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    Research Writing Markets for Maximum Sales

    I wish you could see my living room floor right now. I have seven piles of magazines covering most of the rug. Anyone would say that I'm a packrat; it's true. But these magazine piles are more than just a reluctance to part with any of my possessions. They are my day's research into food writing markets.

    It matters not what your writing niche, or specialization, may be, you need to include time for researching new and changing publications throughout your work week. As food writers, we are likely regular readers of the wisdom found between the shiny covers of Bon Appetit, Saveur, Gourmet, Food and Wine, and Gastronomica (if you are an American writer/reader anyway).

    Thumbing through past issues, I can see that aside from celebrities, best selling authors, four- and five-star chefs, and television personalities, these magazines provide limited opportunities for most food writers although I am not saying these are not places to send your work to except as incentive to hone our craft.

    Stumped about where else you can submit your food writing? Wondering how to uncover markets for your work? Aside from saving issues of magazines and building piles two-years-worth high on your living room rug to occupy a Sunday afternoon, there are several practical steps to follow when looking for new food writing markets.

    Start with Writers Market, the annual directory of magazines and publishers. An alternate, or additional, choice could be Writer's Handbook. Both list publications by a general section, or topic. Lately writers I've talked with prefer to skip the actual book and sign up with Writer's Market online at http://www.writersmarket.com.

    Take a field trip to the largest bookstores you can find. My tendency is to be overwhelmed by the vast array of international and national cookery magazines and special issues. I overcome this fear of so many food covers by picking up a few, finding a chair and skimming through each one to see what its focus is. I also buy several, read them as continuing education and deduct them as a business expense when I do my taxes each April.

    Go beyond magazines that are on the cooking and food shelves. Make use of writer magazines: The Writer, Writer's Digest and ByLine Magazine, among others include lists of writing markets and what their editors are looking for.

    Love that google! I go to http://www.google.com and type in a variety of words and phrases: "guidelines + food + articles," " 'writer's guidelines' & food," or "submissions + articles + cooking." Feel free to employ your own favorite search engine when performing an internet search for websites, magazines, newsletters and newspapers that accept articles on food.

    Speaking of online searches, track down food writers with websites. Take the name of a food writer who pops up in various magazines and do a search online for that person. How does this help you find markets? Take note of the author's bio at the end of articles or, if he has his own website, scan his publishing credits or resume to compile your own list of markets to research.

    Once you've gathered up your list of markets, it's time to do two more things: write to the publication for writer's guidelines, and read (and study) back issues.

    Writing for guidelines is a simple task. Look for the publication's website and search for submission or writer's guideline information posted online. Otherwise, type a short note requesting that writer's guidelines be sent to you in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). Make it easy on the editorial support staff by typing "re: Writer's Guidelines" on the envelope in the right bottom corner. And do include that SASE.

    How can you study back issues? Go to the library. If you're not sure they'll have the issues, call first. Bring a notepad and write down notes about style (informal, cutting edge, practical), types of articles (quick cooking, food memories, profiles of celebrity cooks), and where to send your letter pitching your article idea. If you are interested in a magazine that is not in your local library or in your bookstore, call or write the publisher to find out how to purchase back issues, or look for free issue offers on the magazine's website. Of course, when I take advantage of the free trial issue promotions I usually subscribe, then end up with another years worth of magazines dumped on my living room rug.

    Now what? Research markets, query editors, write articles, submit to magazines and enjoy your success! Copyright © 2003 Pamela White

    Pamela White is the editor of "Food Writing," an online newsletter. She is the author of Fabjob.com's "Become a Food Writer" and continues to teach an online course on food writing. Visit http://www.food-writing.com to subscribe to the online newsletter.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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