In three years of writing for regional parenting magazines, freelancer and mom of five Jan Udlock has sold over 220+ articles to more 100 publications. In this Q&A Udlock, who also helps manage the WordCount Blogathon and works as a virtual assistant, shares what freelancers trying to break into regional parenting and family magazines can expect:
Regional parenting magazines have been around for years. Do they cover current topics, or want fresh advice on evergreen topics?
Editors want evergreen topics because there will always be new parents with questions about raising their kids. We all want to know about tips for traveling with babies, practical ways to handle our anxiety with our child’s first trip to the dentist, or how to afford college for our kids. Wth technology always changing, articles on the newest tech gadget and how to balance the effects of technology within our families will always be popular.
How could a SAHM, blogger or someone without a journalism or writing background break in?
Regional parenting publications are an excellent way to break into publishing if you’ve never been published before. Editors are looking for clear, concise information with great sources that will educate and inform their readers.
Are parenting magazines going online, is that something potential contributors should take into consideration when pitching?
Most regional parenting magazines have websites so the articles can be read online. Sometimes an editor will ask for an article for online-only use.
Regional parenting magazines are a bit different than other kinds of magazines because they buy a lot of reprints, articles that have already appeared somewhere else. They also assign topics to writers for normally a higher fee. Depending on the magazine’s policy, a new writer could pitch an idea to the editor and send a list of their available reprints to the editor.
How many regional parenting publications are there?
175. This e-book from Kerrie McLoughlin lists more than 120 of them: Getting Published in Parenting and Family Magazines.
What do publications pay for different types of stories?
Depending on the size of the publication, regional parenting publications pay $25 to $75 for reprints. The beauty of selling to the regionals is that you can sell a reprint multiple times throughout the United States and Canada. Depending on the topic, you can sell the same article for a few years to various RPPs. I heard recently of one West Coast regional that paid up to $200 for an assignment, but that is super rare. I’m sure that well-known parenting writers get more than the average too.
Given the low rates, how can someone make writing for parenting magazines pay?
After a writer gets a dozen or two articles into circulation, the reprints checks start coming in. It’s a low-paying gig but it can be a great stepping stone for getting published clips and moving on to national magazines. I’ve sold a few stories over 14 times each – not too shabby for three hours of work.
Share two articles you’re especially proud of and why.
I wrote “Listen for the Pounding,” an essay on how learning American Sign Language made me more compassionate towards my kids when they have to learn new subjects in school. It’s a gentle reminder for parents on what kids go through.
I’m also very proud of “A Need to Belong,” which tells the story of Camp to Belong, a unique camp that provides foster kids a chance to live for a week with siblings they don’t get to see on a regular basis. After the story ran, I heard that it encouraged a young college student to volunteer at the camp and become very involved with the organization.
Some parenting writers syndicate columns or blog posts. How does that work?
Columns are rare nowadays. One writer friend has a military family lifestyle column in a regional publication, and another has an entertainment column. Still, it’s very rare
How could someone find out more about writing for regional parenting magazines?
I’m so glad you asked! If someone is interested in getting published in regional parenting magazines and lives in the Portland (Oregon) area, they can take a class I’ll be teaching on Saturday, Feb. 23, through the West Linn Parks and Recreation District. Find out more about it here: Get Published – Write for Regional Parenting Mags.
For more resources, read this post: How I became published & resources.