My writing career progressed in a backward direction from many others. My first novel was published before I tried a novella. And, years passed before I was published regularly in magazines. I now am a syndicated newspaper columnist and I also write for a variety of magazines and websites, ranging from the familiar (life inside a nursing home) to the unfamiliar (alternative medicine), with numerous points in between.
My big break writing for magazines came when a magazine invited me to write a monthly column when I couldn’t afford their advertising. Free exposure in a magazine that went to thousands of readers every month was worth its weight in gold. A few senior magazines picked up the column, which has outlasted the magazine’s demise.
I didn’t expect the invitation but it didn’t happen in a vacuum. The editor had read and enjoyed my books.
Writing begets writing. The more you have published, the more likely editors will be acquainted with your work. Of course, that only helps if you produce quality work. If I got my facts wrong, or turned in sloppy writing, they would hesitate before inviting me to write for them. Ditto if I had a reputation for being difficult to work with.
I’ve learned how to write about things outside my comfort zone. A recent start up magazine offered me an assignment when I expressed interest in the subject – a bed and breakfast in Cynthiana, Kentucky. I didn’t point out the drawbacks—no experience in travel writing and being nursing home-bound. Instead, I researched the region and business, and relied of my writing skills to bring it to life.
The best way to find new writing opportunities is through other writers. I belong to an organization that posts frequently marketing opportunities. Everyone in the organization is professional so we know that, if we hire one another, we can expect quality. That’s what led to writing about alternative medicine. I knew little about it at the time but I knew how to research. I explained my background to the editor. I thought she might set me aside for someone with more experience in the field but she picked me, among others.
Another idea is to pitch a second query to a magazine that’s already published one of your articles. Follow up nicely with magazines that said “no.” Take a chance on an article outside your usual niche. Do your best work. In time, you’ll build your market base.
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Multi-published author Darlene Franklin is a warrior, seeking the Lord fervently, and writing from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family. She is an active member of the Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has more than sixty unique stories in print (most recently Coffee Club Mysteries from Barbour Publishing and Women Taming America from Winged Publications.) She has also written five nonfiction titles, (most recently Pray Through the Bible in a Year from Barbour Publishing), and contributed to more than twenty non-fiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears monthly in several venues. You can find her online at:
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