I got published! I can’t believe it. This is so exciting, I just had to share!
Here’s how the whole, thrilling situation came to pass.
Jan, the sales rep for our local newspaper, was in my office a few months ago. We were discussing the paper. I mentioned one writer whose column I thought was lame. I said, with a laugh, “I could write a better column.”
As soon as I said it, it struck me that it was true. I screwed up my courage. Heart pounding, trying to sound casual, I said, “I actually do write. Would the paper be interested in a new column?”
Jan told me to send her some of my stuff and she’d pass it on. She was probably just being polite. I was dead serious.
I sent off a piece about our kids going off to college (Bye-Bye Baby – you can check out my blog version in the August 2010 archive). A couple of weeks later I got a call from one of the editors. They liked Bye-Bye Baby and wanted to use it!
Before I got my hopes up too high, the editor said they didn’t have a slot for a regular columnist at the paper right then. They thought my work would appeal to the readers of their new, specialty magazine. Boomerz Today is a quarterly magazine targeting; you guessed it, baby boomers. (No online version, sorry!)
At about 10,000 households it’s not Oprah magazine, but it’s a start. And it’s a regular column!
The editor explained what they wanted as far as topics and guidelines. At the end of our conversation I tentatively asked, “Do I get paid for this?”
It was kind of embarrassing. I backpedaled quickly, “No, no, that’s fine. I’m just thrilled to get published!”
Jan called on me again in my role as business owner to discuss advertising in the new magazine. Without revenue the venture would not succeed. My quarterly column would disappear. I took out a full color ad for $169.
I worked to polish the piece and sent it in to my editor before deadline. Just like a real columnist!
I was bursting with pride when I showed the first issue to my husband, Bill. “What are they paying you?” he asked, immediately getting to the heart of the matter.
“Well, actually not anything EXACTLY along the lines of monetary compensation, per se…” I mumbled. Not a word of criticism did he utter, but his eyebrows went up in that “Oh, really?” look.
I shuffled my feet and rambled on about exposure, getting published being reward enough, paying my dues, and a bunch of other crap that sounded defensive even to me. My happy bubble had been pricked.
Looking at it objectively, I have to ask myself; how is this such a great deal for me? I am putting in hours of labor to write these columns. Being funny is work – don’t let anybody kid you. I hone each piece to a razor-sharp blade of folksy humor, and then I’m supposed to just give it away?
The military industrial complex that owns the media gets rich off the sweat of my brow. The poor, downtrodden worker gets zippity-do-dah. In fact, I am paying THEM $169! Per issue!
So true: I have worked (i.e. been paid) as a scriptwriter, photographer, film-maker, presenter, voice-over – – however these days anybody with a computer thinks they are a writer, anyone with a blog thinks they are a published writer, and anyone with a digital camera is a photographer, and therefore as they don’t have to depend on these for an income will work for free. So all the things I have done professionally are things that most people are happy to do for free. However unlike yourself (I like your style a lot) most people simply ‘doodle on a keyboard’ and given decreasing budgets a lot of publishers will accept this stuff (with no fee) So as you have done and I find myself increasingly doing, we have to do things for free, in the hope that the promotional element will help us in the log-term….. depressing isn’t it? Merry Xmas
Thanks for the kind words and depressing commentary on the current state of the writing industry. Blogging was the only way I could see to start. I figured I’d better get some writing done if I ever, someday, want to call myself a writer.
I checked out your blog – I like your style alot, especially the breezy drawings. As MacArthur said, “I shall return.”
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