If you've got a story that plucks at the heartstrings, we've got a market that wants it. Romance and confession magazines--long the stepchildren of the women's magazine genre--are alive and well, and looking for your story.
All of the romance and confession magazines are owned by the Sterling/MacFadden Partnership--a New York-based group that publishes True Confessions, True Love, True Story, True Romance, as well as the Black Romance Group (Black Secrets, Jive, Intimacy). Each magazine has its own editor, distinct flavor and style.
Pat Byrdsong, editor of True Confessions, says her magazine looks for true stories that deal with family problems or the aftermath of violent acts. But Lisa Finn, editor of the Black Romance Group, wants stories that sizzle. "Our stories are told from an African-American female perspective, and are more sensual and sexier."
The key to succeeding in this market, says Byrdsong, is to know the magazine. Because these publications aren't carried in mainstream bookstores like Borders or Barnes & Noble, you'll have to hunt them down in a supermarket or convenience store, or get a copy from the publisher.
Never been published? That's not a problem. In fact, all of the editors have an open door policy when it comes to working with new writers.
"We love finding new writers," says Byrdsong, "and in fact, we're often the first sale a writer makes." Editor Heather Dalton says True Story wouldn't exist without first-time writers. "We owe much of our success to the courageous women who have chosen to share their personal life experiences with us. We applaud every written effort."
Byrdsong says, "What most writers don't realize is my job is to buy stories. I want to buy stories. The more stories I read that I can buy, the easier my job is." Byrdsong will also try to forward your story to another editor if she believes it's better suited for his magazine.
Although the editors don't have time to do major re-writes, if you send in a great story that needs work, they'll send it back, encouraging you to do a little more work on it so they can buy it.
With the exception of the Black Romance Group, the publications require that your story be true. You'll have to sign a contract attesting to that fact. Don't worry about making up fake names for your characters--the editors will automatically do that for you.
So if you've got a story you've been itching to tell of heartbreak, romance, divorce or true love, this may be your perfect market. According to Byrdsong, her magazine alone uses 12-18 stories per month--and yours might as well be one of them.
The Black Romance Group (Jive, Intimacy, Black Secrets), 233 Park Ave. S., 6th Floor, New York NY 10003. Tel: (212)979-4915. Bimonthly fiction magazines targeting African-American women. "New writers have just as good a chance as seasoned professionals." Terms: Pays $100 for passionate and sensual romances of 1,000-1,500 words. (No byline given.) Submissions: Send complete ms by mail to Lisa Finn, editor.
True Confessions, 233 Park Ave. S., New York NY 10003. Tel: (212)979-4898. E-mail: email@example.com. Monthly magazine targeting high-school educated working class women. Terms: Pays 3/word for nonfiction stories of 4,000-7,000 words. Submissions: Send complete ms by mail to Pat Byrdsong, editor. OK to query with story idea by mail or e-mail.
True Romance, 333 Seventh Ave., 11th Floor, New York NY 10003. Tel: (212)979-4800. Fax: (212)780-3555. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Monthly magazine focusing on true love stories, dating and solving family problems. Terms: Pays 3/word one month after publication for nonfiction stories of 6,000-9,000 words. Submissions: Send complete ms to Pat Vitucci, editor.
True Story, 233 Park Ave. S., New York NY 10003. Tel: (212)979-4825. Monthly magazine for young, blue-collar women, age 20-35. Stories can range from hot romance to tear jerkers. Terms: Pays 5/word one month after publication for nonfiction stories of 2,000-8,000 words. Submission: Send complete ms to Heather Dalton, editor.
Cincinnati Woman Magazine, Niche Publishing and Media, P.O. Box 8170, West Chester OH 45069-8170. Tel: (513)851-8916. Fax: (513)851-8916. E-mail: email@example.com. Monthly magazine covering women's issues. Accepts: Fiction mss of 700-1,200 words. Topics include adventure, confession, horror, humorous, mainstream, mystery, religious, romance, slice-of-life vignettes. Contact: Alicia Wiehe, publisher. Terms: Pays $30 on publication for one-time rights. Submissions: Query with clips or send complete ms. Accepts queries by mail or e-mail.
Gulfshore Life, The Magazine of Southwest Florida(www.gulfshorelifemag.com), 9051 North Tamiami Trail N., Suite 202, Naples FL 34108. Tel: (239)594-9980. Fax: (239)594-9986. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Magazine published 10 times/year for southwest Florida, the workings of its natural systems, its history, personalities, culture and lifestyle. Accepts: Nonfiction mss of 500-3,000 words. Topics and forms include historical, interview/profile, issue/trend. All articles must be related to southwest Florida. Contact: Bob Morris, editor. Terms: Pays $100-1,000 on publication for first North American serial rights. Submissions: Query with clips by mail, e-mail or fax.
