During the past fifteen years or so I’ve been fortunate enough to write for a variety of different publications, primarily magazines and newspapers that are either local or regional. I’ve written for lifestyle magazines, home and garden magazines, and general interest magazines, but the majority of my work has been with parenting and family magazines.
I’ve had a couple of opportunities to write for national magazines, but I’ve found that writing regional magazines can be very rewarding. My first opportunity came about in the early ë90’s when I wrote for a local newsletter called “The Mommy Times.” It was published by a stay-at-home parent who wanted to create a community with other moms who stayed at home full time with their children. After a year or so, she made the jump to publishing her newsletter on the Internet, giving me my first taste of what it was like to reach thousands of readers.
My next opportunity was with a company in Southern California, which publishes OC Family Magazine. I was fortunate enough to establish a good relationship with the editor, and eventually went on to write for the sister publication, Inland Empire Magazine. Writing for this company helped me hone my skills even more, giving me the chance to write about broader subjects, such as children who have diabetes and how they, and their families, cope with this disease.
A move to Las Vegas in 2003 afforded me the opportunity to write for Southern Nevada Family Magazine. When I told people about the publication, they seemed a little surprised that there would even be a market for a family magazine in “Sin City.” Gosh, isn’t Vegas all about The Strip, gambling, and partying all night long? But I found much more to the city, and wrote on topics such as parents teaching their hearing babies sign language and family-friendly day trips outside of the city.
My early writing experiences for the publications mentioned above have enabled me to pitch ideas to other parenting magazines. Now that I live in the central coast region of California, I’ve written for Kidaround Magazine (Sacramento) and Central Coast Parent (Monterey), and I currently write for Bay Area Parent Magazine (San Francisco and Silicon Valley).
I’ve found it is somewhat easier, at least for me, to work directly with editors of the regional magazines. You still have to pitch your ideas to them, and sometimes you hit, but other times you miss. I suggested an article to the editor of Bay Area Parent about twin sisters who team teach Kindergarten at one school, something they’ve done since they received their credential. Even though I thought it was a clever idea, it didn’t work for the editor. I was a bit discouraged, but at the same time, I had to realize that it didn’t offer much in the way to the readers other than a nice little story, so back to the proverbial drawing board. A few weeks later, I pitched an idea about how to throw a unique kids’ birthday party, scoring with that one. I also pitched an idea about how to have free fun with your children right in your own city. Not a truly new idea, but the editor liked it, so now I have two articles to work on.
We all have our niche when it comes to writing. Some writers find their comfort zone writing about hard-hitting news, but my home is writing about where to take family day trips and how to keep kids healthy, as well as reviewing children’s books. Below are links to paying parenting magazines. Good luck!
Athens Parent Magazine
Pays up to $100 for feature articles.
Pays .04 per word for first-run feature articles, .02 for personal mom-to-mom essays.
Chicago Parent Magazine
Pays $25-$50 for articles 300-400 words in length; $100 for reader essays; $100 for feature stories, but can be more depending upon writer’s experience.
Pays 10 cents per word for first publication rights to an article; reprint articles are paid $35 for articles under 500 words and $50 for articles up to 1000 words.
Sonoma Family-Life Magazine
Pays .08 per word; reprint rights $35-$50
South Florida Parenting
The Village Family Magazine
Pays .07 per word.
Julie Engelhardt is a freelance writer based in Central California near the Monterey Peninsula. She specializes in articles about home and family, travel, parenting, weddings and unique honeymoon location. She has been published in Family Fun Magazine, Babyzone.com and in regional magazines such as The Wave in San Jose, Ca, and 65 Degrees Magazine in Monterey.