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1. Still Selling

In my last post, I noted that I haven’t been writing much since taking on full-time work as a proofreader/copy editor and that I’ve had some strange sales that have led me to believe God is nudging me to get back to writing. Well, I have another strange sale to add to the list.  One of my fiction stories was recently published in a magazine, and I can’t even remember when I submitted it. It must have been four or five years ago. The story was one I had already sold to two magazines so I must have submitted it to this magazine to sell reprint rights. Anyway, a copy of the magazine with my story in it arrived in the mail, along with payment. I didn’t even know the publisher had accepted it.

Many publishers no longer respond to a submission if they aren’t interested, so if I haven’t heard from them in three months, I usually figure my submission was rejected. Some publishers say they’ll hold on to submissions for future consideration, but in my experience, that usually means up to a year wait. I’ve never had anyone hold on to a submission for four or five years.

I’m not complaining, and I can take a clue. I spent last weekend writing a short story, finished it, and sent it off to an e-zine that pays. I typically submit only to traditional magazines, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the e-zine.

I think I’ll write next weekend too. :)

 


2 Comments on Still Selling, last added: 6/19/2014
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2. New Summer Stuff

So, it seems that after an eternal period of bad and/or middling weather, it’s finally summer! Let us celebrate, shall we?

Maybe you’ll hit a Newport Creamery sometime soon, and grab an AwfulAwful… while you’re there, pick up one of my children’s menus. This one is Block Island themed. It was fun for me to work on this one, as I spent many summers out there courtesy of my uncle, Captain Nick.

 

NC17_exterior_draft

 

And maybe, in your beach bag you’ll have a copy of the current July/August 2014 issue of Rachael Ray magazine. If so, you may find one of my design items in there… it’s TingTing Tongs, which are salad tongs shaped like one of those cymbal-bashing monkeys. Thank you Rachael and staff for featuring it!

 

rr_blog_lo

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3. Writers Rumpus Blogiversary

 What is Writers Rumpus? Marianne Knowles, who runs the writers critique groups I belong to, started a blog for children’s book writers and illustrators that is chock full of great information in twice weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays)  by our crit group members  and guest posters. I’ve written a few of these articles myself. One, titled […]

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4. Independent Writing: 10 Ways to Get Students Published in the Real World

Some students want to write more than what is required of them in writing workshop. Enter independent writing projects! But how do you go from being another set of eyes on some additional writing a student does to helping him/her go public with their work?

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5. Finding Your Other Markets

This article also appears at writersrumpus.com. While your book is percolating in your mind, in revisions or sketches, or under the scrutiny of your crit group buddies, you can explore ways to build your publishing credentials. Magazines and other media can be valuable, shorter-term ways to get your work seen. Here’s a more-or-less “out there” […]

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6. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.
Vaclav Havel

steps

Mom’s Highlights Contest story is finished resting, and thanks to her Contest Magic classmates giving her tons of help, she revised it –  AGAIN – cutting and adding and switching and tightening and tweaking (not twerking – trust me – nobody wants to see that).

 Yesterday, we went to the mailbox

mail

and Mom unceremoniously dropped it in. She said, “I could work on this thing for the rest of my life.” and “It’s time to stop staring up the steps and step up the stairs.” and “Where do you think you’re going?”

steps2

Mom is hoping to win big, but she is also hoping for her cyberclassmates to win big right along with her. She said, “Their stories are amazing.” and “Can I even compete with these people?” and “There’s nothing up there for you.”

Is she talking to me??

Is she talking to me??


10 Comments on Inspirational Quote of the Week, last added: 1/31/2014
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7. Fixed

quote pic

When I first came here, I had to be fixed. I wasn’t broken, but getting fixed was about not getting any more puppies in my belly. That’s fine with me.

puppies

My puppies were adopted at the shelter where I “lived” (and by lived, I mean barely existed) before I was rescued. Nowadays, I feel that puppies would take away some of Mom’s attention – which belongs 100% on ME. Plus, I use my belly for other things, named treats.

jar

Mom’s story for the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest wasn’t broken, either.

highlights

But, boy oh boy, did it need to be fixed. Mom’s cyberclassmates and her cyberteacher from the Contest Magic class gave suggestion after suggestion and asked important questions that made Mom think of important answers and make important changes. At the end of it all, the story was a LOT better than it started out. Like me!

Before

Before

After

After

Some things Mom learned were:

1. She is a mental case when it comes to commas.  (She, kind, of, already, knew, that,,,)

comma

2. The story problem needs to be close to the beginning of the story.

Help!

Help!

3. Readers need to learn about characters by what they say and what they do.

photo 5

4. A problem can’t solve itself. Characters need to work at it and make the solution happen. And it can’t be too easy.

photo 4

5. Conflict and tension are important. (Mom stinks at both of them.)

photo 3

6. Sometimes, even your favorite parts of a story need to be cut. It might be scary and hurt a little, but it has to be done.

...has to be done...

It’s like getting my nails trimmed. Like it or not, it has to be done….


