Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sylvia Forbes on Freelancing (Part II)

When Sylvia Forbes spoke to Saturday Writers last month, she shared several markets where writers can find work. This is Part II of her discussion. Part I was posted Tuesday, Sep 7.

* Arts Magazines and Newspapers: Photos enhance writing and make it more valuable. Critical reviews are more sought after than general reviews.

* Parenting/Baby Magazines: National magazines - usually request all rights, but pay more (some up to $1500). Local magazines or newspapers - some take reprints, but pay less. Don't overlap a market.

* Profiles: Artists, farmers, children, teens, business people. Quotes enhance the profiles.

* Sports Writing: Must write fast, have an interest and knowledge of sports.

* Essays: Different types. Some are personal/emotional in nature. Others provide life lessons or can be presuasive. Lifestyle are another type. Some markets are: Skirt (10 essays per issue), Missouri Life, Christian Science Monitor, Arizona Highways.

* Outdoor magazines: Need to do descriptions well. Examples are hiking, bird watching, soft adventure to extreme adventure. Specialized markets: Deer, Turkey, Bass Fishing. Outdoor Writers of America organization for outdoor writers.

* Children's Magazines (most competitive). SCBWI good organization to join. Children's market pay is not great, but accepts a variety of submissions, including fiction, crafts, games, poems.

* Health Writing. Nursing and health magazines can be lucrative. "Be careful about health writing. You may die of a misprint." (Mark Twain)

* Restaurant Reviews another market.

According to Sylvia, the most lucrative markets are: Health, Business (Finance), and Technology. Her advice is to:

* Read, read, read the market to know what they're looking for before you query.

* Provide clean copy, on topic requested, correct word count, on time!

* Read the book "Outliers," which shows examples of successful people who have dedicated at least 10,000 hours to excel in their proven profession.

The best advice she received from an editor was: "Just tell the story."

Sylvia is currently accepting submissions for the 2012 Bylines Writers Desk Calendar. Visit the website for submission guidelines.


  1. Donna---

    Thanks for the gentle "prods." I forgot about the call for submissions for the Bylines calendar. I checked out Sylvia's guidelines, looked at the examples (those are quite helpful) and will work on something to submit.

    Again, thank you.

  2. Thanks again for posting your notes from Sylvia's talk!

  3. Comment 1: I can vouch for Sylvia's accuracy. Those kiddie magazines are a TOUGH sell.

    Comment 2: The lucrative markets also happen to be my Achilles Heel of writing...business, tech? The two topics I can't um, what's a polite word for it? We'll say "write convincingly even when I don't know the subject."

    That's why I write A LOT of essays. :-) (Thanks for tips, Donna and Sylvia)

  4. Question: When the appropriate thing to do is read the market first (be "saturated" in it, I was told) how does one manage it? I had a list of magazines I was interested in querying, but it would cost a fortune to buy issues of each one, and the library isn't a reliable source. What to do?

  5. Hi Sioux,
    Go for it!

    Tammy and Cathy,
    You are welcome.


  6. Hi Lisa,
    Great question.
    If you can't afford to buy copies of the magazines and can't find hard copies at the library, maybe the magazines publish old issues or excerpts on line.


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