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Editorial Calendars and Guidelines


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#1 Jean Oram

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 12:37 PM

Okay, so I keep hearing "check editorial calendars and guidelines" for print publications. Yes, of course! (I've been a good fiction querying--I know how important the rules can be!)

But where do you find these fabled things? Most print websites have them buried (I end up Googling them half the time) and then they don't include the calendar or even real submission guidelines. And when you email for the calendar as some freelancers recommend, you don't hear back.

I've seen a few pay-for services that say they have editorial calendars and the like but I'm not sure if they are worth the money. I'm not trying to make mullah as much as expand my platform... but so far I keep getting discouraged from doing and 'real' print querying.

So, I guess I am wondering a few things that maybe you folks know about:

1. Are pay-for services for freelance gigs or editorial calendars worth the cash--are they up-to-date and accurate?
2. Where do you/have you found calendars and guidelines without wasting a ton of time?
3. Any other tips would be lovely!

Thanks.

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#2 mwsinclair

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:07 PM

Editorial calendars might be listed among the advertising stuff, and if they're not current, then you might want to avoid the publication.

At their heart, they're designed to spur advertising. Vendors look at the calendars and see that the November issue will feature software, perhaps, so the software companies make sure they're included in that issue, even if they also advertise in other issues. They might even time a product launch to the editorial calendars of influential publications. They're often similar from year to year.

From a writer's perspective, the calendar helps you direct a story pitch many months in advance. For example, a trade journal geared toward playgrounds might have a special issue on back to school stuff in their August or September issue. Since you looked up the new editorial calendars when they were released the previous November or December, you were able to send the editor a query letter in January or February describing your story idea about how towns can cost-effectively spruce up their playgrounds at schools and parks. Since you reguarly keep tabs on this magazine, you know what its biggeest advertisers are and you might even suggest you could talk to Companies X and Y for the piece. The editor might like that idea or not. You haven't written a word yet; you're just doing research and planning for potential stories. Plus, by gaining entree to a company's press department (your first stop unless you've dealt with them before), you might find other story ideas for other publications. PR people love to talk!

#3 mwsinclair

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:12 PM

Other things to keep in mind. Often, the "special reports" are loathed by a magazine's staff writers, since they're often the same things year after year. This is one of those areas where freelancers can get a nice clip. Also, suggest side bars. In my experience, these often happen in the midst of writing the article. In that case, contact the editor and say "While talking with Ms. Big Shot of PlayGroundProducts.com, she mentioned blah blah, blurgeddy blurp. I thought it might make a 150-word nice side bar." The editor, who's been having problems finding art for the piece, says "Good idea. Tack on another $50 to your invoice." He gets a new art element (which is how sidebars are often treated), and you get another $50 for a conversation you were already being paid to have.

#4 Jean Oram

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:46 PM

Nice.

Thanks, Matt. I am in the process of writing up a sidebar for a pitch right now... :wink:

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#5 alessag

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 02:33 PM

You can also take a look at "FAQs", "About Us" or "Contact Us" for the link to their Writer's Guidelines. Sometimes they'll include the theme list there.
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#6 Jean Oram

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:04 PM

Perfect, thanks! I promise to dig deeper in the future!

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com)

 





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