Fiction Fix(www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/news.html), CoffeehouseForWriters.com, W242-A Madison Ave., Oconomowoc WI 53066. E-mail: email@example.com. Monthly online publication covering writing and publishing. Accepts: Nonfiction mss of 800-1,000 words. Topics and forms include how-to (on the craft of writing fiction), opinion, personal experience (writing/how-to related). Contact: Miranda Fuller. Terms: Pays $20-30 for original feature articles on publication for e-rights, including nonexclusive ability to archive (removed at writer's request). Submissions: Query by e-mail.
Penthouse Variations (formerly Variations), General Media Communications, 11 Penn Plaza, 12th Floor, New York NY 10001. Tel: (212)702-6000. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Monthly magazine of erotica. Accepts: Nonfiction mss of 3,000-3,500 words. Topics and forms include book excerpts, interview/profile, personal experience. Contact: Barbara Pizio, executive editor. Terms: Pays $400 max. on acceptance for all rights. Submissions: Query by mail only or send complete ms.
Urban Graffiti X: Urban Noir, P.O. Box 41164, Edmonton, Alberta T6J 6M7, Canada. E-mail: email@example.com. Literary magazine of transgressive, discursive, post-realist writing concerned with the struggles of hard-edged urban living, alternative lifestyles, deviant culture, presented in their most raw and unpretentious form. Accepts: Fiction (5,000 words or less), poetry and prose poetry, comics. Contact: Mark McCawley, editor. Terms: Pays in copies and retains the right to reprint accepted submissions in anthology form. Deadline: June 2003. Submissions: Send ms with a brief bio and SASE with sufficient Canadian postage or valid e-mail address for a reply.
Country Music Foundation Press(www.countrymusichalloffame.com), 222 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville TN 37203. Tel: (615)416-2001. Fax: (615)255-2245. Publishes hardcover originals and trade paperback originals and reprints (historical, biographical and reference books about country music). Accepts: Biography, illustrated book, reference, scholarly. Acquisitions: Paul Kingsbury, deputy director (country music history, biography); Chris Dickinson, associate editor (current country performers, criticism); John Rumble, associate editor (music business, history, bluegrass, Nashville music history); Ronnie Pugh, associate editor (honky-tonk country, old-time country, country gospel music). Terms: Pays 10% royalty on wholesale price. Offers $1,000-5,000 advance. Submissions: Query with SASE, or submit proposal package, including outline, 1 sample chapter and introduction.
Jameson Books, 722 Columbus St., P.O. Box 738, Ottawa IL 61350. Tel: (815)434-7905. Fax: (815)434-7907. Publishes hardcover originals of conservative politics and economics; Chicago area history; and biographies. Accepts: Nonfiction: biography. Fiction: interested in pre-cowboy mountain men in American West, or East frontier fiction set before 1820. Acquisitions: Jameson G. Campaigne, publisher/editor. Terms: Pays 6-15% royalty on retail price. Offers $1,000-25,000 advance. Submissions: Query with 1 sample chapter and SASE.
Focus Publishing, P.O. Box 665, Bemidji MN 56619. Tel: (218)759-9817. Fax: (218)751-2183. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Publishes hardcover and trade paperback originals and reprints primarily devoted to Christian books and appropriate to children and home-schooling families. Focus is on Bible study books. Accepts: Nonfiction: children's/juvenile. Fiction: juvenile, picture books, religious, young adult. Acquisitions: Jan Haley, vice president. Terms: Pays 7-10% royalty on retail price. Submissions: Submit proposal package, including marketing ideas with SASE for nonfiction. Query with synopsis for fiction.
Pressforward Publishing House, 4341 Doncaster Dr., Madison WI 53711. Tel: (877)894-4015. E-mail: email@example.com. Publishes hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback originals that address mental health providers and consumers and their families. Accepts: Biography, coffee table book, self-help. Acquisitions: Arthur W. Cran, publisher. Terms: Pays 10-20% royalty on retail price. Submissions: Query with SASE or submit complete ms.
