1. Binba
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    Binba New Member

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    Magazine publisher's confusing response

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Binba, May 21, 2010.

    I am an expert in the video engineering field but am a newcomer to the world of professional writing. My goal is to get published in trade magazines in my field which, given my lack of writing credentials, is also a better target than querying Vanity Fair.

    I've been doing my homework and research, and it's starting to pay off: I received a positive response for a query. What I don't understand is, did I get the assignment or not? Their guidelines state "All articles received by the deadline date for a specific issue will be reviewed by the Editor and considered for that issue or possibly a later issue. No decisions regarding possible inclusion in the magazine are made before the article submission deadline." No word on queries.

    1. The email pretty much says "thanks for the query, this sounds like an exceptional article and I am looking forward to seeing it." There's no mention of a deadline. I don't even understand if he's committed to publishing it. Did he just essentially ignore my query and wants the manuscript for consideration? I thought it didn't work that way in the magazine business.

    How would you approach this? I can either ask "which issue is this for?" or respond right away with my proposed agreement and make up my own deadline. What should I expect in terms of their commitment to publish?


    2. He stated they had no budget for editorial, and whether this is accurate or not I'm fine with it at this point - if I it leads to timely publishing. It is a legit magazine with a print circulation of 25,000.

    Ideally, in exchange for the no-pay I'd like a commitment to publish in the next issue or two and if not, all rights revert back to me and the license expires. I don't want the manuscript to sit on his desk for 4 months and then rejected. How would you phrase such a thing?


    My apologies if my questions aren't clearly phrased... the title of this post is "confusing" :)

    -Drew
     
  2. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    Sounds like he's fishing for finished pieces, on spec. Pretty bold for a non-paying site - but if if he keeps receiving copy, I guess it's working for him.

    You might consider sending an email asking for clarification -- ask if what I've posited above is the case. If he answers in the affirmative, all you need do is send in your finished piece (if indeed, that's what you decide you want to do) and let him know you'll allow his mag exclusive consideration for X-number of weeks/months, at which time - unless you hear otherwise - you'll start shopping it elsewhere.

    And then do it.

    Good luck.

    (Hope the piece has appeal elsewhere, with only minor tweaking. Wouldn't hurt a bit to consider this before putting fingers to keyboard.)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds like they expected you to send the completed article upon request, which is common enough practice...

    only known writers would be signed up with just a query, since they can't be expected to buy something they haven't seen, from a writer with no credits and published work they can check out...

    i don't know what you mean by 'editorial' but if you meant 'editing' then you'd be expected to send a perfect, polished ms that didn't need any editing, could be published 'as is'...

    as for the terms, it's up to them to set them and for you to accept or reject... normal practice is for 'first serial rights' to be given, which allows you to do whatever you want with the piece after they've published it...

    if you're still confused, the ones to be asking all this of are the folks at that magazine, not any of us here, who can only guess...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. squire848
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    squire848 Member

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    How difficult editors insist on making our lives!

    Unfortunately if you are just starting out it is very unlikely that you will be paid. Though right now the experience is what is most valuable, giving you the option to build a portfolio.

    It sounds to me as if he wants the piece and will decide upon reading it if it will be published. As he hasn't (I presume?) read any of your work before this is completely normal; he simply can't make any promises before seeing the standard at which you write.

    Don't let this put you off as managing to get an agreement to read your article is half the work done, and hopefully you will impress him so much he will be more than willing to take work of you more often.
     
  5. Binba
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    Binba New Member

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    Thanks everyone, this has been helpful.
    And instead of "editorial" I should have written "freelance contributors."
    I'll follow FrankB's practical advice for the time-limited exclusive consideration.

    I know at least 2-3 other publications that could use this piece with little modification, so it is worth writing.
     
  6. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like they want you to submit the piece and wait, like everyone else for their decision, which won't be done until their reading period comes to an end and they have read through all submissions. If there is nothing on queries, then they don't really expect queries, just submissions.

    These are just my opinion from what I have seen in your original post. I could be wrong.

    When it comes to submitting, you could be waiting up to 6 months or more before they tell you if you are accepted or rejected. You just have to submit and wait.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i think it's clear from the op's message that he only sent a query and hasn't written the article yet...

     
  8. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    The deadline for submitting articles to magazines is standard. You just need to telephone the magazine in question and ask when their deadline for submitting editorial is. You can ask for a list of deadlines if they are a monthly or quarterly publication. They should have a printed list they can send/email to you. If it is weekly then it will be the same day and time every week (obviously with exceptions for public holidays, etc).

    You then need to ask them how much they pay for a published article. Most magazines pay per word, so just ask them what their rate is.

    If they don't pay anything, only you can decide if it is worth it. As a new writer it is good to have work published in quality magazines; you just need to decide if you are willing to submit it without receiving any money. It may lead to other articles in different publications, it may not. If it is a well known magazine, it may help to get your work accepted into similar publications. It is unusual (particularly if it is a paid for magazine) that they would offer nothing to contributing writers.