13 Comments on Fixed, last added: 1/26/2014
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8. Frenzy

Sometimes, when I play with my monkey in a barrel, it puts me into a frenzy. There’s just too much going on! Too much to do. Too many possibilities. Bite the barrel? Tear off the lid? Growl at the talking? Rip the monkey’s face off? Chew his arm till he stops laughing? Shake the whole thing till I’m dizzy? I don’t know what to do first.

Since NewYears, Mom has also been in a frenzy. She’s not biting, tearing, growling, ripping, chewing, or shaking, like me. But she does have a lot going on, a lot to do, and a lot of possibilities. She may have bitten off more than she can chew. I’ve done that occasionally, too…. (And by “occasionally” I mean every day.)

photo

Gah! Why is my mouth so tiny?!

Mom has entered a ton of challenges, and made a bunch of goals for herself this year. She will read 200 picture books in the Goodreads Challenge again,

2014 goodreads

she joined 12×12 for 2014, which means she needs to write a new first draft in the next few weeks,

12-x-12-new-banner

she’ll get 30 new ideas when PiBoIdMo starts,

lightbulb

and she will write 30 poems this year.

poetry

In between all those jobs (and a bunch of others – if you can believe such a thing), Mom decided to enter the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest this month, AND take Susanna Hill’s Making Contest Magic class this week.

So Mom is learning, mind-writing, registering, paypal-ing, reading, commenting, revising, studying, listing, rhyming, critiquing, and ….do you see what’s missing here??

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off (stolen) more than I can chew again.

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off more than I can chew again.

Rocky, over at my friend Bacon’s blog told me that January 6 was National CuddleUp Day. So I made sure Mom took some time out to celebrate. Actually, I will make sure we celebrate that thing EVERY day!!

cuddle


10 Comments on Frenzy, last added: 1/8/2014
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9. Jerry Garcia Reads...


A friend sent me the above photo this morning. "You probably know more about Sci Fi and Fantasy publications than anyone I know," he wrote, "so can you possibly identify the book that Jerry Garcia is reading in the attached photo. It would mean a lot to thousands of Deadheads."

I like a challenge. The picture is of such low resolution I almost couldn't make out anything helpful about the book, but I was determined. The title seemed long and the more I stared at it, the more it looked like some sort of anthology title ... The Best something? ... maybe a best of the year collection? ... no, best of fantasy and science -- The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, I bet. I've got a few copies of that longrunning series of stories from the venerable magazine, but all mine are old hardcovers picked up at library sales. I'm not sure I've ever even seen one of the paperbacks, or knew that there were paperbacks of the series. But God invented ISFDB for just such moments. I didn't know which volume of the series this was, but figured if I looked up some of the paperbacks from the 1960s, I might be able to figure it out. I tried the 18th first. No, but the text and layout looked like I was maybe in the vicinity. So I just kept trying.

And there it was. The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, 14th Series.

I was particularly amused to see that the ever-wonderful Kit Reed had a story in the book ("Automatic Tiger"). I stuck the info on Facebook and asked her if she'd gotten a fan letter from Jerry. Alas, no. But still, it's nice to find direction around some corner where it's been waiting to meet you.

1 Comments on Jerry Garcia Reads..., last added: 9/12/2013
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10. Illustrator Saturday – Tracy Campbell

tracyHeader 13Here is Tracy explaining her process:

Below, I’ve included some of the steps I used to draw and paint the “Watermelon Barrette”.

Illustration:

  • Draw the design, scan it, and then reduce the drawing to fit the surface.
  • Trace the design onto tracing paper.

Tracy Campbell - Barrettes - B & W Illustration

                       

Paint/Supplies/Brushes:

  • DecoArt Americana Acrylics.
  • DecoArt Matte Varnish Sealer.
  • Krylon Matte Finish Spray.
  • Brushes—1/8” and 1/4”      Stipplers, #1 and #3 Round, 3/4” Wash, #2, #4, and a #10 Shader, #6      Filbert, and a #10/0 Spotter.

Wood Surface Preparation:

  • Sand the wood barrette with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
  • Remove the dust with a tack cloth.
  • Apply one coat of DecoArt Matte Varnish Sealer.
  • Allow to dry, sand, and then wipe clean.
  • Paint the background with at least three coats of paint.
  • Center the tracing over the barrette.
  • Slip the dark blue dress-maker’s paper under the drawing, and then
  • Trace the main pattern lines with a stylus and/or a pencil.

 

Color Worksheet:

tracybarettes1

tracybarette2 Drybrush Tips:

  • Use a 1/8” Stippler to      drybrush small areas.
  • Use a 1/4” Stippler to      drybrush large areas.
  • Dip the brush into the      desired paint color.
  • In a circular motion,      wipe off the excess paint onto an absorbant paper towel.
  • In a circular motion,      applying slight pressure, begin in the darkest area and move toward the      lightest area.
  • Follow the above steps      until the desired results are achieved.

 Finishing Touches:

  • Let the piece cure (I      wait three days).
  • Apply one coat of DecoArt Matte Varnish Sealer.
  • Let dry (15 to 30      minutes).
  • Lightly sand with a      brown paper bag.
  • Apply at least three      coats of sealer, sanding between each coat.
  • Spray with Krylon Matte Finish.

