SPAWN Market Update – January, 2002

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SPAWN Market Update – January, 2002

By Patricia L. Fry

Contents:
GOING, GOING, GONE
HERE’S WHAT’S NEW
WORD OF WARNING
RESEARCH/REFERENCE SITE OF THE MONTH
AUTHOR NOTES
FEATURED INTERVIEW
COMING UP
YOU CAN HELP

Going, Going, Gone

The following publications are reported to have gone out of business:

Computer Currents
But all is not lost because Computer Currents has merged with ComputerUser. This is now a monthly tabloid-style magazine with over 2 million circulation. ComputerUser guidelines state that first-time computer users, experts in the technology field and everyone in between will appreciate the content of this magazine. Payment for articles runs between $50 to $1200 and this magazine buys all rights. For complete guidelines, go to www.computeruser.com/about/writeguide.html To submit an idea or request an assignment, contact James Mathewson at james@computeruser.com. Or send a cover letter, resume and published clips to:
James Mathewson
ComputerUser
220 S. Sixth St., Ste. 500
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Here’s What’s New

Goodman Media Group has a new address:

419 Park Ave., S., 18th Fl
New York, NY 10016

This includes the following publications:

American Country Collectibles

American Woman

Timber Homes

Victorian

Country Accents

Log Homes

Collectibles

Fit

UFO

TIP: If you use Writer’s Market even occasionally, I recommend making note of changes to the listings as you become aware of them.

Word of Warning

Here are a couple of great sites for keeping track of slow or non-paying publishers, those who don’t live up to their agreements with writers and even those who scam their subscribers. You can also report publishers with whom you’ve had problems.

www.writersweekly.com/warnings.html

www.absolutewrite.com/forum/index.html

This site issues warnings about literary contests:
www.windpub.org/literaryscams/index.htm

Some of the magazines that appear on these lists are:

Troika

Canadian Writer’s Journal

Note: If you have a problem with a publisher and you’re a member of National Writer’s Union, you can file a grievance with them. Check it out at www.nwu.org

Research/Reference Site of the Month

I hope you’ve been using SPAWN’s Metasearch (in the SPAWN member area) to locate the people and information you need for your writing projects. I’ve gone there at least 15 times this month in search of experts and material for a variety of articles I’m working on and for this column. If you’re not currently doing research, looking for a date or a mate, trying to find just the right collectible or seeking information about a particular breed of cat, for example, have a little fun. Type in your own name and see what comes up. Not only is it entertaining and enlightening, it’s a good way to find out if anyone is using any of your work on the web without permission. To use this great search engine, go to the member area and click on Metasearch.

If you want information about an author or are looking for a hard-to-find book, tap into www.wessexbooks.com. They stock 85,000 books and are most well known for their fiction section.

Speaking of fiction. Have you visited www.fictionfix.com, yet? They offer workshops for fiction writers, contests, book reviews and they also have a newsletter for which they need writers’ contributions. So check out their submission requirements, dust off your best stories and go see if you can get yourself published.

Author Notes

Last month we responded publicly to a question right here in the Market Update.

Since then, we’ve decided to move the Q & A section to the newsletter. So watch for the next question and our response in the January issue of SPAWNews.

In the meantime, you may remember the question from 13-year-old Jessica who dreams of becoming a writer. I received an email from her this week and you’ll be pleased to know that she is preparing to enter a couple of her short stories in contests. She has asked one of her teachers to “play Syskel and Ebert” and evaluate her stories before she sends them off. She also said that she’s having trouble keeping her stories short enough? She asked me, “Is it appropriate to give the story an ambiguous—to-be-continued type ending?” I said that she could do that if she left the reader with plenty to think about so he/she might be able to imagine their ending of choice. But I recommended that she ask her teacher to help her edit her stories down to the correct word limit. What do you think? Does anyone out there have any ideas for her? If so, let me know at Patty@spawn.org

Featured Interview

This month, we’re featuring a new magazine called Becoming Family. This one is so new that it’s not even listed in Writer’s Market. So those of you who enjoy writing for a wholesome magazine that focuses on the family, listen up as Editor-in-Chief, Peg Short responds to our questions for SPAWN’s Market Update.

Q. Please describe your publication, your audience and the type of articles you’re looking for.

A. (In response to this question, Ms. Short asked me to review their Writer’s Guidelines. Here is my summary.) Becoming Family is dedicated to celebrating and strengthening family life. According to the Guidelines, “It will do this principally by underscoring the joy and beauty of family.” While the magazine focuses on inspirational family stories, the editorial staff also likes to include ideas, advice and encouragement for families. They want to nurture families and help them promote good values. They appreciate stories about real families who are role models for family values. They also like stories that are sentimental, nostalgic, “human-interest things that tug at the heart and give families pride in their heritage and lifestyle.”

