Interview Transcripts

Melanie Snyder: Success With a Writing Career, Post Long Ridge

Event start time:

Thu Feb 24 18:28:31 2005

Event end time:

Thu Feb 24 21:06:13 2005



Legend:
Questions from the Audience are presented in red.
Answers by the Speaker are in black.
The Moderator's comments are in blue.

Mary Rosenblum

Hello, all! Welcome to our Professional Connection live interview!

 

Tonight we'll visit with Melanie Snyder, a 1998 graduate of ICL and a 2003 graduate of LWRG.

 

Melanie has published articles, stories and poems with Cricket, Guideposts for Kids, Harcourt Educational Publishers, LexisNexis, SIRS Publishing, AlbemarleKids, Charlottesville Business Journal and a variety of other national, regional and special interest print and web publications.

 

She has also received awards in several short story contests.

 

She teaches a writing-based self-development curriculum to middle and high school students.

 

Melanie entered the LRWG program in August, 2001 to hone her skills in writing creative non-fiction. By the time she graduated from LRWG in November, 2003, she had already published four of her class assignments, entered two others in national contests, submitted two of the published articles to a dozen additional markets as reprints, reslanted three of the articles for additional markets, turned one into a paid workshop presentation to parents and educators, and turned one rejection into a request from the editor to write a different article. If she can do it - so can you!

 

Since our interview last year with Melanie, her career in freelancing has progressed. She tells me that she has learned a lot from her mistakes, and she's happy to share those mistakes with you, so that you don't have to learn the hard way.

Melanie Snyder

Thanks for having me back, Mary!

writeaway

Hello Mary and welcome Melanie

Melanie Snyder

Good evening everyone!

info

Is it hard to get published by Cricket?

Mary Rosenblum

Is it?

Melanie Snyder

Yes, I have to say that was a challenge.

 

I had tried many many times with them

 

sending different articles

 

and queries.

 

Got lots of lovely rejections from them! (LOL).

 

Then they showed a spark of interest in one article I submitted

 

but I ended up having to do some serious re-writing.

 

I was very lucky that they were willing to work with me

 

because this was early on in my writing days.

 

But it was worth it to get that clip on my resume!

Mary Rosenblum

Yes, that is a VERY big clip! So did you get the feeling that it was your perseverance,

 

your willingness to keep submitting that helped get you that sale?

Melanie Snyder

For anyone who might want to write for Cricket, you really need to read a LOT of back issues

 

get a good sense of their voice, how they approach young readers.

 

I don't know if it was perseverance that really got me in there

 

but for whatever reason, I'm glad I got that one opportunity with them.

 

And I don't know if it's related or not

 

but I just wrote 2 articles for "Calliope" - another of the Cobblestone Publishing Group magazines.

 

I have no idea whether seeing that I had a published clip with Cricket opened that door a teeny bit wider

 

when I queried Calliope.

Mary Rosenblum

I wouldn't be surprised, Melanie.

 

I know the Dell Magazine group, (Asimov's Analog, Ellery Queen, and Hitchcock’s

 

share office space and staff...and everyone talks over lunch! :-)

tory

What do think was the difference, Melanie, between the rejected articles and the one they first took?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Tory - well, mostly I think it was because I finally learned

 

that you really REALLY have to read back issues of a magazine

 

and thoroughly understand who their target audience is and their unique voice and what kinds of things they publish

 

as well as what they DON'T publish.

 

Early on, I made the HUGE mistake (er, multiple times, I hate to say)

 

of just writing stuff that I, of course, thought was brilliant and exactly what the magazine needed to publish

 

and I'd just send it in, like "TA DA! Here it is!"

 

It took me several years of doing that and getting constant rejections (every single thing I sent rejected

 

by multiple publications)

 

to BELIEVE that you really have to research the markets and know them before you ever submit anything to them!

