As mentioned in my previous post, I enjoy writing for regionals. Today I want to share how I submit my manuscripts.
Buy the List: I purchased Brette Sember's e-magazine, "Selling to the Regional Parenting Publication Market." Included with this e-zine is a comprehensive list of email addresses for editors of regional parenting publications (RPPs). Even if you don't purchase the e-book, I recommend the list. You can purchase updates to the list, which includes new markets, on a monthly basis from Brette's website.
Organize the List: My RPPs list is organized into chunks of 10 or 12 so that I don't get targeted as a spammer. Each time I work with an editor, I move him or her from my generic lists to a "warm leads" list. More about this in a minute.
Writer's Guidelines: I do not follow specific writer's guidelines for my initial manuscript. I simply keep my work right at 800 words and send it in the body of my email as a double-spaced document, alone with a standard cover letter. However, if I enjoy working with an editor (the clip is high quality, my check arrives when it is supposed it, and/or my ideas click with the editor's ideas), I move those editors into my warm lead group. Now I have a narrowed-down list of publications. I can begin to pay more attention to writer's guidelines and tailor my submissions for different publications. Just the same, I send that original manuscript to the big list.
Sources: I typically cite only one expert in my manuscripts. One source = one interview = less time. I have interviewed sources all over the country. If I work with a magazine in Texas on one article (but my source is from Atlanta), then I might try to find a source in Texas for my next article in hopes that that magazine will work with me again. I find my desired expert and request the interview, explaining that I will be offering the finished product to multiple regional parenting publications. I mention that I have had success with this in the past and I refer them to my blog. On a few occasions, I have not received responses for interview requests (email), but I have been granted interviews far more frequently than I have been ignored.
Sell as a Reprint: A few times, I sent my original manuscript to one RPP at a time and asked if they would like first rights. I don't bother anymore. If I want to sell first rights, I will simply query a national publication. My experience is that most RPPs want good work (obviously), but simply don't have the budget to pay first rights for an unsolicited manuscript.
There is an exception to every rule and I am telling you what works for me.
I would love to hear about your experiences with RPPs and I invite you to join me next Thursday as I discuss ways that I have found experts and how I go about the interview process.