Here’s a rundown of the types of stories they’re looking for: Family issues, historical families, kid-friendly activities and travel, neighborhood issues, celebrity families, inspiring stories of teens and role model stories for teens. They also accept inspiring family-related essays and fiction. I recently landed an assignment with Becoming Family. My piece, featuring Bo and Spike Loy, insulin-dependent diabetic brothers who have written a book designed to help other kids grow up with diabetes, appeared in their Fall 2001 issue.

Q. Do you have any current needs we can talk about?

A. We are always looking for good resources—meaning interesting families that we can feature in our publication. These must be “role model” families, not perfect families, but individuals who have had to face various adversities in their life, but have overcome them with support and help from their families. We also use stories about individuals and families who are making a difference in their world. I’d suggest that if writers want to work for us, they get a couple issues of the publication and review it. They need to understand how we are different than other magazines. We are not another parenting magazine and writers would need to understand that difference. Our articles are inspiring and encouraging. We like good human-interest stories with happy and inspirational endings.

Some family stories that would interest us at present include: special needs children, home schooling and other alternative educational ideas, multiples, and any “hero” family stories, athlete stories—those that have good family values. As we would tell these stories through individual families, writers need to have access to and approval of story subjects.

Q. What is your word count and pay scale?

A. Writer’s fees vary. Departments are usually $350—$500 depending on the writer’s experience and the length of the piece. Features start at $500. We pay higher rates for professional experts and writers with national magazine and/or book publishing experience.

Q. How do you prefer folks contact you?

A. Currently we are accepting queries via e-mail and mail. As we are a small staff and receive a very high volume of unsolicited material, it sometimes takes us 2-3 months to respond. E-mail queries often are handled more quickly. Please, no phone queries.

Q. What is the best way to break into Becoming Family?

A. To submit an idea as recommended above. I like writers who have obviously done their homework and know the type of stories that we use. For example, our approach to a story on special needs would be to find one or more families who have a special needs child and tell the story through the family’s experience. An interview with an expert is the type of information we might use in a sidebar, but he/she would not be the focus of our article.

Q. Do you accept reprints?

A. We would not use a reprint of a feature article. We do occasionally use a short story or essay that has been printed previously. However, we have an over abundance of essays and we only purchase four per year.

Q. What type of writer do you most prefer working with?

A. Professional—easy to work with, open to direction and rewrite suggestions, if necessary, deadline oriented.

Q. How long has Becoming Family been in existence?

A. We have just completed our first year.

Q. What is your circulation?

A. Our current distribution is around 75,000

Q. Do you have room for more columns?

A. No we are not interested in this at present.

To contact, Becoming Family:
www.becomingfamily.com

5 Revere Drive. Ste. 200
Northbrook, IL 60062
pshort@becomingfamily.com

Stone Soup offers writing opportunities for kids.

Gerry Mandel, editor of Stone Soup, says “We’re always looking for good stories and poems by young writers ages 8 to 13. Our only requirement is that the work must be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope.”

Mandel says, “We advise our young writers to do lots of reading and lots of writing. We suggest they keep a journal. To get an idea of the kind of writing we publish, we suggest they read material from past issues of Stone Soup, which they can find on our web site, along with more detailed contributor guidelines.” www.stonesoup.com

Note: Stone Soup does not accept electronic submissions. Contact them at:

Stone Soup
Ms. Gerry Mandel
POB 83
Santa Cruz, CA 95063-0083

Charlesbridge Publishing produces books for kids.

Elena Wright is vice president of the school division for Charlesbridge Publishing. I spoke with her via email recently and this is what she had to say, “We plan to publish 20 books in 2002. We aim to publish books that educate and entertain—books that stand the test of time just as good adult literature does. Currently, we’re looking for fiction stories in which a child solves a problem of his or her own using mathematical reasoning.”

Some recent titles from Charlesbridge are, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of PI by Cindy Neuschwander and Cut Down to Size at High Noon by Scott Sundby.

While there is no length requirement, Wright says that generally they publish 32-page picture books. Please send a query/proposal first. Keep in mind that their audience includes kids and their parents and teachers.

Contact information:
Charlesbridge Publishing
Elena Dworkin Wright
85 Main St.
Watertown, MA 02472
www.charlesbridge.com

Coming Up

Next month we’ll feature Christian publications.

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/publisher. 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

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