Mary Rosenblum

So, Melanie, what I hear you saying, then, is that knowing your market by reading back issues and continuing to submit in the face of MANY rejections is what a success is founded on?

tory

The voice of experience. Thanks.

Melanie Snyder

Hmmm...yes, I think that sums it up pretty well, Mary!

jac

How far back, magazine issues that is, do you suggest reading?

Melanie Snyder

I was lucky, actually, that I didn't totally lose credibility with some of the publications I submitted to repeatedly.

 

That can happen!

 

Hi Jac - I try to read the most recent 6-8 issues.

 

The funny thing is, if you go back too far, the magazine may have changed their layout, format, editorial concept,

 

which magazines seem to do all the time,

 

and then you could end up submitting something that might have been perfect for them a year ago

 

but no longer fits their style or whatever.

Mary Rosenblum

Well, I can attest to the fact that you are a good writer, and I suspect editors simply waited for you to figure out that you needed to write what they wanted to print. :-)

 

As to editorial style

 

it would be a good idea to look over back issues and see if there is a big change in format...might be a new editor.

Melanie Snyder

Thanks, Mary! I was pretty dumb about the not reading back issues for a good long time! LOL!

sailor

What's the quickest way to get that many back issues?

Melanie Snyder

Hey sailor - I remember you from last year!!! (=^) Check your local library for back issues of magazines.

 

Also, ask your doctor's office what they do with back issues of magazines - often they're willing to clear out and give you the old ones.

 

I also ask all family members not to throw out old magazines but to save them for me.

 

Our library here also clears their shelves periodically - the librarians let me know when they're going to be doing that and I get free copies that I can keep!

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, that's a good idea... And if you start asking people what magazines they get, you can get a lot of out of date copies that way.

jac

You might try thrift stores and yard sales for back issues.

Mary Rosenblum

Some used bookstores carry them, too.

Melanie Snyder

Yes- consider a magazine swap or co-op with friends or other writers. There are lots of creative ways to get back issues!

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, I like the idea of a magazine swap! That's something I might mention to our local writers organization and see if they've thought of doing that!

babbles

Melanie do you write for any online mags?

Melanie Snyder

I have been known to subscribe to children's mags for my nieces and nephews and then ask their moms to hang onto the issues when the kids are done with them!

 

Hi Babbles - I have only written for online sites that are associated with print publications - so they'll publish an article that I write in both print and web

mitch

About how many magazine subscriptions does a real pro have to have?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Mitch - I don't think you have to have any magazine subscriptions yourself.

 

If you go to the library often and read magazines through all those other channels we were talking about earlier

 

you shouldn't have to lay out a fortune yourself for subscriptions (I know I sure don't!) It just eats into your writing income to have all those expenses!

Mary Rosenblum

And, realistically, once you have broken in with the magazine, you really don't need to work as hard at reading issues, I suspect. You will have that sense of what the magazine wants.

Mary Rosenblum

Is that how it has worked for you, Melanie?

Melanie Snyder

Yes, if you've done that research thoroughly, you don't need to keep doing it

 

other than to periodically check in to see what the magazine has published that might be related to a topic you want to propose.

margieh

What % of your work is in response to query and what % is write what you want and look for a market?

Melanie Snyder

Of course, you'll also want to check in periodically with a magazine to make sure they haven't changed focus.

owlybear

With some magazines you can get some of their stories online

Melanie Snyder

Hi Margieh - Great question - I have changed my approach over the past year - I used to write what I wanted to write

 

then try to find a market.

 

Now almost everything I do is either a query or on assignment (where the editor calls me and asks me to write something THEY want)

 

Hi Owlybear - great suggestion - yes, many magazines have websites

 

and you can read back issues through their site.

 

Websites are also a great way to get a sense of the magazine's style, their target audience, etc.

 

Also - if you have access to one of the online periodical search engines (Gale Group/Thomson, etc)

 

this can be a great way to look into what has already been published on a topic you want to write about

 

and by whom.

