Get Your Cat Story Published in a Magazine for Cash
SEE YOUR NAME (AND YOUR CAT'S PICTURE) IN A MAGAZINE
The name of the story was Cherry Plays With Toys, and it was published in Cats and Kittens Magazine. I got the idea to write the story as I watched my cat Cherry bat a miniature computer around the kitchen floor. She had swiped the little plastic computer out of my daughter's Barbie's Dream House, like a cat burglar in the night.
"Barbie's going to be looking for that!" I informed my pet,chuckling at my own joke. "She might want to send an E-mail to Ken!"
After that, a thought popped into my head that went something like this: Hey! That's kind of funny! Maybe I can write a cute and funny story about how Cherry likes to play with my daughter's toys!
And so I did.
About a month later, I received a letter back from the magazine telling me they wanted to publish my story in an upcoming issue.
I WAS THRILLED!
Would you like to experience the thrill of seeing your unique, cute, funny, or heartwarming cat story published in a national magazine? I'm going to tell you how to do it.
First of all, let's make one thing perfectly clear. You will NOT get rich from this endeavor. Sorry! In this case, it's not about the money. It's all about the thrill of seeing your name (and your cat's picture!) in a magazine.
Okay, ready to find out how to make it happen - how to make you and your cat experience a tiny taste of fame and fortune? Let's get started:
1). DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Before submitting to ANY magazine, BUY A COPY OF THAT MAGAZINE! Now, here is your assignment. Read the magazine cover to cover. Why? You need to find out the type of article and stories the magazine runs...also, what is their "writing style?"
Is their preferred writing style light and funny, or more formal and serious?
Do their articles start out with an amusing anecdote,then get down to business?
Do they like "numbered" articles (such as 10 Ways To Amuse A Bored Cat)?
Are the short stories, REALLY short (say, half a page)..... or longer?
You need to know! Because once you know these KEY things, you can match YOUR story or article to the magazine's preferred "style," and therefore, have a much better chance of getting published.
2). DO A BACK SEARCH! Go to the magazine's web-site and do a search on the topic you want to write about. See if the magazine has published anything recently that's similar. If they have - you may need to come up with a new idea....or a new magazine!
3). EDIT, EDIT, AND RE-EDIT YOUR WORK! There are a LOT of good writers out there. This means, COMPETITION! But don't let that scare you. Look upon it as a challenge. Hone your skills and write the best story you can write! Here is a tip. After you finish your story, READ IT OUT LOUD (even if it's just to your cat)! It's often easier to pick out awkward sentences, grammatical errors, and repetitiveness when a piece is read out loud.
4). REMEMBER THE BASICS! Spell check your work, double check for proper capitalization and puctuation, and double space your manuscript. Make it look neat and appealing! Number your pages. Just don't number the first page...that will mark you as an ameutur. (Even if you are...who needs to know)? Start your second page as -2-.
5). DON'T FORGET YOUR S.A.S.E. That's Self Adressed Stamped Envelope. Send it along with your manuscript, brief cover letter that explains your story or article, and picture of your cat. If you are sending everying in a big envelope, send a folded envelope of the same size along, that includes proper postage for mailing your manuscript back to you.
NOT THAT YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR MANUSCRIPT COME BACK TO YOU! However, if you don't send the properly postaged S.A.S.E along with your manuscript, it may seem to the editors of the magazine that you don't really care about getting your manuscript back - which doesn't say much for your manuscript! Even though we all know you have the whole thing on your computer, anyway.....this is just the "Writer's Game" you have to play.
Some magazines now accept all submissions and pictures via E-mail...you must check the Writer's Guidelines (more on that to come). You would think in this day and age, everyone would prefer to receive submissions this way - but believe it or not, some still prefer going the old fashioned Snail Mail route, and you have to play by their rules. So..send that .S.A.S.E. Don't forget! (And hopefully, it won't come back to you!)
6). ALWAYS CHECK THE WRITER'S GUIDELINES! They're all online...just type in the name of the magazine, followed by the words writer's guidelines in the search engine. The Writer's Guidelines will detail all of the magazine's unique submission policies, such as ...is it okay to E-mail my story, or do I have to snail mail it....along with what TYPES of stories or articles the magazine is currently looking for (and NOT looking for), etc...In addition, the Writer's Guidelines will usually give you a Word Count they are requesting for stories or articles in various departments, and if you NEED TO SEND A QUERY LETTER FIRST!
7). IF THE WRITER'S GUIDELINES SAY SEND A QUERY LETTER FIRST, SEND A QUERY LETTER FIRST! Do NOT.....REPEAT, do NOT just say, "Poo! I don't want to do it that way!" and up and send them a completed manuscript, anyway. Chances are, they won't even read it, so you will just be wasting your time, effort, and postage.