Did you go to school for art?
No, not unless you count the “How to Paint” workshops I signed up for in 1991.

What types of things helped you to develop as an illustrator?
In 1994, a published picture book illustrator encouraged me to draw my own designs. So with shaky fingers, I picked up a pencil and gave it a whirl. And voila! The fabric tree and snow mama was my first design, and I painted it on slate.

Tracy Campbell - Potted Fabric Christmas Tree 3

I continued studying “How to Paint” books, and then with three years of drawing and painting practice under my belt, I designed “How to Paint” pattern packets. During that time, I attended a Tuesday morning group for young moms at a local church. The moms loved my designs, and they invited me to teach on Tuesday mornings. One of the designs I taught them, Noah’s Flying Angels, was painted on a wood piece.

Tracy Campbell - Noah's Flying Angels

My confidence bloomed like the flowers in my garden, and I decided to sell my expanding portfolio. Without access to the Internet, I packed up my car and traipsed all over Southern Ontario, begging and pleading with store owners to stock my designs on their bulging shelves. Krafty Kennedy’s, a store in London, Ontario, took a chance and purchased my packets. Wait, it gets better. They even asked me to teach workshops. A few years later, I became a “Big Brush” teacher at national painting shows in Toronto and London, Ontario.

Here is a pattern packet design.

Tracy Campbell - Coaster Tray - I Love Coffee, I Love Tea

What was the first piece of art you did where someone paid you?

A small marketing company hired me to design thirty cards. I recently revamped “Gone Fishing” to create a Father’s Day card.

Tracy Campbell - Father's Day Card (1)

Did you start out doing interior design work?

It wasn’t until 2004 that I received accreditation as an International Design and Decorating Professional. I then obtained my Staging, Color Consulting, and Professional Organizing designations. While I was running my decorating business, QC Design School approached me to tutor students and, later, to facilitate Color and Professional Organizing workshops. I’ve recently cut back on my decorating services to allow more time to pursue my new love…writing.

tracyrosters

What are your favorite art materials?
Hmm…I don’t really have a favorite. I paint on many surfaces—illustration board, slate, tin, wood, and canvas.
Here is a “Musical Angel” I painted on a CD box.

Tracy Campbell - Musical Angel CD Box

Have those material changed over the years?

Yes, I’ve discovered Copic markers, which I must say are not forgiving. To avoid making mistakes, I test the markers on scrap paper to ensure I choose the correct tint, tones, and shades. The upside, I reduce my painting time in half.

Here is a very rough sketch for the painting below.

Tracy Campbell - Thanksgiving Dinner - Rough SketchOnce the idea takes shape, I redraw each figure, scan it, and then enlarge or reduce each element until I’m happy with the placement. I then transfer the final drawing onto Strathmore WindpowerTM smooth finish, acid free Bristol.

Tracy Campbell - Thanksgiving Dinner

How long have you been illustrating?

I seriously began illustrating in 1994, so that means almost twenty years!

I like your note cards. How did you start creating and selling them?

Thank you, Kathy. Some of my three-dimensional wood designs were the inspiration that lead me to produce a line of square-shaped greeting cards, which I submitted to the Thirteenth Uniquely Ontario Creative Arts Show in Toronto, Ontario. My cards were judged on design, workmanship, promotional materials, and saleability. After receiving a score of 92 out of 100, I was invited to participate in the show that assists in the growth of Ontario’s best home-based entrepreneurs. I was disappointed I didn’t receive 100. 

Tracy Campbell - Singing Birthday Angel

Tracy Campbell - Sunflower Angel  1

Tracy Campbell - Toys 1

Kathy, I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment. Regal Gifts hired me to create A Country Charm Collection, reproduced on wrapping paper and gift cards.

Here are just four designs.

Tracy Campbell - Christmas Clad Reindeer

Tracy Campbell - Holiday Clad Reindeer 1

Tracy Campbell - Christmas Angel

Tracy Campbell - Christmas AngelsMy confidence soared. I queried a well-known calendar company in Markham, Ontario. Rejected, I sulked, unaware God was still at work. A few months later, I received a call. My name had been passed on to Zebra Publishing. They hired me to design a “baby’s first year keepsake” calendar, and the following year, a “twelve-month folk art” calendar. Both calendars sold like hot cakes in mom-and-pop bookstores, Chapter’s bookstores in Canada, and Barnes & Noble in the U.S.

Tracy Campbell - Calendar Cover Art - Baby's First Year

Tracy Campbell - Folk Art Calendar Cover

It looks like you have written and illustrated a children’s book. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Our Story—You & Me is much more than a children’s book. It’s also a record-keeping book sprinkled with quaint quotes that will appeal to mommies and expectant mommies who want to capture the milestones of their baby’s first year. The book is unique in that it elevates a record-keeping book to an early-reader storybook a mom can read to her child, and uses a child’s natural curiosity about their first year of life to help interest them in reading. In the years to follow, mom and growing child will giggle together, poring over candid photos of things like a toothless grin, wobbly first steps, the ultrasound, and other special moments. This fifty plus page book mirrors my calendar art and will make the perfect baby shower gift.

