SPAWN Market Update – December, 2001
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone
The following publications are reported to be out of business:
Home Office Computing
Sesame Street Parents
The Walking Magazine
Here’s What’s New
These publications have made some changes:
The Writer (new editor and contact information)
Elfrieda Abbe, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Life Extension Magazine (new address)
Health (new contact person)
Friendly Exchange (email address for editor)
Growing Parent (additional information)
Child (email address no good)
Free Spirit Magazine is now New York Spirit Magazine
The Crossing Press (new address)
Living With Teenagers (evidently alive and well)
Word of Warning
Troika: Wit, Wisdom and Wherewithal
While their listing in Writer’s Market says they do accept reprints, I’m told by the editors that they do not.
Research/Reference Site of the Month
Do you use the Information Please Almanac in your work? Did you know that you can access their latest information online at no charge? This is a great place to find the facts and statistics you need for that book or article project.
Do you have your book listed at Amazon.com, yet?
To add your book, go to www.amazon.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Join Advantage.” Fill out the form, and Amazon will decide whether to carry your book on consignment. Generally, the answer is Yes. I don’t know of anyone whose book has been rejected by Amazon.com.
Why do it? First to be absolutely certain that everyone can find your book at Amazon. Second, being in the Advantage program means that Amazon will always have several books on hand. Thus, your book page listing can state that the book will be shipped within days. Faster shipping leads to more sales.
This month’s interview is with Dana K. Cassell, editor of one of my favorite writers’ publications, Freelance Writer’s Report. A subscription is $39 per year for twelve issues.
Freelance Writer’s Report
Q: Please describe your publication, your audience and the type of articles you’re looking for.
A: Freelance Writer’s Report is an 8-page newsletter focusing on how and where serious freelance writers can expand their writing/editorial businesses and increase their incomes and profits. Our target audience is the full-time professional, thus our primary need is for articles and tips full-timers can learn from and put to use. Our secondary need is for tips on how to jump-start a writing career for those serious beginners who also read FWR (but not too basic; not the typical how to query etc material they can find in any book or magazine on being a writer). These “secondary” tips and strategies need to be helpful to the newcomer and something the established pro may have forgotten about or be neglecting.
Q: Do you have any current needs we can talk about?
A: We don’t really have “needs” because our articles and tips are used only after the market news and regular columns are put into each issue. But I do have some “likes.” I would like to see pieces or tips on how the established pro can break into specific fields, such as consulting, freelance copy editing, advertising, corporate writing, multi media, speech writing, and so on. And I would like to see how full-time writers have successfully kept their businesses growing (or at least on a steady income flow) during down times such as we are going through now. How did you increase the number of jobs from current clients/editors? How did you replace clients and magazines that either went out of business or cut back on their freelance work? How did you convince clients that were cutting staff to outsource their work to you?
Q: What is your word count and pay scale?
A: The shorter the better. First, we don’t have much space for articles. Second, we don’t use jumps, so any article or column or filler has to fit the space that is there on that page. Even when we have a totally blank page to fill, it will only hold about a thousand words. And most often, we have a partial page, even as little as a partial column to fill. SO the shorter the piece, the quicker we are likely to be able to use it.
Our payment budget is low—only 10 cents per published word. But to make that more palatable (and profitable), what we use derives from the author’s experience so can be written in those odd moments between assignments and mostly off the top of his or her head. It should not require research except to verify some numbers from one’s own records. We also need only one-time rights, so the author can probably resell it later to someone else.
Q: How do you prefer that folks contact you with their ideas/articles? email? mail? phone?
A: E-mail is always the best. Never via phone. Fax is almost as bad. Mail is OK for queries as long as an SASE is enclosed, but not good for completed articles—simply because I don’t have much time to key in or even scan material. E-mail is so much quicker that I use those items first. If I run out of emailed submissions that will fit and I have something the right size that came in through the mail, only then will I go to the trouble of preparing it for publication.
Q: Do you generally prefer a query letter or the complete article?
A: Complete article. Queries are OK if they are short and to the point, but too often the query is closer to what we would be able to use than the article itself because so many writers follow up with “magazine” articles instead of newsletter items.
Q: How can a writer impress you?
A: By suggesting something that will be helpful to our audience, and then following that up with tight writing and understanding our terse newsletter style. Half the stuff I receive is way too basic and full of fluff.
Q: How long has Freelance Writer’s Report been publishing?
A: Our first issue was March 1982, so we will soon be a full 20 years old.
Q: Please add anything you feel a working writer might need/want to know about your publication. How about something addressing book excerpts. Do you encourage excerpts from writing/marketing-related books?
A: Book excerpts are great, as long as they (1) provide new or novel information/ strategies the full-time pro can use, and (2) are written in our style, If not, the author may be able to condense the excerpt to fit our space and newsletter style.
To get a better idea of our style, look at the Free Tips on our website. This is our style—bulleted and numbered lists, short paragraphs, single tips, and so on.
Next month we’ll interview a book publisher who is not listed in Writer’s Market.
You Can Help:
Since we can’t be everywhere, we’d like to recruit our members to notify us about any information, news, tips or opportunities that might be of interest to the working writer. Or let me know if there’s a particular editor or publisher you’d like me to interview for this column. Send your requests and information to me at Patty@spawn.org
~Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for 28 years, having contributed hundreds of articles to about 150 different print and online magazines. She is the author of 11 books, including A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book.