One Writer’s Journey

December 9, 2014

Sending Your Work to an Agent

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:33 am
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agentWhen writers start to pull together their writing samples for an agent, they get weird.  Okay, I mean we get weird.  Writing is one thing.  Submitting your work to an agent is something else — it freaks us out.

I read a post today about querying an agent that made me shake my head.  Someone asked this agent about how to query with the first 50 pages of her manuscript when the agent really needed to read through page 53.  If she read through page 53, she’d GET it.  This person asked if it was okay if she fiddled with the font and made it 11.5 instead of 12 . . . I’ll let you read agent Janet Reid’s response.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when sending an agent your work:

1.  Pick your very best writing that falls within what they represent.  If your very best piece is a novel and this agent wants picture books, find an agent who wants novels.

2.  Start with page 1 . . . If they want 10 pages or 50 pages, start with page 1.  Don’t send them your exciting climax instead.  The agent, like any reader, needs to start from the beginning.

3. Don’t send attachments if they want it in the body of the message.  This is a tough one for a lot of writers becuase submitting your work in the body of an e-mail just looks so messy.  It does.  But if the agent doesn’t want attachments, follow instructions.  She isn’t going to read an attachment.

4.  Keep your formatting normal.  If they do accept attachments, keep your formatting normal.  Don’t get cute with the font or the margins.  Times New Roman.  12 point. Double space.  One inch margins.

5.  Hit send and then get busy.  Not fussing.  Not worrying.  Not checking your inbox.  Go work on something else.  Seriously.  If the guidelines say that the agent takes 3 weeks to reply, give her 5.  Don’t e-mail her at 3.  Get your mind off it by working on something else.

When you draw attention to your self, you want the agent to be impressed with your amazing writing, not the fact that you can be a tad neurotic.


November 6, 2014

Guidelines vs the published magazine

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:18 am
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MagazinesWhen my students look at magazine markets, I tell them to study both the magazine’s guidelines and the published magazine.  The reason for this is that they often tell very different stories.

What do I mean?  Let’s say that you are looking at the guidelines for Great-Kids-Mag.  They tell you that they want crafts, science activities and games.  They also want history set in the US and abroad as well as multicultural pieces for the US and the larger world.  That’s great, because you have a multicultural piece about Cuba American’s that you’d like to submit.

But then you look at the published magazine.  You can’t look at just one or two issues.  You should study from 6 months to a year so that you get a more complete picture.

What you find is a little confusing.  You find lots and lots of world history and world cultures, and US history, but nothing multicultural set in the US.

What does this tell you?  It might be that the publisher really does what multicultural work set here but doesn’t get anything that they can use.  It might also mean that the guidelines are simply not up to date.  Would I still submit the Cuban American piece?  Maybe.  But first I would probably send them something set in Cuba.  If I got a rejection letter saying that they already had enough set abroad, I’d have my answer.  If I made a sale . . . there really isn’t a down side to that because I’d have a sale.

As much as we like to think that guidelines tell the whole story, take a look at the magazine.  It takes longer to study but it often gives a more realistic picture of what the publisher is actually buying.  Guidelines give you word count, pay rates and editor names.



May 6, 2009

21st Century Family — What we still need

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:51 am
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I’m still acquiring for the test issue and am waiting to hear back from several people but here is what I have open right now:

  • Frugal Families
  • Kids Can
  • Kids Connect
  • Parents Plus
  • Safety First
  • SOS
  • 1 2000 word feature
  • 2 1000 word features
  • 2 650 word features

If you need a look at the full guidelines, you can find them here


April 28, 2009

21st Century Family: Guidelines Have Been Updated

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:31 am
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Okay, I talked to the publisher and have updated the guidelines.  Everyone who has queried, submitted or asked me a question should hear from me tomorrow.  Then I’ll post a list of what we still need for the first issue. 

Thanks for being patient!


April 23, 2009

21st Century Family: Guidelines

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:31 am
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I’ve been itching to share my big news with everyone but had to wait until we had a sample table of contents and guidelines ready to go.   It was like waiting for Christmas to get here, but like Christmas the big day has finally arrived. 

