Interview with Kerrie McLoughlin, Author of Make Money to Write About Your Kids, and Book Review

Monday, June 16, 2014
If you’re a mom or an educator who loves to write, I'm sure you're inspired on a daily basis. When my daughter was still an infant, I became curious about how national magazines selected their articles and started studying the mastheads of magazines to get a feel for which pieces were farmed out and which were the work of in-house staff writers. After feeling eternally grateful to the friends and family who brought us meals after the birth of our first child, I used that experience to sell one of my first parenting articles, “Maternity Meals: Surviving the First Weeks at Home with Baby.”

Now working as the editor of a bi-monthly regional parenting magazine, I’m constantly on the lookout for fresh angles on evergreen topics such as making your own baby food, potty training, prepping for back to school and creating stress-free holidays. I was interested to learn more about Kerrie McLoughlin’s e-book, Make Money to Write About Your Kids: Get Published in Parenting and Family Magazines, when it landed in my inbox. Read on for a review of the book and learn how you can take advantage of the numerous writing opportunities in regional parenting markets in an interview with  McLoughlin.

Here’s a synopsis of Make Money to Write About Your Kids, in the author’s own words:

My bet is that quite often you read a magazine or online article and say to yourself, “I could have written that – and better!” So you write your essay or article. Then what? Where do you submit it? Do you give up at this point? I’ve seen it happen too many times. Your writing dreams are crushed and those paychecks are never going to show up in your mailbox.

Think of this e-book as your writing angel. It has 16 chapters of useful information before it dives into 239 paying markets, complete with submission email addresses, submission guidelines and pay information. This is the 5th edition of the e-book, and over the years it has been perfected to include not just regional markets such as San Diego Family, BC Parent, Orlando Family and more, but also has added national markets such as FamilyFun, BabyTalk, Parents, Parenting, Homeschooling Today and many more.

About the Author:
Kerrie McLoughlin is a homeschooling, write-from-home mama of five who has written for more than 130 regional parenting magazines and proofreads the work of others on the side. She is also the author/compiler of the e-book Make Money to Write About Your Kids: Get Published in Parenting and Family Magazines, as well as several other e-books. When Kerrie isn’t blogging at The Kerrie Show, teaching, giving her husband grief or writing, she enjoys reading, walking, avoiding chores, eating chocolate and drinking mass quantities of coffee.

Book Review:
Make Money to Write About Your Kids: Get Published in Parenting and Family Magazines is a great resource for writers interested in pitching articles to RPMs (regional parenting markets) but are unsure of where to start. Writing for the regional magazines can provide a consistent income if you remain committed to sending out queries and reprint lists. McLoughlin points out “while writing for RPMs is a great stepping stone on your way to writing for national markets, there’s no reason you can’t keep writing for the RPMs and sell your reprints.” The author takes writers through initial contacts with editors, covers common questions about the differences between a query and a submission, provides tips on generating article ideas, tracking submissions, collecting payments, mistakes to avoid and much more.

The majority of the book serves as a sort of “mini market guide,” including submission guidelines, contact and payment information for both regional and national parenting markets. I was so excited to find this list and can personally advise writers that a market guide of this caliber is well worth the cost of the book, especially if you don’t own an updated copy of Writer’s Market. In fact, it got me motivated to begin sending out a new round of queries for my own dusty list of reprints I have sitting on my hard drive. McLoughlin’s tone is practical, as she points out that “getting published is a numbers game." At the same time, she is also encouraging, and with the information she offers in this book, readers are sure to have their first parenting article sale in no time.

Interview by Renee Roberson----------

WOW: Kerrie, welcome! I know our readers will get a kick out of learning about how to sell article ideas to parenting markets. Can you tell us about the first parenting article idea you ever sold? How did you get the inspiration for it?

Kerrie: The first one I ever sold was called “Stock-Up Mentality” and it went to my local parenting magazine, since that’s all I knew existed at the time. A friend was talking about going grocery shopping every day with kids in tow and I was incredulous. Grocery shopping is a chore for me and I try to stock up as much as I can for as long as possible to avoid shopping! So I wrote a piece about how to stock up on food and meals and even did some once-a-month cooking for research.

WOW: How many hours per week would you say you spend marketing reprints and querying publications about new article ideas?

Kerrie: When I was hitting it hard, probably only about 10 hours total, and that includes working on new pieces. This really is a lovely side business for me because I also do other things to make money from home, but others could take it much further. Someday I’d like to take article queries to national magazines while also writing for the regionals. It might seem like a slow road sometimes but then you be like me someday and reach a point where you can’t believe you have had articles published in 141 magazines. The point I want to drive home is that you can do this while you work a full-time job, stay home with kids, whatever!

WOW: I completely relate! I remember how exciting it was when I was able to use my parenting clips to land assignments with other newspapers and magazines and build up my portfolio. I've always been curious about writing e-books, and a little intimidated by the process, to be honest. How did you get started writing them? What advice would you give writers who are venturing into this micro-publishing platform?

Kerrie: Once I started compiling information for regional parenting magazines, I realized I had a wealth of information I could be sharing with other writers like myself. As I worked on the market information I was also getting published and finding out even more about each magazine and how to go about everything. Over many hours back in 2009 I put together tips and tricks but did not stop there. I went ahead and added all the market information I had for dozens and dozens of both regional and national magazines. I also put together an at-a-glance Excel spreadsheet, which I unfortunately can’t attach to the Kindle version but anyone who emails me can certainly have it!

WOW: You are also a homeschooling mom of five. How do you juggle your writing and marketing efforts with teaching?

Kerrie: Sometimes I separate them and sometimes I marry them. I get up in the morning before everyone else (typical writer advice, right?!) and sneak in a couple of hours that way. Homeschooling is late morning/early afternoon, then I might be able to sneak in another hour at night. Back when the kids were much younger I would write whenever I could find a moment or five, write while nursing, write while they played, and every now and then I might sneak out of the house for a bit to get some hard thinking done.

WOW: What would you say are some of the most popular "evergreen" topics that regional and national parenting magazines are looking for?

Kerrie: They are always looking for something fresh on the topics of camp, pregnancy, babies and toddlers, seasonal, holiday, back to school.

Mark your calendars! Make Money to Write About Your Kids: Get Published in Parenting and Family Magazines will be going on Kindle Countdown for a week beginning on July 8, reducing the price from $9.99 to $4.99.

Renee Roberson is the editor of Little Ones, a regional bi-monthly parenting magazine based in Charlotte, N.C. Her articles have appeared in other regional parenting magazines such as Charlotte Parent, Carolina Parent, Piedmont Parent, Georgia Family Magazine and more. She also works as a blog tour manager with WOW! Women on Writing.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--Thanks for the interview.

Kerrie--This is certainly something I'm going to invest in. My kids (now grown) have given me plenty of gray hair. Perhaps I could make some money off of them?

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

Sioux, sure! Always try to make money off your kids ... you spend enough on them ... LOL!

Karen Cioffi said...

What a great interview. I'm a grandparent of two young boys and bet I could query parenting magazines. I'm looking forward to the book going on sale!

Thanks for sharing.

Renee Roberson said...

@Sioux -- I'm sure there's no limit to what you could pitch! Parenting magazines are always looking for stories from teachers, too!

@Kerrie--Thanks for participating in the interview! I look forward to breaking into some of the pubs in your e-book (being positive here)!

@Karen--Thanks for chiming in! I know grandparent topics are always welcome in these publications--they need more of that perspective, as a matter of fact. Good luck!

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

Omigosh, don't even ... they need grandparent stuff like crazy! Especially directly from a grandparent would be a fresh perspective!

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