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My new book is here!

11 May

I’m so excited to announce the arrival and release of my new book for writers. It’s now in my hot little hands and for sale from the back of my van. (I jest. Well, sort of. But not entirely.)

The book is a practical, how-t0, hands-on, step-by-step guide for getting published today. It’s perfect for anyone who has dreams of getting published, but doesn’t quite know how to get started and where to go.

The entire publishing process is covered in the book, with everything from coming up with marketable ideas, to writing query letters, to writing leads, to working with editors (and everything in between) highlighted.

It also includes a number of “extras”–“Writer Spotlight” interviews with professional writers and editors, “Writing Advantage” sidebars, sample query letters and articles, and learning exercises with every chapter.

The chapters in the book will give you a good idea of what you can expect between its covers:

1: Magazine Writing Today

2: Writing Features for Newspapers

3: Writing for Online Publications

4: Writing for Trade Publications

5: The Magazine Article

6: The Writing Process

7: Generating Ideas

8: Marketing Your Writing

9: Query Letters

10: Research & Interviews

11: Writing a Feature Article: Structure

12: Outlining, Drafting, Revising

13: Writing a Feature Article: Style

14: Final Steps to Publication

15: Business, Legal, & Ethical Practices

The book will be marketed as a textbook to college feature writing and magazine writing courses, but it is also a wonderful resource for aspiring freelance writers (or successful writers who want a jumpstart to their work).

I’m looking forward to talking about the topics in the book to writing groups and at writing conferences in the next months. If you would like to have me as a speaker for your group, let me know and I will get you on my schedule (email me at; comment on this post; or visit me at “Cheryl Sloan Wray” or at “Writing with Cheryl” on Facebook).

If you’d like a copy of the book, let me know and I can mail one off to you. It retails to colleges for $31.95, but I can sell individual copies for $20. (I’ll even autograph it for you!)

A new book is always an exciting thing…and I’m especially excited that my book is designed to help writers find publishing success.

(Look for more things here related to the book soon. I will be posting some excerpts, speaking news, and other items related to it.)

Have a wonderful…and productive…Friday and weekend.


What about multiple submissions?

16 Mar

In talking with writers who have an interest in writing for and getting published in magazines, a common question I get from them is: “What does it mean when an editor says he doesn’t want to receive multiple submissions?” And, close to that question, is this: “Can I only send one article at a time to a magazine? That seems like a waste of time to me.”

It’s difficult to get many articles published if you query on only one idea at a time. However, many publications ask that you not send them multiple submissions.

So, as a writer who desires publications and payment, what do you do?

In dealing with the dilemma, it’s important first to understand the concept of
multiple submissions. Sending multiple submissions means that you are sending the same article to more than one magazine at the same time. It would be an ethical issue if you had competing magazines (magazines that have the same audiences) with your same article on slate for publication. Ethical and intelligent ways exist, though, to increase your chances of success and not cause a problem among different publications. Here are the two basic principles to follow:

1. Do send as many query letters on the same article idea to as many magazines as you can think of.

While you must not send the same, complete article to competing magazines, you should send query letters to as many magazines as possible. All of them will not be interested in your idea, but perhaps one or more will be. Imagine, though, that you have created a list of 10 magazines you think might like the idea and you send a query to only one magazine at a time, waiting to get a response from it before querying the next magazine on your list. Also imagine that, on average, it takes each magazine one month to reply to your query and that the first one to accept your idea is the seventh one you query. That means it would take seven months before you get a go-ahead.

Instead of waiting so long, go ahead at the beginning and send queries to all
10 magazines.

2. Do not send the same manuscript to competing magazines, but come up with
other slants to the same general idea.

Most competing magazines–all women’s magazines or all teen magazines,
for example–publish articles on the same general topics (health, relationships,
diet, etc.). So several of them could be interested in the same idea about which
you query. If you send out multiple queries at the same time, then, it is possible that more than one magazine will give you a go-ahead. If more than one magazine wants your article, you then have the following

a. You could send your article to only one magazine and tell the others of
your decision.

b. You could send your article to one magazine–and not reply to the other
magazines–and then, in the event the first magazine decides not to publish the
article, send it to a second magazine.

c. You could write an article for each of the magazines that give you a go-
ahead, with each article taking a distinctive approach to the idea.

Multiple articles on the same general idea are not a problem. Keep in mind that magazines in the same field publish numerous articles about the same topics issue after issue. If two or more magazines want an article from you, simply assure that you use different material–such as sources, quotations, and anecdotes–for each article.

When you sell an article to one magazine, take your success as an indication
that you have a good idea, one that might interest other magazines. So work with the idea, slant it differently, and propose an article to a competing magazine.

(This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Writing Feature Articles: The Professional Guide to Publishing in Magazines, Newspapers, and Online. It will be available in Summer, 2012.)