 

You want to be sure that a magazine you're querying hasn't just done a piece on your topic.

Mary Rosenblum

Can you tell us a bit more about these search engines? They sound very useful.

Melanie Snyder

Many public libraries & university library systems have subscriptions to these online search engines.

 

Here where I live, our local library system has a subscription - and all library members are allowed to have access.

 

Also, the local university has some online search engines and I was able to get a university library card and access to their search engines.

 

And finally, my two teenagers have access to some periodical search engines in their schools and they make those available to parents as well.

 

So there are 3 sources that should be available in or near any community.

Mary Rosenblum

These are search engines where you type in a topic and get a list of sources?

 

They're limited to periodicals only?

 

Unlike Google?

Melanie Snyder

Yes - you type in a topic and it will bring up listings of all the magazines, newspapers and other periodicals that have

 

published something on that topic.

 

It's different from Google.

 

Google typically gives you websites that have content related to your topic...

 

Google News gives you newspapers that have published something related to your topic (only within the last 30 days, though, I think)

 

but these other engines (Infotrac - from Gale Group is the one I use most often) - have thousands

 

of magazines, newspapers and other periodicals that you can search.

 

Some have full text articles that you can pull up and read

 

and some have just article abstracts - but you can still get a good idea of what's been published on your topic.

Mary Rosenblum

I use the medical/bioscience engines at our local medical school library...they are VERY useful.

tory

And you can access these search engines from your home?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Tory - yes, I have Internet access here at home and can log onto them from here.

Mary Rosenblum

Is there a subscription fee, Melanie?

Melanie Snyder

Again, though, I have access because: 1. I'm a member of the local library system that makes this available to all library patrons.

 

2. I'm a parent of kids at the local high school which subscribes and makes the databases available to students & families

 

and 3. I got a library card at the local university.

 

My understanding is that the subscription fees for these are VERY steep - which is why large organizations like universities, school systems

 

and public libraries are the "subscribers" (i.e., they pay the bills)

 

and then make it accessible to their "members" or "patrons" or whomever they decide.

Mary Rosenblum

Our local library has one...I think it's infotrack...and I believe that most systems do. You can access ours via your library card access from your home computer.

sailor

How long did it take to reach the point where the editor called to ask you to write something? Sounds like nirvana to me!

Melanie Snyder

Infotrac is the one I use - it's really valuable! I do encourage everyone to look into whether your local public library has it and offers it to patrons.

 

Hi Sailor - I do have to say it was quite exciting to get that call from an editor. Funny thing was

 

I had submitted a query to her for something I thought was just perfect for them (of course!)

 

and didn't hear from her for the longest time.

 

So I had just sort of written it off

 

but then out of the blue, she contacted me and

 

asked if I remembered the query I submitted to her (duh!)

 

and said she wanted me to write something actually a little different on a similar topic.

 

I said yes, and bent over backward trying to make sure I got that first assignment right.

 

The good news is I now get an assignment from her at least once a month! I even went and had lunch with her in New York last fall.

 

(Sounds very posh, doesn't it - lunching with an editor in New York? HA!)

 

Anyway - I had been trying to do the freelance thing part time, off and on, between family and other obligations

 

for at least 5 years and had gotten just a couple of things published in local newspapers & regional magazines

 

before I started to get to the better stuff like an editor contacting me.

Mary Rosenblum

You know, Melanie, the main reason I've asked you to visit here twice now...

Melanie Snyder

cuz you're a glutton for punishment??

Mary Rosenblum

is that you are going about building a freelance career in exactly the right way

 

and it WORKS when you do it this way. You were willing to sweat out the

 

no sales, you learned you HAD to write to the market, and now you're getting calls...and lunches!...from editors.

Melanie Snyder

Wow - I don't know about "exactly the right way" - I've certainly done plenty of "the wrong way" stuff.

 

But, yes, a lot of sweat, a lot of rejections, a lot of dumb mistakes (learn from my mistakes, folks! save yourselves some agony!!.

