This week on Forever Mountain Publishing, real adventures (and decisions) in writing! This week I’m sharing a bit about a project I’m working on, and why I’m making the decisions I am.
Some readers may know that I’m not just a writer. I also make stuff! A while back, I wrote some chainmail instructions. I’ve published (and sold) books and instruction sets in the past. But one set hadn’t really gone anywhere. Not yet.
I had a thought. The instruction set is for a chainmail camping tool. It’s outside my usual chainmail market. What about publishing it in a camping or backpacking magazine?
It wouldn’t be too hard to convert the instructions into an article. It’s an opportunity to break into a market I’ve been thinking about. So, why not?
Initially, I had a magazine in mind. But is it the right market? I looked at the magazine rack in my local store and found three options: my original choice, a “glossy” frontiersman magazine, and a more hunting oriented magazine. I’ve looked all three before. They seemed like good possibilities. So, I considered them further.
The easy shot…
My first option, the initial one, is a pretty sure sale. It’s a small mag. I know I can make the writing standards (I’m more of a pro than a lot of their contributors). But, they’re small, they don’t pay in money (an ad or subscription but not cash…), and (to be honest) the writing isn’t always up to my standards.
This option is the ‘highest end’ magazine of my prospective markets. They accept freelance stuff, but you can also find a lot of paid ‘article’ advertisements. This one’s a better-paying choice (they actually pay money…). The writing standards are higher (there are pros in the mix) and competition is going to be a lot higher.
The ‘middle ground’…
This one has better writing than the easy shot, but isn’t as big or glossy as the glossy mag. It seemed like a good option. But, when I opened the magazine, I noticed a few things… There was no statement about writers’ guidelines or submissions. They might be online, but I also noticed something else…
Like many magazines, this one has a classified section. But, there’s a note at the top that ad space is only available to subscription holders and regular readers. Whelp… Um… this would have been an interesting option, but if they’re going to restrict themselves like that, I’m not sure I want to play ball with them. If my purpose is to expand my market, why go with someone with an editorial mandate of exclusion?
I’d almost decided, and then… an ad for another magazine came to my attention. They weren’t on the rack at my local store, but the ad had a link to their website.
They weren’t as glossy as the glossy mag. I didn’t see a bunch of paid ‘adverticals’ and glossy paper. I did see quality writing, clearly stated writers’ guidelines, and a range of articles that fit with what I’d be submitting, without duplicate material. They were also offering around $40.00 per printed page.
I did my research. I did my thinking. And… the unexpected magazine, the one I hadn’t seen from the start, is my first choice. I could start with the easy shot, but why? If I just go down the easy path, I could shoot low. I could get less than my work worth because I undervalued myself and underestimate my chances.
I could go for the glossy mag, but I don’t like the feel as much. It might net me more cash, but the unexpected magazine feels like a better fit. My material meshes with what they’re publishing without duplicating it.
The unexpected option beats out the ‘middle ground’ magazine because I don’t like dealing with people who are exclusionary for reasons other than subject-matter fit and quality of writing. Digging deeper definitely did me a favor here.
If things go bad with my first submission, I still have the easy shot as a backup. Based on their writers’ guidelines, they don’t mind something that’s been submitted elsewhere. But, by choosing the unexpected option: I get a magazine that’s a good fit for the article, I get more of what I want out of the work, and I maintain a backup option should things not go so well the first time.
Researching your publishers is a thing, dear reader. Remember, just like job interviews, it’s not just convincing them you’re the right fit, you’re also making sure you find the best fit for you and your work.
Well, dear reader, the article won’t finish itself, and you’ve got your own projects. Don’t sell yourself short. Do the thinking and choose the best option available based on your plans and needs. And, I’ll see you next post.