Tracy Campbell - Book Cover

Do you have plans to self-publish?

I’m on the hunt for an agent.

Is illustrating children’s books a new direction for you?

It sure is. 

tracybunniesHave you ever illustrated something for a children’s magazine?

I haven’t pursued that avenue yet, but I have been published numerous times in American and Canadian “How to Paint” magazines.

Here are two tear sheets.

Tracy Campbell - Sweet Cherry Pie

Tracy Campbell - Barrettes

The drawing and painting instructions for the “Musical Angel CD Box” are similar to the “Watermelon Barrette”. Below, I’ve listed the differences.

Tracy Campbell - Musical Angel CD Box

Additional Supplies:

  • DecoArt Walnut Gel Stain.
  • Krylon Matte Finish Spray.

 

CD Box Surface Preparation:

  • Prep the box as per the previous instructions, paint the base Napa Red, paint the lid Antique White, and then paint the edge Deep Teal (apply at least three coats of paint).
  • Drybrush the Deep Teal area with Blue Green, and again with Deep Teal plus Buttermilk to brighten.
  • Apply scotch tape 1/4” from the edge, and then paint the border Country Red.
  • Paint corner squares Lamp Black.
  • Dilute the gel stain with water, and then apply with a foam brush. Wipe the excess stain with a cotton cloth. Let dry.
  • Spatter with Burnt Umber and again with Lamp Black.
  • Trace main pattern lines onto the lid.

 

Color Worksheet 1:

Tracy Campbell - Musical Angel - Color Worksheet A1

 Color Worksheet 2:

Tracy Campbell - Musical Angel - Color Worksheet A2

What have you been doing to get your artwork noticed?

I have an online whimsical shop over at http://www.tracycampbell.net/shop.html and a website over at http://www.tracy-campbell.artistwebsites.com, where Fine Art America reproduces my original whimsical works of art on metal, stretched canvas, and acrylic. You can also buy unframed prints or framed prints that are ready to hang on your wall or on a friend’s wall.

Tracy Campbell - Great Memories 1

Tracy Campbell - Bee Happy

Have you made picture book dummies to show art directors, editors, and reps.?

Not yet.

Do you have an agent?

I’m hard at work querying agents.

tracyhome

Do you ever use two different materials in one illustration?

Not materials per se, but here’s another style where I used a Micron pen and watered down acrylics.

Tracy Campbell - The Door replacement jpeg

The above piece was painted on illustration board. The process is the same as painting on wood, except I don’t have to prepare the surface. I just transfer the line drawing, ink the design, and then apply watered down acrylics.

I also paint on Paper Mache items.

tracyCandy Cane Ornament Painted on Paper Mache - Tracy Campbell 1

Tracy Campbell - Mitten Ornament

Have you seen your style change since you first started illustrating?

Oh my, yes! My earlier drawings and paintings were stiffer than my ironing board.

tracysheepHave you gotten any work through networking?
Yes, from author extradornaire, Susanna Hill. She purchased designs for her online course—Making Picture Book Magic. Take a peek over at http://www.susannahill.blogspot.ca/p/making-picture-book-magic.html.

Do you do any art exhibits to help get noticed?

Not at present.

tracyumbrellaAre you open to doing illustrations for self-published picture book authors?

Not at the moment. I’d like to concentrate on illustrating my own books.

Do you use Photoshop?

Yikes! I hear the learning curve is steep and I’m not getting any younger. I do scan my artwork, and manipulate my designs with Microsoft Publisher and Paint. Here’s one I reconfigured.

Tracy Campbell - Grow where you are planted

Do you own a graphic tablet? If so, how do you use it?

Unfortunately not.

How much time do you spend illustrating?

Not as much time as I’d like. Some days I work on marketing, other days I write and/or paint.

Do you have a studio set up in your house? Where do you live?

I have a second-floor studio in my 1841 farmhouse, nestled high on a hill in a secret location. 

Tracy Campbell - Our Farmhouse--Circa 1841

Is there anything in your studio, other than paint and brushes, that you couldn’t live without?

My art and writing reference books.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to find a literary and/or art agent, finish writing two picture books, polish my middle grade novel, and continue creating art that one day will appear on home décor and giftware items. Lord willing.

tracywateringcanWhat are you working on now?

Besides tutoring, I’m querying agents, blogging, writing a rhyming picture book, and adding art to sell on my website.

Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

I love dark blue dress-maker’s paper. I lay my line drawings over the transfer paper, and then I use a stylus to trace the design onto any surface I like. The beauty of this paper is that as soon as you add ink or water—poof—the lines disappear.

tracyangelmusic

Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

Don’t be afraid to try new things, step out of your comfort zone. As Will Rogers once said, “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple: Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”

Thank you Tracy for sharing your artwork and process with us. We will be watching to see how you develop your style to illustrate picture books.

