Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finding A Target Market

I took an essay class from Writers On The Rise and learned a valuable lesson: always find your target market before you write an essay!

Here's my personal experience example! I have a 500-word essay about the haircut my daughter gave herself. I think it is a good essay, but I wrote it without a market in mind and now I am stuck with an essay that is too short for most parenting publications. On the other hand, I wrote an essay specifically for Southern Living Magazine's "Southern Journal" section and it got picked up right away. 

One of the most time-consuming parts of freelance writing is finding writer's guidelines. I think it is even more difficult to find guidelines for personal essay markets. I thought I'd share the info for Southern Living in case any of you would like to try your hand at this market!

Contact: Sara Askew Jones
The only column that we
accept freelance articles on a regular basis is our SOUTHERN JOURNAL
column. For this column, we don't have a rigid set of guidelines;
however, there are some characteristics of a typical Journal that you
might find interesting. 

Above all, it must be Southern. We need comments on life in this
region--written from the standpoint of a person who is intimately
familiar with this part of the world. It's personal, almost always
involving something that happened to the writer or someone he or she
knows very well. We take special note of stories that are contemporary
in their point of view. 

We require that the piece be original and not published anywhere else
before. We need about 500-600 words, typed and double spaced. The
writing must have an essay quality--as opposed to a reporting,
interpretive, or editorial approach. Finally, it must be of
exceptionally high quality. Past contributors have included some of the
best-known writers in the South. We've also featured lesser-known, yet
talented people who had something important to say. 

If you think your proposed piece would fit this format, we'd be willing
to look at it. We can't guarantee acceptance of any piece for
publication, but if we do decide to use it, we will negotiate a fee forTh
complete ownership rights. Send your essay along with a SASE to Sara
Askew Jones, Editorial Department, at the address shown below or you may
email it. And please be patient--we receive a large volume of Journal
submissions, so our evaluation process sometimes takes several weeks or
longer. Nevertheless, you will be notified of our decision regarding
your essay. 


  1. Thanks so much for posting the guidelines!! I've been wanting to take the essay class but have been taking classes to finish my bachelor's degree (halfway there). I've taken the Writer mama class and loved it. i'm going to work on query letters and take the essay class this spring. Sounds like you are on your way! Keep up the great work....i wish you a fabulour 2009 full of writing success!

  2. Julie,
    Great little blog you've got here. Thanks for posting the guidelines, they are a pain to find sometimes.
    Hope Clark of has an ebook with all essay markets you might want to try...I subscribe to her weekly newsletters of calls for submissions and contest alerts!