dinner out. I love antique stores, and I told my newly teen-aged daughter, "Remember, we aren't going to buy anything. It's like a museum, and we just enjoy the great old stuff." My husband, who obviously feared he might have to live with some more "great old stuff," visibly relaxed. My daughter was disappointed. Somehow, in her pre-teen years, she developed the idea that she can't go into a store without buying something. As if she might offend the management. I disabuse her of this idea at every turn, to no avail. Each trip to a store, I invoke the gods of thriftiness. So far, it's not taking.

I did get my humor article off via email, in hopes of great riches--like maybe $50!? We shall see. If they don't like it, I begin anew the search for a worthy home for it. The article grew from a thought I had a few years back when news reports came out about the state considering outlawing cellphones while driving because they contribute to distracted driving. Here in CA, they have limited car use of cellphones to hands-free. But seriously, you're still distracted by the conversation, right? And cellphones aren't the WORST cause of distracted driving. Check your back seat. Is there a small person sitting there, tossing around the cheerios and yelling about a dropped water bottle? There's the problem.

My "problem" was four when I first began this piece, and the article has been revised, lengthened, shortened, published on line, and in both the newsletter and in the anthology of our South Bay branch of the Calif. Writers Club. It's seen some changes, as have we in eight years.

Okay, this post is not about writing a novel, but I obviously have been skiving off on that duty. But the pots still simmer away, hopefully brimming with new plot twists that will rise to the surface as soon as I can open those doc files again.

Wish me luck on the $50.