Summer Series–”Write and Sell Narrative Pieces for Magazines and Newspapers”
Before a University of Oregon class in feature writing last week, a 22-year old student came up to me, disbelief clouding his face. “An editor e-mailed me.”
I nodded. “And . . .”
Then he smiled, baffled. “He wants to publish my work.”
Little makes me happier than hearing these words in the classroom, or logging onto my Facebook page to find that former writing students have posted links to their newly-published pieces. In my writing classes, and in my position as a creative consultant, we work together so intensely on articles and essays that the author’s success feels–in a small way–like my success, too.
Laboring weekly to meet magazine deadlines, it can be easy to forget the thrill of first publication. But one look at my student’s face last week, and I remembered the excitement, the thrill of getting to share my perspective with readers.
If you’re a talented writer and willing to revise, someone will want to publish your work. You’ve just got to learn what editors are looking for, and how to approach them professionally. Despite the almost daily reports of magazines and newspapers ceasing publication, there are still thousands of periodicals out there, and editors still look for beautifully-written, surprising stories.
This summer, I’ll be teaching a four-part series, “Write and Sell Narrative Pieces for Magazines and Newspapers,” in the South Hills of Eugene. Each class will focus on a specific type of narrative: personal, travel, social/political, and nature/environmental. Students will receive numerous published examples of each, as well as handouts on how to begin publishing . . . and where.
This isn’t a workshop; rather, it’s a lively lecture-style class in an intimate setting. I’ll work with each student to craft one narrative piece which will be ready, at the end of four weeks, for professional publication.
And publication will happen. I’ll provide lists of magazines and newspapers that accept freelance essays, profiles, and articles and help students to network regionally and nationally. I’ll also share my best tips for establishing and maintaining relationships with editors.
Here are the class details, below. Don’t hesitate to e-mail me with questions at melissah(at)melissahart(dot)com. Can’t get to Eugene? I’m in the process of developing the same series online–dates to be announced later in the summer. Feel free to comment below on what you’d like to learn in such a class!
What a great series of lectures/classes you’re offering! If only I weren’t in Portland but in Eugene. So, I’m looking forward to hearing more about your online offering. If that comes to pass, I’d love something along the lines of the personal piece or memoir, as well as pieces for those of us who would like to publish in Christian or faith-based magazines, newsletters or other periodicals. I’ll be sharing this on Facebook and Twitter!
Thanks, Sherrey, for your kind reply! I’ll be speaking at Portland’s July 3rd Willamette Writers meeting; you can see details at http://www.willamettewriters.org. One of my favorite publishing venues is the Christian Science Monitor’s “Home Forum” and “Op/Ed” departments. You can find their writers’ guidelines on their website (and my essays for them, if you search my name).
Melissa Hart is the author of the memoir, Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood (Seal, 2009). Her articles and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Advocate, High Country News, Orion, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Adbusters, Hemispheres, Horizon Air Magazine, and numerous other publications. Web: http://www.melissahart.com.
She lives in Oregon with her daughter, five cats, and her husband–photographer Jonathan B. Smith. She teaches Travel and Feature Writing for the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Contact her at melissa(at)melissahart(dot)com.