 

READ BACK ISSUES.

 

When editors say to do that - they really REALLY mean it! (=^)

margieh

Do you sell most of your work to the same magazines or are you constantly looking for new magazines?

Melanie Snyder

Great question, Margieh - I have been fortunate to have established relationships

 

with several editors who I write for somewhat regularly now.

 

So, it's good to have that kind of steady relationship.

 

But having said that

 

I am always checking out new magazines.

 

I subscribe to 2 writer's market databases - www.writersmarket.com and www.woodenhorsepub.com.

 

Both are constantly updating their lists of magazines, newspapers, editors, etc.

 

so it's a really good start to researching the markets.

 

You can get info on the kinds of articles they publish, demographics of their readers,

 

what regular columns they publish,

 

whether they accept queries or manuscripts, by email or mail...

 

all that good stuff.

gbeesley

What are their fees to subscribe?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Gbeesley - WritersMarket.com is about $30 per year, and WoodenHorse Publishing is $119 per year.

 

They're both well worth it.

 

WoodenHorse has editorial guidelines for almost every publication right in their database

 

and they have some info about demographics of readers, competing publications, and other data that WritersMarket just doesn't have.

 

But WritersMarket has some searching capabilities that WoodenHorse doesn't have....so I subscribe to both.

gail

Did you ever write without monetary compensation? If so, what was your motivation to do so? And, did it that incentive "pay off" for you?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Gail - yes - I have very definitely written for free....especially early on. I've also written for literally "pennies"

 

by the time I've added up all my hours and calculated what my hourly pay was for certain articles.

 

Early on, writing for small, local publications is a great way to get started

 

to get the experience of writing to an editor's specs

 

to write on deadline

 

to revise with an editor

 

and of course, then you get those coveted clips.

 

There’s no shame in it - and I definitely encourage any of you just getting started

 

to look around at local publications that might print your writing.

 

I have to say, too, that sometimes, the incentive to write something for nothing or next to nothing

 

is way beyond any monetary considerations....

 

Last year, I wrote an extensive article on gambling addiction

 

and its impact on families and children.

 

The article was over 3000 words.

 

I invested huge amounts of time into it (probably 40 hours or more

 

by the time I interviewed all the families, talked with psychologists & addiction counselors,

 

read everything I could get my hands on)

 

And I got paid $100 for that article. Now whether you're calculating that pay on a per word basis

 

or a per hour basis (I'll let YOU do the math) - either way, it was paltry pay

 

but here's the thing.

 

One of the last women I interviewed was the wife of a gambling addict.

 

She had 2 teenagers.

 

She had hung in there in this awful marriage for over 20 years

 

and at the end of my interview with her

 

I thanked her for being so open and for being willing to talk about what was

 

obviously a very very painful subject for her.

 

And you know what?

 

she thanked ME .....she said, "If your article can help to save even one other family

 

from some of the pain my family has been through

 

then you can feel so good about what you've done here.

 

That's the kind of "payoff" that no amount of money could have given me for the time I invested in writing that article.

 

If you write about things you're passionate about,

 

things you care about deeply,

 

that can certainly keep you going, keep you feeling like it IS all worth it!

Mary Rosenblum

I think you've perhaps answered info's question here:

info

I understand how you need to write what the magazine needed and not what you want to write. I wonder though, isn't there a way to write what you want and still have be something that the magazine needs?

Mary Rosenblum

That's what you did with the gambling, article wasn't it?

 

Hi Info - great question. Editors aren't "gods".

 

Sometimes, you have to help them to "see"

 

that you have something they didn't even know they needed

 

I really truly believe that having passion about what you're writing, and caring deeply about it

 

shows in your queries, in how you present the subject and yourself to an editor

 

and that can have a big influence on whether they decide to ask you to go ahead and write it

 

even if they never would have thought of the topic themselves.

jrvr31

Any tips on establishing credibility with your interviewees?