If you want to see more of Tracy’s work or follow her in the future, her website is www.tracycampbell.net.  Please take a minute to leave Tracy a comment. It is much appreciated. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, How to, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: 3-D wood designs, How to Paint, Interior Design company, Magazines, Tracy Campbell

11 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Tracy Campbell, last added: 5/18/2013
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11. Nonfiction Books and Articles

If you've written an article on a subject, can you adapt it to a book? 

http://kidlit.com/2013/04/08/nonfiction-book-or-article/

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12. Interview with a Senior Editor

                                                                                                                           


This month, as a follow up to my March 14th post, "Making the Case for Magazines - Again," Joelle DuJardin, Senior Editor at Highlights, agreed to answer some questions.

1. How long have you been at Highlights?
I've been at Highlights for nearly 9 years, which, now that I think about it, is as long as the lifetime I seemed to spend at my K-8 elementary school. These Highlights years have flown by a lot more quickly - and have fortunately been filled with a lot less angst!

2. What changes have you seen in the magazine world?
In a tough marketplace, with so many exciting products competing for kids' time and attention, I think most kids' magazines are trying to clarify their vision and make their content more dynamic, which can ultimately be a good thing. As always, the best way for a writer to know the market is to read the actual magazines and get a feel for what they're trying to do. At Highlights, we're always trying to keep our brand fresh and engage readers in new ways, so in recent years we've become more open to considering new story formats and ideas as long as our mission isn't compromised.

3. Which genres do you edit at Highlights?
I edit all the fiction in Highlights magazine, which includes rebus stories for beginning readers, 500-word count stories for less-advanced readers, and 750-word stories for more advanced readers. We'll do an occasional story that runs longer. I also acquire all the poetry for the magazine.

4. About how many submissions do you receive every month?
We receive several hundred submissions a month.

5. What is the Highlights submission process?
I'm the first reader on manuscripts sent directly to me. (We also have an outside reader who reviews some of the submissions addressed to Manuscript Coordinator, and she'll pass along certain ones for us to consider further.) If I think a manuscript has promise, I might ask for feedback from two or three other editors before making a decision on it.
Once we purchase a manuscript, it goes into our inventory, where it waits until it fits with the overall balance of an issue. It's true that it can sometimes take a few years before a writer sees his or her story in print - but it's not that we've forgotten the piece. We remember vividly the stories we bought in past years!

6. How long can a writer expect to wait for news about their submission?
 We try to respond to submissions within two months, although it can sometimes take a little longer than that, depending on how busy we are.

7. What are you looking for now?
I'm always looking for funny stories. Historical fiction, holiday stories, and mysteries are amoung our current needs.

Thank you, Joelle, for taking the time to answer my questions!

10 Comments on Interview with a Senior Editor, last added: 4/19/2013
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13. Making the Case for Magazines - Again

                                                                              
Most writers yearn to publish a book. No surprise! Writing conferences, blogs and professional journals are mostly aimed at book publication. Five years ago, I wrote about magazine publication as an option. Since then, the traditional book market (especially for picture books) is even tighter. And the digital/app market for picture books? Unless you are an author/illustrator, or your work is already illustrated, you're pretty much out of luck. Apps are expensive to make and developers usually look for established authors or a branded series.

So why not write for magazines? You'll get some rejection letters, but aren't they're always a part of the writing life? For non-fiction articles, you may have to write the dreaded query letter, but don't we all need practice with them? The only other disadvantages are smaller checks than a book advance and your moment of glory only lasts a month.

But consider the advantages:

1. You don't need an agent to submit.
2. Most magazine pieces are short - not as time consuming as producing a novel or picture book.
3. Using a different slant, you can often reuse your research for another piece.
4. You might see your name in print without waiting for years.
5. Often a wide audience sees your writing and you needn't spend hours on promotion.
6. You don't get wacky book reviews in professional journals.
7. Your magazine piece could earn additional money through reprint rights.
8. There are a bundle of contests and prizes to be won in the magazine world.

Magazines, anyone?

Next month I'll interview a senior editor at Highlights. Stay tuned.



6 Comments on Making the Case for Magazines - Again, last added: 3/16/2013
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14. 10,000

10000

Last week, we reached 10,000 views on our blog. I’m not much with the math, but 10,000 seems like a lot, seeing as how Mom only lets me post once or twice a week. I am excited that so many people and pets wanted to see what we were up to.

Of course, about 9,000 of the views were probably Mom, looking for mistakes and reading comments and stuff. She is my biggest fan. I am her biggest fan, too!

fan

A long time ago, Mom got a fan letter from a little girl who read one of her poems in Spider Magazine. The little girl said that Mom’s poem made her laugh.

fan letter

I’d like to say Mom was excited about the fan letter, but excited doesn’t even begin to express how she felt. That letter was her favorite piece of mail of her life, until she got the contract for her first book years and years later.

Even though Mom’s book had a ton of good reviews and won The Moonbeam Award, she has never received a fan letter from any of her readers. She has lots of thank you letters from the kids at the schools she visited…

notes2 notes1

….but no fan letters.