I am the managing editor of a new virtual magazine, 21st Century Family, focusing on parenting and family. We are pulling together our first issue — a test issue to run by potential advertisers.   Obvsiously, this means that we need writers, writers who get the kind of content we want (see below).   We (as in we had to pull together guidelines) are myself, Bob Mehsikomer and the guys at Digital Integration Services.  I’m responsible for gathering content.  They will make it all wondrous and digital just like they do with Simply Fishing

If you have questions, let me know!

21st Century Family

Check out what we still need for the next issue by clicking here.

Think of 21st Century Family as that friend you love to meet for coffee — uplifting, encouraging, and fun.  The friend who can laugh at your child’s sense of adventure.  We’re here to encourage our readers to enjoy their families.  

21st Century Family is 100% freelance written, and we welcome queries and submissions. Articles and columns must have a positive tone.  We encourage readers to act, not just to react.  Although articles may be written from the perspective of a particular religion, we are an international publication and thus readers practice a wide variety of faiths.  That said, for the time being our core audience is in the US and middle class. 

Do not submit press releases disguised as articles.  

At this time, we are putting together the “test issue” of 21st Century Family.  What’s a test issue?   Our plans are to launch a bi-monthly magazine that will go monthly in the not-too-distant future.  Before we can do that, we need to build an income stream and that means finding advertisers.  To find advertisers, we need a magazine for our sales staff to shop around.  That’s what the “test issue” will be, the carrot the sales department needs to show potential advertisers what we can do.  This issue will have the same basic table of contents, broken down between features and columns, as our regular issues. 


  • 2, 2000 word articles, $200.00 each
  • 4, 1000 word articles, $100.00 each
  • 3, 650 word articles, $75.00 each


  • “A, B, C and 1, 2, 3,” 650 word column, $75.00
    Topic: Education and learning.
  • “A+ Parents,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Profiles of unique, positive parents.  Who do you want to be like before your kids grow up?
  • Crafty Kids,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Something to do on a rainy day or for one-on-one time between a child and an adult.  Hands-on activities for busy minds.
  • “Family Places,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic:  Family friendly destinations and locations worldwide.  Museums, parks, nature areas and more that have both adult and kid appeal.
  • “Family Spaces,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Spaces in the home, from great kids rooms to living rooms and kitchens, that include kid friendly space but look good enough to have company over.  Can include ways to organize, declutter, and decorate.
  • “Frugal Families,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Money saving tips for both necessities and the fun things in life.
  • “Kids Can,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Profiles of amazing kids who get things done. 
  • “Kids Connect,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic:  Sites and on-line communities for families and kids.
  • “LOL,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Humorous essays to help keep the serious business that is parenting in perspective. 
  • “Parents Plus,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Information on parental relationships and things just for you, the parent.
  • “Ready . . . Set . . . Go,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: The place for fun activities and games.   Things to help kids and parents get up and move.
  • “Safety First,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Recalls and other safety issues.
  • “SOS,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: This column addresses issues in parenting.  “What do I do when my kid (fill in the blank)?”
  • “Time to Eat,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Space for family friendly recipes including fun things kids can make themselves.  Also themed party menus, camp out meals, picnics and more.
  • “20 Minutes a Day,” 650 word column $75.00
    Topic: Literacy experts tell us that reading 20 minutes a day develops reading skills and lifelong reading habits.  This column reviews books for young readers and books on family and parenting issues.

Photographs: A good photograph can help sell your article.  We pay $10.00/photograph used. 

Rights:   One time rights.  When we have things up and running, each issue will be archived for 1 year on-line.  One month after publication, you may sell the piece elsewhere although we do ask that you credit 21st Century Family.

Payment: 21st Century Family pays upon publication.  For this test issue, payment will be processed in August, 2009.

By submitting your work to 21st Century Family, you are agreeing to these rights and terms. 
Submitting Your Work: All submission must come in the body of the e-mail.  We will open no attachments.  Just copy and paste your work into the e-mail.  This may mean that you lose some formatting but it helps us avoid viruses.  Begin your subject line with either “Query” or “Submission.”  No one wants to delete your message thinking it is spam.

Send your submissions to: Sue Bradford Edwards, 21st Century Family Managing Editor,


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