Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sell Yourself Short - Option #8

Magazine name: Writers Digest

Country:  USA

Circulation:  This is an eight-times-a-year publication founded in 1920 with a circulation of 110,000. Their readers include men and women of all ages and varying levels of writing skill and success. The majority of their readers live in the U.S. and Canada.

Page length and payment:  For manuscripts, they pay 30–50 cents per word, on acceptance, for first world rights for one-time print use and perpetual electronic use. Should they want to reprint anything they have purchased from you in anything other than electronic format, they will pay you 25% of the original purchase price per use. Contributor copies are sent to writers and artists whose work appears in that issue. 

For lengths, see below.

What I like:  An index of each year’s issue contents is available at www.writersdigest.com so you can see what topics have already been contracted or done to death. 

 You can purchase copies via the newsstand or www.writersdigestshop.com.

On-spec submissions are preferred.  I don’t like to have to query.  I like to send the story off and be done with it.

What I don’t like:  Can’t find anything. 

Submission guidelines: Each submission must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address.

Response time: 2–4 months response time.

How to submit:  wdsubmissions@fwmedia.com

Types of stories wanted:   


This upfront section of the magazine is the best place for new writers to break in. Each Inkwell features an 800-900–word lead story that kicks off the magazine. The article ranges in style and tone every issue, but often takes the form of an opinion-based piece, weaving a narrative and drawing out tips for readers. It can be a great place to discuss theoretical or timely concepts.

Inkwell also features short pieces of 300–600 words (how-tos, trends, humor, insight on news that will still be relevant when our next issue hits stores, weird and intriguing tidbits about the writing world). Traditional queries are accepted for Inkwell, but on-spec submissions are preferred. Include “Inkwell:” and the name of your piece in the subject line of your query.

5-Minute Memoir
Secretly my favorite section of the magazine, 5-Minute Memoir is their new venue for 600-word essay reflections on the writing life.  

While 5-Minute Memoir is a diverse spot in which they want a writer’s individual style and voice to come through, the essays they love most are those with a strong narrative element, relaying an experience and its subsequent wisdoms and takeaways for writers. Submit on spec to wdsubmissions@fwmedia.com, with “5-Minute Memoir” in the subject line.

Reject a Hit

They claim they need more of these 300-word, short-sighted rejection letters!

This back-page feature is a humorous fake rejection letter, of 300 words or fewer, spoof-rejecting a classic or beloved book. As the intro to the feature goes, “Let’s step once again into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some or our favorite hit books have had to endure?” Winning submissions generally focus on books in which a broad base of readers would be familiar with, and poke fun at a short-sighted or absurd editor—not the original author of the featured book. For Reject a Hit, they accept on-spec submissions only. Submit your letter via email (no attachments, please) to wdsubmissions@fwmedia.com with Reject a Hit: [Book Title]” in the subject line.

Reject a Hit is humorous, but not mean-spirited. It is not the place to list all the reasons you hate a particular book. To help you understand the spirit of Reject a Hit, browse through the archives of published rejections

Please do not send submissions pertaining to any of the following, as they have already been soundly rejected:

Frankenstein Stoker

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Elements of Style by EB White

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Fun With Dick & Jane by Gray and Sharp

Marley & Me by John Grogan

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Crime & Punishment by Dostoyevsky

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

The Odyssey by Homer

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

“Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

My Life at The New York Times by Jayson Blair

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Old Man & The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Tulips & Chimneys by e. e. cummings

The Shining by Stephen King

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Runny Babbit (A Billy Sook) by Shel Silverstein

Webster’s Dictionary by Noah Webster

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

Middlemarch by George Eliot

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett


Tamara said...

Hope you had fun, Jody. I'm glad to see this information about Writer's Digest. I didn't realize they had these possibilities for writers. I'm thinking they've added them recently. I'll take a look at a current copy.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara. Thanks, gurl. 30 cents is not a bad per word payment. I'm trying to come up with a Reject a Hit... maybe 40 Shades of Gray? Of course it might help if I read the book...

Tamara said...

Yes, you might have to do that. :) With your sense of humor, you'd most likely be good at that type of essay.

Chris said...

You'll have fun coming up with a rejection letter for that one, Jody. I understand that there are some (and I say this as someone has hasn't read it, so in no position to judge) who wish the publisher had done exactly that. Aren't there ten shades missing from your title, by the way, or was that deliberate?

Thanks for posting the details of the mag. Maybe someone should do an article on writing for WW... the dos and don'ts of romances and mysteries. Sadly, it won't be me as I had yet another rejection from them last week.

Tamara said...

Do any of you remember that WW briefly featured a "What It's Really Like To ...."? I wrote one about what it was really like to be a published writer, using my success at WW as the pinnacle. I received no response at all, and the feature soon disappeared. I wondered why it was so short-lived.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Chirs. Yes, there are 10 shades missing... interesting. I didn't even catch that. There's some explanation, I'm sure. Like my love life isn't a 50. Or I'm so used to shaving off ten years of my age...now I'm starting to do it with everything. lol

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara. I don't remember that "What It's Really Like" column. I guess it wasn't a success so they went on to add "Starting Over" and "Everyday Hero" and "Circle of Kindness" and "My Guardian Angel"...which pay between $25 and $100 dollars. Maybe we should be thinking of subbing something to one of those columns.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Chris. Sorry about the Big R. I guess the mail is making it across the pond though. Keep trying. John Floyd has over 70 rejects under his belt. You've got a long way to go to beat that...

Tamara said...

When they began the Circle of Kindness they actually sent me an email to let me know they were looking for submissions. I sent one right away about buying what looked like a homeless woman some cheese she couldn't pay for in the checkout line. I never heard a thing from WW about that submission.

Mary Jo said...

I don't think they reply to those short items, Tamara. I have sent them only one. It was something that I have never read there before or since, and I thought most women would appreciate it. Evidently the editors did not agree. Wouldn't you agree that most of the C of K's are remarkably similar?

bettye griffin said...

Thanks, Jody! I just hit Send on a Reject a Hit piece about Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls. It was fun to write...and one of the few blockbusters I've read. I can probably have fun with The Color Purple if I can remember the story 30 years after reading the book...

Just remembered another classic book I remember vividly. Gonna give that one a try, too.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Bettye. Good for you! I love hearing positive feedback as a result of this blog. Crossing fingers for you.

bettye griffin said...

Update: Emailed it yesterday afternoon...got a rejection within 24 hours. But it was still fun to write.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@Bettye. Wow, that was fast. At least you don't have to wait around wondering I guess. Was it a standard reject? Did they say anything?