If I could write, I’d send her one, but paws aren’t much good with a pencil.

writing

Thanks to all my fans for visiting Cupcake Speaks. Every Visit, every Comment, and every Like feels like a fan letter to me!! xoxo


11 Comments on 10,000, last added: 2/5/2013
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15. Why, Hello, Little Magazine!

I am happy to say that my artwork is currently appearing in a brand NEW little magazine published by our friends at Highlights.

Highlights Hello is designed for the youngest babies and toddlers, and is even printed on rip-proof coated paper and stitched like a little board book.

I love illustrating for this age group. Here is my “Find It” feature, which is like baby’s first Hidden Pictures!

 

 

 

1 Comments on Why, Hello, Little Magazine!, last added: 1/26/2013
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16. Toastworthy Teens - Julia Bluhm



 Julia Bluhm, Anti-Photoshop Campaign

Since we so love reality on our TVs, why not in our magazines?
Well, because of the efforts of one 14-year-old girl, we may soon be getting just that.

Maine teen Julia Bluhm grew so tired of models photoshopped to the point of unrecognizability that she began a petition on Change.org. And once she accumulated over 85,000 confirming signatures, she and some friends brought the petition to protest outside the NYC office of Seventeen Magazine.

Although Julia didn’t have high expectations, Seventeen actually responded with a published “peace treaty,” agreeing to “never change girls’ body or face shapes” and to “celebrate every kind of beauty in [their] pages.”

That first success then fueled Julia to join other girls in similarly petitioning Teen Vogue. To help her win them over, sign on at:


Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE?  
Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!



3 Comments on Toastworthy Teens - Julia Bluhm, last added: 1/3/2013
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17. Today Show and New Press!

Well, hello, little blog- so good to see you. I’ve been away for while, mostly getting a kid through an extended hospital stay (she’s good now!), and scrambling to catch up on everything else. But hey! Here’s some stuff that showed up recently!

One of my new FRED items, Mr. Tea (a tea infuser shaped like a little guy), was on the Today Show today. Here’s the mighty Al Roker mocking it now!

 

Watch the whole segment HERE, whereby you can see Al declare, and I quote, “Oh, that’s disturbing. That’s just not right.”  HA! He’s right, you know.

More good stuff:

The December 2012 ELLE Magazine: After you’re done checking out Jennifer Lawrence, perfecting your rosy cheeks and dramatic eyes, check out my Pizza Peddlar on the Gift Guide pages! And now you know how sexy women REALLY think.

 

Changing themes, here’s the December 2012 Issue of Family Circle (not to be confused with Family Circus, Little Billy). They have Mr. Tea featured in their 50 Presents Under $50 Gift Guide.

 

 

Ooh, la la! Qu’est ce que c’est? It’s one of my older-but-wiser items, the Chopstick Kids, featured in the Canadian style magazine, Signature. This is the Fall 2012 issue. Très bien!

 

 

1 Comments on Today Show and New Press!, last added: 12/18/2012
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18. 7 Reasons to Write for Publications in Other Countries

By Mridu Khullar Relph

The world is flat, asserts Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times‘ Foreign Affairs columnist and the author of the bestselling book by the same name. Never before in the history of the world have opportunities been distributed so evenly between people of colors, countries and gender. This is certainly true in freelancing. You could live anywhere in the world, never have stepped foot in New York City, but still have a fantastic career writing for some of the most respected names in the business.

I know of what I speak. I started my career ten years ago from New Delhi, India, writing for small publications around the world, including in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Bahrain, France, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and of course, India. I’ve now lived and worked in four continents and written for The New York Times, Time Magazine, Marie Claire, The Christian Science Monitor, The International Herald Tribune, Ms. magazine, Vogue, Glamour, and many more.

I have also come full cirlce and wound up where I began in India and even today, 95% of my income comes from publications that are based outside of my home country.

Selling work to countries outside your own isn’t just an ego boost (though it can be one when you get fan mail from Malaysia). With editors increasingly demanding more and more rights and your income threatening to dwindle, selling reprints in different countries and non-competing markets can be a fantastic solution. Even if you simply resell your pieces to different markets in various countries, you’ll earn substantially more.

Pitching to a foreign magazine is no different from pitching publications at home. Just be careful of cultural differences though. What works in the West may not necessary be right for, or even acceptable in, the East and vice versa. You can find international publications pretty easily these days. Just enter in keywords of your choice with country names into Google and just watch those babies pop up!

Here are a few more good reasons why you should be writing publications outside your own country.

1. Better pay.

Publications in the US typically pay a lot better than publications in Asia. Publications in Europe typically pay a lot better than publications in the US or Canada. Publications that are in foreign languages will translate your work and pay you for doing no extra work. Publications that are outside of the English-speaking world that need good writers in English will come back to you repeatedly for more work.

There is immense opportunity out there if you’re willing to look, do a bit of legwork, and keep your eyes open for opportunites beyond your newsstand. I get e-mails on a weekly basis from editors in European countries from publications I’ve never heard of asking me to write for them. If I do a good job, repeat work is almost inevitable. And my income has soared as a result. These aren’t the sexy gigs, but they’ll keep you in business.