Melanie Snyder

hi Jrvr31 - excellent question!

 

Here's what I do - and it has seemed to work reasonably well for me.

 

I have a boilerplate document where I've crafted a "request for interview"

 

that I copy and modify each time I contact someone to request to interview them.

 

(I almost always send those interview requests by email.)

 

In the request, I let them know what the topic is, why I want to interview them specifically.

 

I try to include some tidbit that lets them know I've looked into their background a little bit and know what their expertise is.

 

I tell them that I propose to send them some questions via email,

 

then would ask to follow up with them by phone.

 

I include a short bio of my own published credits just to let them know I've been published

 

and finally, I let them know that I make it a policy

 

to always send a draft of the article back to anyone I've interviewed and quoted

 

before it goes to the editor.

 

I'm very specific about what I tell them they'll be able to do.

 

They can check to see that I've quoted them accurately, haven't taken what they've said out of context

 

and that I haven't mis-stated facts.

 

That last part seems to give prospective interviewees a comfort level that I'm a professional and I will show them the courtesy

 

of making sure I don't make them look foolish or stupid or just plain get the facts wrong.

 

I've had so many interviewees tell me that last bit is what clinched it for them - what made them willing to be interviewed by me.

 

But I will tell you this is a somewhat controversial practice in journalistic circles.

 

Many journalists say there's no way they'd send a draft article back to anyone they've interviewed

 

but the way I see it, my reputation is on the line and so is that of anyone I've interviewed.

 

So that's how I do it and it has worked pretty well.

Mary Rosenblum

Have you ever had an interviewee dispute your interview?

Melanie Snyder

No - no one ever has.

jrvr31

Thanks! Do you do the same with say, the gambler's wife?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Jrvr31 - With the families I interviewed for the gambling article, to protect their confidentiality, I sent the draft article to a

 

gambling counselor who worked with the families.

 

He routed the article to the families then got their feedback to me.

 

They didn't want to reveal their email addresses to me.

 

Which of course I understood.

ashton

One of the problems I find when interviewing someone is that I can't write fast enough. Aside from learning shorthand, is there any trick to getting it all down faster?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Ashton - I actually type while I'm interviewing. But I do all of my interviews by phone. So I put on the headset and type away.

 

When you're interviewing in person, it is trickier. Have you tried taking a small tape recorder?

Mary Rosenblum

I think my interviewer has used a recorder every time I've been interviewed...that's pretty standard practice.

ashton

Tried it this last time, but there turned out to be too much static and the recorder made him nervous

Mary Rosenblum

Maybe your next interviewee won't be recorder-shy.

 

Have you had that problem, Melanie?

Melanie Snyder

Any tips for Ashton on that one, Mary? I don't have any experience with using a recorder.

Mary Rosenblum

Setting it down in an inconspicuous place helps, and for heavens' sake buy a GOOD recorder!

janp

Hi, Melanie. Any opinion on writing for newspapers?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Janp - Newspapers can be funny.

 

The couple that I've written for have tried to get me to sign "work for hire" agreements

 

which basically mean that you can't ever do anything ever again with that topic.

 

I did some research last year on work for hire

 

and most professional writers organizations recommend that writers avoid them like the plague

 

so, I made a counter proposal to the newspaper editor

 

that I be able to re-sell the article and/or reslant and write other articles on the topic but only for publications

 

outside of the geographic region served by this newspaper.

 

Luckily they agreed to that.

 

Also, the pay was very low - don't know if this is typical.

 

This was a small town daily newspaper owned by Gannett.

 

But, having said all of that

Mary Rosenblum

I think pay is directly related to the size of the paper, Melanie.

Melanie Snyder

many beginning writers do break in by writing for their local paper.

