We’d been married less than a month, but it didn’t take that long to realize there were a lot of things associated with being newly married that nobody bothered to tell us about. Case in point: You register for eight place settings and you only get five complete sets and a couple of miscellaneous salad plates. Guess who gets to cough up the hundreds of dollars (that you didn’t budget for) to fill out the set? Must have slipped my friends’ minds to bring that bit of information to my attention. Same thing for clueing my wife in to how many copies of our marriage certificate she would need for when she was going through the fresh hell of changing her last name. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Needless to say, I saw an article opportunity. This first hand knowledge needed to be shared, and I was the guy to do it. So I grilled my new wife to get her perspective on what hoops she had to jump through and combined them with my observations. Voila! I had an article on surviving the first month of marriage, ready for submission.
I sent it off to a couple of national bridal magazines and after a few of months got bupkis. So then I turned my sights to a regional bridal rag. Again, after a couple of months, nothing. Life went on. Imagine my surprise when I checked my e-mail some time later to find a response from the magazine. They were interested in my article and they were willing to pay!
And it only took them eighteen months to let me know.
Eighteen months. Goes to show that magazines do keep articles around for rainy days. Needless to say I was thrilled, but I would be more thrilled when I cashed that check. They let me know they would pay $400 for the article, but I would have to pare it down by half. No problem. Then they told me they’re already prepared to go to print for their spring issue so it won’t show up until the fall. Again, no problem. Then a couple of months later they tell me they they’ve set their article priorities for the fall issue and I was to be bumped again. But just to show their good faith, they sent me $100 as a drop fee, just in case they ended up not using it. Who was I to complain? It was $100 more than I already had. A couple of months passed and they contacted me to let me know it was indeed going into their late winter issue.
Honest. They weren’t kidding. They graciously sent me a copy of the issue, and one month later I received a crisp, clean, very bankable check for $300. My first published article was in the can. It was a slow process, but no harm done.
Bryan Johnston is the author of two books, Inside the Warped Minds of Men, and JP Patches: Northwest Icon, as well as a contributing writer for the children’s syndicated television show, The Secret Lighthouse. He has also written for Seattle Bride Magazine. He is the senior writer/producer in the Creative Services department at KOMO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Seattle, Washington. He has won eight Emmy awards and three PROMAX Gold Medallions, the highest award in the field of television promotion. The Johnston clan, (wife April, son Soren, dog Sadie, and cat Lakota) hang their hats in the ‘burbs of Seattle, Washington.