Sunday, October 18, 2009

Catch This Golden Opportunity

Last week I spotted several neighborhoods that are stringing their lights for Christmas. Yes, it is only mid-October but we're moving closer to the Christmas season. Last week, something that came across my computer screen was counting down the days saying only 72 more shopping days (it is even closer today).

Each holiday season brings new personal experiences in your life. Maybe you will be at a holiday gathering and see a new drink or desert. Or from reading the Scripture you will gain a new personal insight. Are you aware of those new ideas? Are you making the effort to write them down then craft them into magazine articles? Whether it is a how-to article about effective Christmas lights or a new way you have personally experienced the holidays, I encourage you to capture this golden opportunity.

Magazine editors actively look for seasonal material. Typically these magazines are working three or four months ahead of the current calendar. I'm encouraging you to look at this seasonal material from at least two perspectives. First, celebrate the current holiday such as Thanksgiving yet be actively looking for experiences that you can write about this holiday, then publish next year. Second, pull out your calendar and look about four or five months ahead. Then query or pitch full article ideas to magazine editors for these holidays. In November, you should be pitching editors on Easter experiences or ideas.

Years ago when I was working as an editor at Decision magazine, I recall our struggle to find enough quality articles about love for the February issue (Valentine's Day). We couldn't locate the articles from the unsolicited manuscripts. Instead we reached out to different published authors and asked them to write what we needed. I had the same experience for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

If you propose these seasonal articles, then deliver a quality, well-written article to the editor, you will build your relationship with the editor and get published.

These magazine articles can be recycled as reprints to non-competitive publications. After your article is published, you can market it to another magazine as a reprint. Some of these seasonal articles have years of use because they contain universal truth.

I meet many writers who are only focused on getting their book ideas published. Their work has never appeared in print yet they ignore the magazine market. When you write for magazines, you gain several important skills which will help your dreams of getting books published:

1. You gain publishing experience which your book editor will recognize and appreciate.

2. You gain exposure to readers and increase your name recognition in the marketplace.

3. You are building relationships with new editors which may become lifelong friends. Editors move from one magazine to another or from a magazine to a book publisher. If you have built a good relationship, then your relationship continues in the new position.

Seasonal magazine articles are an often overlooked golden opportunity. Your writing can meet this key need.

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4 Comment:

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Maryannwrites Left a note...

I used to work in freelance journalism and paid attention to topics and when to try to sell an article. This post took me down memory lane.

And I appreciated the point about using magazine sales to help promote my books.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Part of what I was attempting to do in this post is stir people like you who used to write these types of articles and haven't for a while. It can be great exposure and a good way to promote your latest book--but you have to do the work. The opportunity is right there.


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Zul Left a note...

Hi there. Keep it up for a good job.You really have a lot of nice blog here. Lots of information. I have read and passed on this info to my friends as well.

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At 4:24 PM, Blogger Teresa Slack Left a note...

Thanks for the reminder...and the kick in the pants. I am currently between book contracts and this op sounds truly golden.


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