 

So I'd say definitely give it a shot!

owlybear

I've had a column two weekly newspapers. I do get paid for each article and it's paid for my course. I feel good when someone comes up to me and says "I read your article and was it ever great"... the extra cash now is kind of a bonus....I haven't submitted to any magazines yet, but my instructor keeps urging me to do so...I've felt I wasn't ready, but I'm about ready to do so...do you think I'm foolish in waiting so long??? :-)

Mary Rosenblum

{Tell him to get those queries out, Melanie! }

Melanie Snyder

Hey Owlybear - what are you waiting for? Being able to say you've been a columnist

 

is a terrific credit

 

and I'd say to RUN, DON'T WALK, to your nearest library, grab those back issues of mags you want to write for,

 

read them and put together some queries!

 

Also - here's a great book to get you started & motivated: The Complete Guide to Magazine Article Writing

 

by John M. Wilson.  {find it here:  Amazon.com }   

 

Excellent resource! GO FOR IT OWLYBEAR!

Mary Rosenblum

Need, I say more, Owly? Ahem?

speckledorf

Work for hire...does the not-writing on the topic again include nonfiction books or do you know?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Speckledorf - hmmm....I don't know if you'd have trouble writing on the same topic

 

for a nonfiction book if you've signed a work for hire.

 

If you've already signed such an agreement, you should probably check with the editor with whom you signed it

 

to be sure.

 

If you HAVEN'T already signed a work for hire....from everything I've read, the experts say "DON'T!!!"

Mary Rosenblum

This depends entirely on the work for hire contract and its wording. For example, I have a work for hire agreement with LR, but it specifically permits me to use similar material in a 'how to write' book no matter whom I publish it with.

Melanie Snyder

Oh - cool!

Mary Rosenblum

I would say be sure you know the precise limits of a work for hire contract'

Melanie Snyder

Great - good to know!

Mary Rosenblum

The danger is people who can't or don't read contract legalese.

Melanie Snyder

There is some good stuff on the LRWG website...

 

if I remember correctly....

 

about contracts and rights and so forth....right Mary?

Mary Rosenblum

Yep. :-) Thank you.

margieh

Do you tend to write on the same topics or a wide variety of subjects and topics?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Margieh - great question! I like writing on similar or related topics

 

because it makes the return on my investment of time and energy in research,

 

interviewing, etc. much higher.

 

I tend to write in several main areas: education, technology, and the arts.

 

Those are, of course, very broad topics

 

and last year, an editor asked me to write health articles

 

which I knew nothing about

 

and was tempted to say no to.

 

But now, I've written half a dozen health articles too

 

and one of them led to an assignment to write about children with disabilities

 

which then led to another article about special education

 

which brought me back to one of my main focus areas: education.

 

So you never know what an assignment might lead to.

 

The experts say write what you know.

 

I'd add to that, write what you WANT to know about! You get the chance to learn new things

 

and get published and paid for it!

ashton

How DO you write about something you know nothing about?

Melanie Snyder

Research, research, research!

 

The Internet is such a gift - I'd start with Google searches on the topic.

 

See what that turns up.

 

Then if you have access to one of those online periodicals search engines we discussed earlier

 

search there too.

 

And, this one might sound strange, but

 

go to Amazon.com and do a search on the topic to see what new books might have just been published on the subject

 

which can then lead you to subject matter experts you could interview

 

and learn more....next thing you know, you DO know something about it and can write a professional query or polished article!

Mary Rosenblum

Let's talk about that 'return on investment'. You brought it up at our last chat. Want to give us some insights? What is it? How do you make it work for you?

Melanie Snyder

Oh, yes, well I was a business major in grad school - so ROI is one of my favorite concepts.

 

Basically, it means getting the most out of the time and energy you put into your writing.

 

The way I approach it is with "4 R's" - Readiness, Research, Rights, and Recycling

 

stand for shameless self promotion.

 

You can read the article I've written about ROI as it relates to freelance writing

 

on the LRWG website.