2. Less competition.

Most writers — new or experienced — will usually look for publications in their own countries to pitch story ideas to. This means that there are editors in about 200+ other countries that may not have regular reporting or analysis from your country. That’s a very fertile market with very little competition.

For instance, I currently write for two construction trade magazines, one in the UK and one in the US. Both pay well, give me regular work, and have no other correspondents based in my country. They’re eager to hear about new developments from my part of the world, and I’m more than happy to provide it. Because I’m the reporter on the ground, I’m the eyes and ears for these publications and hence my relationship with my editors is much more involved and friendly than it would be if I were just another one of a group of writers they hire in their own country. I bring a specific part of the world to them and that’s what makes me stand out.

3. Less legalese.

American writers are often so used to 10-page contracts that will ask for everything but the deed to your house that when a publication doesn’t offer up a written contract or just, you know, wings it, they balk at this idea and think it must be some sort of scam. Sometimes, it is. But in much of Asia, and a lot of Europe, this is the way business is done. “We’re going to buy your article, we’ll have first rights, we’ll pay you £1,000 for it. Deadline is end of this month. Capiche?” How simple is that?

4. Extra income for work already done.

As I alluded to earlier, if you’re smart enough to hold on to your rights (and admittedly, it’s getting harder these days), you have 200+ more opportunities to sell that piece for first rights in specific territories. And that’s just in the English language alone. Then there are translations, audio rights, all sorts of rewriting opportunites, and don’t forget reslanting that information.

You’re obviously not going to go all that far with each piece — you chose this career because you found it exciting to write and report new things, after all — but even if you follow up on 1 percent of those opportunities, you’ll have a better income and more credits.

How do you get paid by all these publications? Wire transfer is my method of choice, but checks should work, too. Paypal works. Talk about tax with European publications — some like to deduct at source, which means they might lop off a third of your paycheck before it even gets to you even though you’re not paying tax in that country. You can get that money back, but it’s a headache. So discuss these things beforehand so there are no nasty surprises.

5. Higher readership.

If you’re looking to sell e-books or products from your own website, bringing international readers into your fold can substantially increase your readership and your market.

And why just e-books? You might end up selling international rights to your paperbacks, Kindle versions are now available all over the world, and Friedman’s flat world is especially becoming a reality in publishing where readers have always been open to new ideas, new authors, new cultures.

By consciously making an effort to include international readers in your work, you make fans for life. And how do you find these readers? By publishing in newspapers, magazines, and websites in their countries, of course.

6. Short lead times.

You know the women’s magazine that has been sitting on your FOB for about six months and has just now slated the piece for March next year? That doesn’t usually happen with non-US publications. Lead times around the world are far, far shorter than those for US magazines, so if you’re looking to beef up your resume with a few quick clips and credits, look to publications in Asia, where the lead time is the shortest I’ve ever seen. There — I think I just answered the age-old question of “How do I get published quickly?” that every new writer seems to ask. Tell me you don’t love me.

7. Makes you an expert.

Writing for international markets is a fantastic way of becoming a specialist in a certain topic. Say you’re an IT expert. If you can say you’ve been published in IT magazines around the world (or in X number of countries), that immediately lends you credibility and boosts your perceived experience on the topic. This, in turn, brings you more opportunities for speaking, presenting, teaching, and, of course, more writing. So if you write because you’re a specialist in a certain subject (or have a book out on a specific topic), writing internationally can be the key that unlocks many potential opportunties.

How about you? Do you regularly publish outside your country? Do you have any additional tips to add to the Comments?

Mridu Khullar Relph is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for The New York Times, Time magazine, The International Herald Tribune, Marie Claire, Ms., Elle, and hundreds of other national and international publications. Check out her tips for writers on her blog and connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. She’d love to hear from you.

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19. Mystery

Something strange arrived in the mail yesterday. I’m worn out from the wondering,

tuckered out from the thinking….

It’s not a rejection, because Mom didn’t put it into the shredder (to destroy the Karma). It’s not a bill, because Mom didn’t get online (and mumble) and pay it. It’s not a catalog, because she didn’t order me ( or herself) a new dress or toy.

Is it…? Could it be…? It IS! It’s an acceptance from Turtle Magazine. 

They are buying one of Mom’s stories! Yay!  The contract is signed and ready to go, and the letter is hanging on the bulletin board.  It’s not Book #2, but it’s an acceptance, and we LOVE that!  Look for Mom’s story, Waiting For Petey in the November/December issue of Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids.  That’s if you can find a copy.  Mom might go mental with excitement and buy them all herself. 

I wonder if Turtle Magazine tastes as delicious as the rent bill…..

Speaking of delicious things … and happy things, I’d like to thank our friends at DogDaz for giving us another Addictive Blog award, and our friend Chelsea at The Jenny Mac Book Blog for saying we’re Lovely again.  Both these blogs are fun to laugh with and learn from. See more about these awards here and here.