    It sounds like the editor is interested in the article, but definitely find out their terms before submitting anything. Usually a quick phone call will do it, but ask them to confirm it in writing via email and send nothing until you receive this. They should have a standard document they send out to freelancers. It should also state when you will receive payment (within 30 days after publication is quite normal). They won't pay you anything beforehand of course.

    Hope this helps, good luck :)
     
  9. Binba
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    Binba New Member

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    As stated, I'm fine with no pay, but my goal is to get published in 3 or more small magazines (preferably in print) by August.

    What do you think about sending this response?
    Since there is no fee (and no kill fee), the article's value is in it being published. Therefore I would like the right to pitch this story elsewhere if I don't hear from you within 3 weeks of submission. I just want to avoid a situation where it is pending indefinitely.​
    There's no point if I've spent the effort to put together a complete, viable article and it sits on a desk for half a year. The goal of an agreement is to clarify terms and protect both sides - he deserves exclusivity and I deserve to get something out of my work. (Don't I?)
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if their guidelines don't specify they want exclusive submissions, then you don't have to write anything... just submit the article to them, mentioning that it's a 'simultaneous submission'...

    that's what the pros do... don't let them know you're a beginner by sounding/acting like one...
     
  11. Binba
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    Binba New Member

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    Eh, sounding like a beginner is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. And so far I think I'm getting conflicting advice, between FrankB and mammamaia.

    I've learned that simultaneous submission is a huge no-no and unprofessional.
     
  12. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    Agree with Mammamaia. There is no need to state this, it makes you sound like an amateur.

    Like I said before, I would be suspect of any print based magazine that doesn't offer any payment for editorial. Free press is slightly different but still, they make a profit so they should have a budget for editorial.

    If you decide to go ahead, if you submit an artice to them it is likely to take longer than 3 weeks to be published anyway. They have to credit the article to you and will usually send you a copy of the magazine FOC.

    As I don't know the publication you are submitting it to, I can't comment on their terms but it is very likely your article will sit on a desk for a while. Remember they haven't actually agreed to publish it.
     
  13. Binba
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    Binba New Member

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    Hmm, so you're saying that their terms are quite unprofessional, and it will be unprofessional to discuss them?

    I had already mentioned exclusive consideration, he asked me for clarification and I owe him an answer. Tamsin, I want my response to be professional and prevent the likely pitfalls you've mentioned. I thought these were one and the same.
     
  14. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    It depends on what kind of magazine you are talking about. Submitting an article to Time is rather different from submitting an article to a school or local magazine for example.

    You are of course free to state whatever terms you like. My advice is like mammamaia said, just state that it is a simultaneous submission. Simultaneous submissions are considered a 'no no' when submitting a manuscript to publishing houses. It isn't really recommended for magazines either (have you ever read the same article in different newspapers?), but if you want the same article to be published in a few magazines you need to inform each magazine that this is your plan. Be warned that they may not be interested in an article that is already published elsewhere.

    You are better off writing different articles for different magazines, since they have different styles and readerships. But, if you want to submit the same one to a few magazines, you have to inform them.

    So, my advice is just submit the article to the one magazine you have discussed and just see what happens. In submitting you accept their terms, which is that you get no payment, and no guarantee that they will publish it but it means if they like it, they may want more articles and it may lead to other things.

    Like most creative industries, writing for the media is a waiting game with no guarantees. If you have no freelancing experience you may want to submit articles without payment (but only if this is standard for the magazines you are submitting to - it is always worth double checking).
     
  15. Binba
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    Binba New Member

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    Thanks for the reply, Tamsin. I want to clarify that this is not a simultaneous submission.

    Let me refine my question: what's customary when submitting a full manuscript on spec? Upon submission do you assume that your work is pretty much done, forget about it and move on, and at some point in the near or distant future they may or may not publish it?

    Or do you wait a certain time for their response because you invested time in the piece and if they don't want it, you could revise it for another publication?

    I thought that the #2 was the right answer. If so, what's a reasonable time to give the magazine to make a decision?
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    let me clarify something...

    'simultaneous submission' does not mean that you want to have your piece published in more than one magazine... it only means that you are submitting it to several and will agree to have it published in only ONE... that will be the one who offers you the best deal, if you're lucky enough to have more than one want it...

    and this is done by seasoned writers all the time... it's definitely not a 'no-no' for magazines and not even for book publishers or agents, unless their guidelines specifically say 'no sim-subs'...

    if referring to magazine submissions, yes, that's what you do...

    but i would recommend submitting to several, as long as they don't say they want an exclusive submission, so you'll have a better chance of selling the piece... otherwise, you'd be waiting weeks to months for each response and if they're 'no's as is likely, you could be submitting the same piece for years before getting a taker...

    whether a sim-sub or an exclusive, i suggest waiting a month longer than their guidelines state they take to respond... if still no word then, you can either call or email, asking if they received the piece and if it's still being considered... the truth is, material often gets buried/overlooked/misplaced and thus not read, so that can jog the editor to find it and take a good look at it...

    i don't know what "#2" you're referring to, but see above for timing... hope this helps...

    hugs, maia
     

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