 

the article is titled "The Four R's of Making a Living in Non-Fiction".  The Four R's of Making a Living in Nonfiction

 

BTW, everyone - that's another little tidbit - as writers we need to get comfortable with promoting ourselves

 

and marketing what we do

 

in a professional way.

 

That's how you gain credibility, establish relationships and, ultimately, get assignments -

 

by speaking up and saying, "Here's what I have to offer."

babbles

I missed the beginning of this chat, Do you write fiction or non-fiction? Or a little of both?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Babbles - I started out writing fiction - but have really focused on nonfiction in the last year or two.

 

To be honest, I got frustrated with the constant rejection of my fiction - seems it's just really not my strength!

babbles

Have you ever sold a rejected piece by changing the slant of the article that has been rejected?

Melanie Snyder

Ooh - good question!

 

Yes - I'm usually tweaking stuff that gets rejected before I send it out again.

 

The whole gambling article was an example.

 

What I wanted to write was an in-depth report of the shocking stats about the numbers of kids that are into gambling,

 

especially over the Internet.

 

(it really IS scary!!!)

 

So that was the query I had submitted to that magazine I mentioned a while back.

 

I didn't hear from them for months and months,

 

so figured they had no interest.

 

Then they asked if I'd be willing to write a DIFFERENT article - about PARENTS who gamble.

 

And how that affects kids & families.

 

So, though it wasn't what I was really interested in writing about, being willing to do a different slant

 

got me in the door with that magazine.

 

Oh - BTW - eventually they asked me to do a little

 

"special report".....on kids who gamble online....so I guess I DID get to do a little of what I wanted in the end! LOL!

Mary Rosenblum

By the back door!

 

Works! :-)

margieh

When you interview, do you try to ask interview questions that keep the interviewee very focused or do you use open - ended questions?

Melanie Snyder

Sometimes it does.

 

Hi Margieh - great question.

 

I ask open ended questions

 

but I try to link them to some new trends or research or myths about a topic

 

and I always ask a question at the end "What else would you like to tell me about this subject that I haven't asked?"

 

That’s when I get some of the BEST stuff from people!

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, no kidding. Great end question!

ccollier

Melanie, how many articles have you republished at SIRS? I've had four from articles first published at WeeOnes.

Melanie Snyder

Hi CCollier - I have republished only one article with SIRS - the same one I had in Cricket.

 

Congrats for republishing four with them!! That's terrific! It's a great credit to have on your bio!

Mary Rosenblum

You should probably tell folks what SIRS is, Melanie.

Melanie Snyder

I'm hopeful that the 2 articles I'm having published in Calliope next month may also interest SIRS.

 

SIRS is another of those online search engines - primarily used in the educational arena - by teachers, students, etc to do research for school papers, etc. They purchase articles that have been published elsewhere and put them in their database.

nadiazil

What exactly is an open-ended question?

 

 

Melanie Snyder

HI Nadiazil - you've just asked an open-ended question - it's one that can't be answered with just a yes or no -

 

it requires explanation or more than just a one-word reply.

jac

Melanie, your website is very interesting. Have you had much success with it?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Jac - thanks for the feedback on my website. I have to admit I haven't spent much time looking into the

 

statistics of how many "hits" my website has had or anything.

 

But I put it out there primarily to have a professional "presence" on the Internet - which seems almost "expected" these days.

 

And also, because I do a lot of writing for regional parenting publications, I needed a place where their editors could go

 

to see the list of articles I have available for reprint (hint: selling reprints is part of that Fourth R in the ROI equation - RECYCLE!)

gail

What would you say was your biggest mistake in the publishing world? And, what advice can you give us to avoid that scenario?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Gail -YOW!! Where to begin???

 

Well, I really think that in those early years when I was just writing stuff and blindly sending it out without having a CLUE

 

whether the publication even printed that type of material

 

or whether it was for the same age group that they served.