Boyds Mills Press(www.boydsmillspress.com), Highlights for Children, 815 Church St., Honesdale PA 18431-1895. Tel: (570)253-1164. Publishes hardcover originals and trade paperback reprints--a wide range of children's books of literary merit, from preschool to young adult. Accepts: Nonfiction: children's/juvenile. Fiction: adventure, ethnic, historical, humor, juvenile, mystery, picture books, young adult. Acquisitions: Larry Rosler, editorial director; Kathryn Yerkes, ms coordinator. Terms: Pays 4-12% royalty on retail price. Offers varying advance. Submissions: Query with proposal package, outline, 1 sample chapter and SASE for nonfiction. Submit outline/synopsis and 3 sample chapters for novel or complete ms for fiction.
Blue Poppy Press(www.bluepoppy.com), Blue Poppy Enterprises, 5441 Western Ave. #2, Boulder CO 80301-2733. Tel: (303)447-8372. Fax: (303)245-8362. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Publishes hardcover and trade paperback originals dedicated to expanding and improving the English language literature on acupuncture and Asian medicine for both professional practitioners and lay readers. Accepts: Self-help, technical, textbook (related to acupuncture and Oriental medicine). Acquisitions: Bob Flaws, editor in chief. Terms: Pays 10-15% royalty. Offers advance. Submissions: Query with outline, 1 sample chapter and SASE.
Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency, 440 West End Ave., Suite 15D, New York NY 10024. Tel: (212)873-6333. Seeking new and established writers. Actively seeking authors "who are well paired with their subject, either for professional or personal reasons." Member of AAR. Represents: Nonfiction books. Specializes in adult nonfiction. Contact: Rita Rosenkranz. Terms: Agent receives 15% commission on domestic sales, 20% commission on foreign sales. Offers written contract. Binding time: 3 years. Termination notice: 60-day written. Charges clients for photocopying. Makes referrals to editing service. Submissions: Send proposal package, outline and SASE by mail.
John A. Ware Literary Agency, 392 Central Park W., New York NY 10025-5801. Tel: (212)866-4733. Fax: (212)866-4734. Seeking new and established writers. Represents: Nonfiction books and novels. Contact: John Ware. Terms: Agent receives 15% commission on domestic sales, 20% commission on foreign sales. Charges clients for messenger service, photocopying. Submissions: Query by mail only.
Leo P. Haffey Agency(www.c-1st.com), P.O. Box 128049, Nashville TN 37212-8049. Tel: (615)463-2388. E-mail: email@example.com. Seeking new and established writers. Signatory of WGA. Represents: Nonfiction books (self-help), novels, short story collections, novellas, feature film, animation. Contact: Robin Swensen. Terms: Offers written contract. Submissions: Query by mail or e-mail with synopsis, treatment or summary and SASE. Do not send materials unless requested.
Peregrine Whittlesey Agency, 345 E. 80 St., New York NY 10021. Tel: (212)737-0153. Fax: (212)734-5176. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Seeking new and established writers. Signatory of WGA. Represents: Feature film and stage plays. Contact: Peregrine Whittlesey. Terms: Agent receives 10% commission on domestic sales, 15% commission on foreign sales. Offers written contract. Binding time: 2 years. Submissions: Query with SASE by e-mail or fax.
Ann Wright Representatives, 165 W. 46th St., Suite 1105, New York NY 10036-2501. Tel: (212)764-6770. E-mail: email@example.com. Seeking new and established writers. Signatory of WGA. Represents: Novels, feature film, TV movie-of-the-week, episodic drama, sitcom. Specializes in books or screenplays with strong motion picture potential. Contact: Dan Wright. Terms: Agent receives 10% commission on domestic sales, 15-20% commission on foreign sales, 10% commission on dramatic rights sales. Offers written contract. Binding time: 2 years. Submissions: Query with outline and SASE. Prefers to read materials exclusively.
New England Publishing Associates (www.nepa.com), P.O. Box 5, Chester CT 06412-0645. Tel: (860)345-READ and (860)345-4976. Fax: (860)345-3660. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Seeking new and established writers. Member of AAR, ASJA, Authors Guild, Connecticut Press Club. Represents: Nonfiction books. Contact: Elizabeth Frost-Knappman, Edward W. Knappman, Kristine Schiavi, Ron Formica or Victoria Harlow. Terms: Agent receives 15% commission on domestic sales, 20% commission on foreign sales. Offers written contract. Binding time: 6 months. Charges clients for copying. Submissions: Send outline/proposal and SASE. Accepts fax and e-queries.
Nancy Hendrickson has written for History Magazine, Family Tree, Personal Journaling, eBay Magazine and Smart Computing. Visit her at www.nancyhendrickson.com.
This article appeared in the May 2003 issue of Writer's Digest.