3 Ways to Reuse Your Research

Thursday, April 11, 2013
How often have you finished up a nonfiction project only to realize that you spent more time doing the research than you did on the writing itself? Put this research to work again and earn some additional income by brainstorming multiple projects with different slants and audiences.

Let’s say that the editor at your local conservation magazine has asked you to do a piece on waterfowl, specifically on their nesting patterns. You’ve researched Canada geese, mallards, and wood ducks. Now that you’ve turned in your manuscript, you can start your next project, which will require researching invasive plant species, or you can get some more mileage out of the hours you spent on ducks and geese.

Change the Geography
Because you did the work for a regional publication, such as Missouri Conservationist, you might be able to market a similar piece to a noncompeting market in another region. Possibilities might include Illinois Game and Fish or Wild Ohio. Because the editor of these publications will want quotes about and data specific to their region, it will take a bit more work but not nearly as much as a whole new project.

In addition to marketing it to another regional publication, consider giving your topic a broader appeal, nesting issues nationwide. This would make it possible to market a piece to a national magazine such as Bird Watching or Wild Life.

Change the Topic
In addition to changing the geographic focus of your work, you can also reslant the topic. You’re first article was for a conservation magazine. Conservation publications focus on wildlife management and encouraging wild life to live in specific areas. What about someone who wants to discourage these particular animals from nesting in a certain place?

Canada geese in particular can be a nuisance in any area that has a pond or lake, actually confronting people on playgrounds and the parking lots of office parks. Playground Magazine or Property Management Magazine might be markets for article on discouraging geese from nesting in your immediate area.
The problem isn’t always the safety of nearby humans but can also include animal safety. You could market an article on keeping ducklings out of the pool to Pool and Spa News.

Change the Audience
These publications all cater to adults. Move into other noncompeting markets by looking at magazines for children. Perhaps your research included interviewing a scientist, or you actually had the chance to work with a scientist that was banding birds in the field. Highlights for Children publishes article about personal encounters with various animals as well as interesting professions.

You might also look at children’s special interest magazines. Add a Christian slant and you could have an article for Nature Friend Magazine. If you can find a something to do with your topic that works with a Boy Scout badge such as Bird Study, Fish and Wildlife Management, or Nature, you might be able to write an article for Boy’s Life.

Check out magazines with themes. Boys Quest wants pieces on birds (water fowl are indeed birds), Hopscotch has an issue on ducks, and a piece on making a nesting box would work for Fun for Kids issue on “making things.”

No matter what topic you have researched, you use your research for more than one piece of writing by changing your regional focus, your topic slant and your audience.


Sue Bradford Edwards is teaching the WOW! course Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next section of this course start on May 6, 2013.


Sioux Roslawski said...

SueBE--Thanks for the post. I'm always glad to recycle--especially when it comes to my writing.

Margo Dill said...

Yes, and I'm not very good at remembering to do this. I seem to get stuck on my old article. :( But with a list like this, maybe I can brainstorm and get unstuck!

Renee Roberson said...

Great post! This is something I always say I'm going to do but never follow up on. Thank you for the gentle reminder. All these file folders, old copies of magazine articles and "scraps" on my hard drive are here for a reason!

Anonymous said...

Just think how much we could all get out there if we did this!

Marcia Peterson said...

Great, practical tips Sue.!

I wrote a similar article for WOW a few years back that goes into greater detail:

Anonymous said...

MP: Great article! I really like your examples of authors who have done this and how. I knew Kathryn Lay was a wonder at this but the others were new to me.

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