10 Comments on Mystery, last added: 9/11/2012
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20. Scrawl Magazine

scrawl magazine

Scrawl is a new digital magazine about comics & illustration created solely for the iPad. Scrawl was created as an independent platform for artists, which enables freedom and the opportunity to create and share their work with others. The pilot issue, which is now available as a free download, won both the best in the comics category and the first prize at the “Magnify your world” contest held by Mag+.

scrawl magazine

—–

Also worth viewing:
Laura Cattaneo aka Halfpasttwelve
PLOC Magazine
Anorak Magazine Interview

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A Huge thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this week’s RSS Feed!


©2012 Grain Edit - catch us on Facebook and twitter

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21. Magazine Markets

Author Evelyn Christensen provides links to submission guidelines for children's magazines.  

highlights.com/contributor-guidelines

0 Comments on Magazine Markets as of 10/7/2012 11:46:00 AM
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22. Picture Book or Short Story

They may be the same number of words, but they're not the same. 

http://www.institutechildrenslit.com/rx/ws06/pborzine.shtml

0 Comments on Picture Book or Short Story as of 10/14/2012 11:15:00 AM
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23. Let's Meet Chug!

Meet Chug is a new art initiative I concocted this morning while drinking coffee. I thought, what might be fun to paint on? Then I went to my studio and the only thing there were some old magazines. How fun to redesign the cover of a magazine?

I pulled out some sketches I did during a Christmas party on Friday night. You see, sometimes I go to parties and the people there talk about work. I don't know why people talk about work at parties. I bet when they go back to wrok on Monday they talk about the party. But I digress.. While they talk about work, I sketch stuff. It keeps my eyes from completely glazing over.

The magazine I found was an outdoor sportsman magazine chock full of articles about hunting and fishing and fun stuff that could be talked about at parties instead of talking about work.

The sketch is a cartoon version of a backhoe. I am fascinated with backhoes. If you are looking to get me a Christmas present a backhoe could be on your short list. The backhoes name is Chug. And now you have met.

It's probably a little cliche to paint a backhoe on a magazine that is nature related but it happened by chance.. it's the sketch I did and the magazine I found... so i'm going with it.


Above is a blurry photo of the magazine with the cover painted. There is also a book just incase the magazine doesn't pan out due to technical issues (glossy paper might peel, might curl, etc..)

0 Comments on Let's Meet Chug! as of 12/9/2012 10:57:00 AM
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24. I Love That Piece! Who Painted It?

I was sitting in a restaurant on Friday. On the wall was a very cool painting of fish. It had a whimsical childlike quality. The stuff I like to paint. The longer I stared at  the painting, the more impressed I was by how well the artist had captured fun and playfulness in the work.



When the owner of the restaurant stopped by our table I  just had to ask, "Do you know the artists that created that painting?"

The restaurant owner leaned over with a big smile on his face. "I sure do." He said. "My kid painted that along with her elementary class."

How great is that?

The painting is pictured above. I hate that the photo is so low quality but it was dark in the restaurant and the photo was taken on a cellphone.

The painting was so inspiring that I decided to pick up my brushes again this weekend. It is the inspiration for my new magazine cover series. Here is one of the covers in the works....




0 Comments on I Love That Piece! Who Painted It? as of 12/9/2012 1:47:00 PM
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25. Zinio Magazine Giveaway (ends 12/16)


Thanks to Zinio for offering up 10 free magazine subscriptions to share with our readers! Living in an apartment and being a total magazine junkie--I used to have more than 30 magazine subscriptions--some of them weeklies! eek! not to mention all the books--does not bode well for a clean and happy home. I still have several boxes of magazines I can't bear to get rid of (since I do re-read them or use them for reference), but now that digital subscriptions exist, I'm having an easier time converting and letting the paper copies go.

Use the Rafflecopter widget at the end of my post to enter the giveaway. I'll randomly pick 10 winners. Good luck!

Zinio has 300 magazine titles available at up to 50% off already-discounted prices.

Here are some of my favorites:


American Craft
Brain World
Poets & Writers

Dwell

Interweave Knits

Knitscene

 
Go to http://www.zinio-deals.com/december12/ to get 50% off select digital subscriptions (ends Dec 20). Magazines with the additional discount will have a note in red (see an example here).

Better Homes & Gardens has also put out some fantastic special holiday issues at 30% off: Food Gifts, Party Food, and even an entire issue devoted to Christmas Cookies. You can find them at http://www.zinio.com/holiday2012

Did you know? On Zinio you can browse and purchase subscriptions or single issues instantly from your computer or mobile device to read wherever and whenever you like. The Explore section lets you read--even without a subscription--thousands of articles from your favorite magazines and share them with friends.

Thanks again to Zinio for sponsoring this post, and for giving away some freebie subscriptions!

(If you are not in the United States I recommend going to the site first--see if you are able to view magazines and articles. Some countries have more restrictive digital copyright rules, so check to see if the service is available to you before entering the contest. You can view their Terms of Service here.)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 Comments on Zinio Magazine Giveaway (ends 12/16), last added: 12/17/2012
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