Many magazines, especially the BIGGER ones, such as Cat Fancy, do request a query letter first.
What's a query letter? Just that. A query to find out if the magazine would be interested in publishing your story or article.
Make sure your query letter is no more than ONE PAGE, and that it clearly states the topic you wish to write about; your sources, people you will interview (if any), and how you will present your topic in a FRESH and APPEALING way. Remember; your query letter is your SALES PITCH. So...MAKE IT GOOD!
8). THE PERSONAL STORY IS YOUR BEST BET! The easiest way to get published in a cat magazine, is to send a short cute, heart-warming, or humorous story about your cat (or cats). When it comes to informative articles (such as : What to Bring When Traveling With Your Cat, or How To Introduce A New Cat To Your Old Cat), most magazines already have an established bank of writers they will assign these topics to. This isn't to say your article CAN'T get published - and if it does, that's where the bigger money is! Just be warned, it's a bit more of a challenge.
On the other hand, magazines are always in need of the cute, fresh, and unique stories sent by you - their reader. Does your cat have an endearing habit you could turn into a cute story? Do your two cats have a funny way of interacting with each other? Or maybe your cat and your pet of another breed have a unique bond that would make an interesting tale? Designate a notebook just for jotting down your "cute cat stoy ideas" whenever they come to you.
One department in Cat Fancy Magazine that is always looking for short reader stories, is The Rescue Of The Month section. This section includes profiles of cats journey from homeless (or shelter) to housecat. The length should be no more than 500 words, and a picture of your cat is required.
9). SEND A PIC! You can send along any good quality picture of your cat (or cats). However, if your picture "goes" with your story - all the better! For Cherry Plays With Toys, I sent a picture of Cherry surrounded by some of my daughter's toys.
It took awhile to get that shot, trust me. Cherry kept walking OUT of the circle of toys, acting like some sort of runway diva - totally annoyed by the whole thing. I ended up using treats to trick her into being a more submissive model. At one point, I put a liver treat on top of Barbie's head to entice her to stay.
10). GIVE THESE TWO MAGAZINES A SHOT: I Love Cats, and Cats and Kittens. These are the two cat magazines that seem to welcome story submissions with open arms.
I Love Cats
Or snail mail: I Love Cats, c/o Lisa Allmendinger, 16 Meadow Hill Lane, Armonk, NY 10504
I Love Cats wants no poetry or stories about cats that live outdoors. They pay $50, and $25 for short fillers. They can not return photos.
(A sample copy of I Love Cats is $5.00).
Cats and Kittens Magazine
Executive Editor, Pet Publishing, Inc., 4642 West Market St. #368, Greensboro, N.C. 27407
Cats and Kittens pays 10 cents a word - payment is upon publication. Currently, they are looking for ALL types of stories/articles: funny, heroic, breed profiles, medical, etc...
Of course, you can always give Cat Fancy a try. Also, don't discount women's magazines such as Woman's Day and Family Circle and Good Housekeeping. I have read cute and heartwarming pet tales in these magazines, as well.
And in case you're wondering? Yes, people STILL DO read magazines OFF LINE! REAL magazines that you can actually hold in your hand. In fact, 84 % of all adults still subscribe to magazines, and time spent reading magazines (despite all the ONLINE stuff to read - like THIS) has remained stable. It's also easier to GET PAID when your stuff is published OFFLINE. It may not be much...but hey, it's something! Just food for thought.
I look forward to reading about YOUR cute, amazing, adorably funny and mischievishly clever cat in a magazine, some time in the near future!
(Food for thought...writing online is a great way to hone your writing skills and spark ideas for future magazine articles)!
And here's another important tip. CHECK OUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL! No, this is not a magazine.....but it still offers the freelance pet writer (THAT'S YOU!) a great chance to get published....AND earn $200!
Yes, it happened to me. My story, Not the Favorite, appears in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book entitled...THE CAT DID WHAT? This book features 101 FANTASTIC cat stories (no, I'm not bragging, I swear....I am talking about the other people's stories, as well!!!!). Cute, funny, interesting literary kitty tid-bits...this book is fantastic for people who have short chunks of time to devote to reading. You can pick the book up and put it down at will...
My story was centered around our two current cats - one who adores my daughter and the other who adores my husband....and me, alas, with no kitty who views me as their "favorite." It's not a depressing story, however....it's written with humor and grace....AND IT GOT PUBLISHED! The "Chicken Soup" people are great...you can submit your story ONLINE (Just go to their website to find out how)...
I also received extra copies of the book my story was published in (great holiday gifts!) along with a check for $200.00. Now you need to check what kind of stories they are looking for - this always changes.