 

It was just DUMB, DUMB, DUMB on my part

 

a huge waste of my time, postage, and the editor's time

 

although those savvy editors were probably able to tell within the first couple of sentences

 

of my query letters or cover letters

 

that I didn't have a clue about their magazines.

 

So, I can't stress it enough - research your markets - read back issues, read the writers guidelines, check their

 

editorial calendar....check whether they've recently published other articles or material on similar topics.

 

Understand who their target audience is (best achieved by looking at the ADVERTISEMENTS!!!), understand their style, & voice.

 

THEN send them a query!

bethofmaine

How long did it take to first get published and how did you keep your drive to continue?

Melanie Snyder

Hi Bethofmaine - Gosh - ok, I'll count all of those DUMB DUMB DUMB years I was just talking about.

 

I did the "DUMB" thing of writing and sending, writing and sending, for about 3 or 4 years I guess.

 

Then I took the Institute of Children's Lit course

 

which helped me to understand that I needed to know the markets.

 

Then I got that first article published in Cricket which was just a huge boost to my rapidly sagging confidence level.

 

My drive to continue I guess has been that ever since I was a little girl

 

I wanted to "someday" be a writer.

 

I love writing. You have to, I think, to survive the rejection and the sweat of waiting for months to hear from an editor.

 

But if you have the passion for it,

 

if it makes you feel really good

 

if you can find ways to keep writing about things you care about

 

eventually it will pay off for you!

 

In fact, I'm going to ask everyone to take a minute here to do something.

 

Grab a piece of paper and a pen

 

and write down one writing goal that you have for yourself for 2005.....what is one thing you REALLY want to accomplish

 

with your writing this year?...... go ahead, write it down.

 

Ok - NOW - you're all at your computers, right

 

So, take that piece of paper, and TAPE IT to the edge of your monitor - so it's right there....

 

and you HAVE to look at it every day.

 

I'm a firm believer that something mystical and magical happens when we WRITE DOWN our goals.

 

Part of it is in how you think about your goal and how you think about yourself.

 

But I can tell you that it's powerful.

 

You'll find that things will start happening.

 

Things you never could have imagined.

 

And only in retrospect

 

will you realize that those things that have happened relate to your goal

 

and it's really amazing.

 

So, write down your goals, keep going, no matter what! If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!!!!

Mary Rosenblum

And that brings our evening to a close on a wonderful note, Melanie! You are a great example!

Melanie Snyder

This has been such a treat for me, Mary!

Mary Rosenblum

Melanie was my student at Long Ridge and I am VERY proud of her achievements...which she richly deserves.

Melanie Snyder

Thank you everyone, for being here this evening!

Mary Rosenblum

And she's right..you can do it, too!

ccollier

Thanks Melanie for some wonderful down to earth advice!

janp

Melanie, I feel your enthusiasm on my screen. Thanks so much

Melanie Snyder

Keep writing! Keep your head up! Keep going! Keep faith!

ashton

Thanks so much for chatting with us tonight, Melanie. You're a gal after my own heart.

Melanie Snyder

Thanks Ashton! Goodnight Janp and Ccollier. Sailor - are ya still out there? G'night Sailor!

Mary Rosenblum

It has been a delight, Melanie, and we could go on for another two hours about how your handle your time...

Mary Rosenblum

so I'll invite you back again!

Melanie Snyder

Thanks Mary! I'd be honored to come back!

gail

Thank you, Melanie, for an informative and enjoyable evening.

writeaway

Thank you, Melanie for being such an inspiring guest. And thank you again, Mary for bringing us the best.

Melanie Snyder

Owlybear - I expect to hear about some magazine publishing successes from you!

 

Bye Writeaway and gail! Keep writing!

Mary Rosenblum

Thanks for coming tonight, Melanie.

Mary Rosenblum

Have a good evening!

sailor

Good night, Melanie. Thanks for a great chat!

Melanie Snyder

You're very welcome. Goodnight, everyone! Godspeed!

 

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