The day Erica called and asked me to blog for Yummy Mummy Club was a turning point in my journey from blogger to book author. Have you ever wanted to blog? Write a magazine article? Get your book published? I went from being the Activity Mummy here on YMC, to writing magazine features, to becoming the published author of Boredom Busters.
Here are a few tips on how to turn your posts into pages:
Writing Tip #1: Start Writing!
I had been writing my own personal blog since 2007. I wrote about things I loved (kid events, activities, recipes, tips). Blogging isn’t just typographical diarrhea, it’s new media journalism at its best. You choose editorial themes, schedules, SEO, keywords, images, and content. These are great ways to hone your writing skills, as web editors love it when you can make your online articles SEO-friendly. Magazines publish on editorial schedules (usually 4-6 months in advance).
Blogging made me a better writer. And Blogging made me a better Mother, too.
Writing Tip #2: Connect (Both Offline And On)
I know, you’re thinking, “I want to be a writer, why do I need to connect?” Because through connections come opportunities. As my blog grew, PR firms took notice and started asking me to do reviews, attend media events, do interviews. These aren’t just “fun experiences,” but actual writing skills journalism students learn in coursework! This is when I met Erica Ehm.
And back in 2010, Erica called me with an opportunity—to write a regular blog on YMC about activities to keep kids busy so parents stay sane. I jumped at the chance. (Between you and me, back in the day I was very intimidated of Ms. Ehm, 'cause…she…is…Erica…freaking…Ehm…).
Websites, editors, book publishers, agents, and fellow writers are on social media and at media events. Connect with them!
Writing Tip #3: Play Nice On The Playground
Connecting with people in the writing world shouldn’t start self-serving. What I mean is, don’t ask for a favour before engaging. Send an RT. Comment on an article. Jump into a conversation and provide meaningful conversation. Share. Take Turns. Respect others. Basically, play nice on the playground.
Once you have established a relationship—pitch.
Writing Tip #4: Pitch Perfect
Do. Your. Research. Before you pitch, find out the name and email address of the editor (for magazines it's on the masthead, for websites it’s in the About Us or Contact modules, for book publishers it is on their Submission Guidelines page on their website).
Research what the “publisher” publishes (a cooking site won’t be interested in your nail polish post). Read recent issues to see what topics have been covered in magazines (if they’ve just done a story on toddler tantrums, they won’t be looking for more right now).
In your pitch—be it web, magazine, or book publisher—you need to outline what your pitch is about, why it is timely right now, and why you are the one to write it.
Your pitch is what sells your work. Sells you as an author.
Writing Tip #5: Dreams Don’t Happen Unless You Try
You have to write. You have to pitch. You have to repeat both. It is very rare anyone gets that golden email saying, “I read your post and want to send you a contract.” It happens. But rarely.
You have to try to be a writer in order to be a writer.
I wrote my manuscript for Boredom Busters during my last pregnancy, while writing my Parent Club blog and the one on YMC. While being a full-time Mom. While pitching magazines for feature stories. (No, I am not SuperMom, there was a whole lot NOT being done while I was trying to be a writer . . . mainly laundry. And dishes.)
I pitched my book proposal while my new born napped. Every. Single. Day.
And . . . finally . . . I got a book deal. Boredom Busters was published in Feb. 2014. Boredom Busters shares over 50 activities, recipes, experiments, and more to entertain kids at home or in the classroom.
Erica’s call not only gave me opportunity, she helped me to define myself as a writer. She still intimidates me a bit, but she inspires me more. Inspires me to grow from blog to book. Inspires me to ask, “Why not?" Inspires me to make dreams happen . . .
Caroline Fernandez shares family-friendly activities and tips on her site Parent Club (Twitter: @ParentClub). Her first book Boredom Busters (Cico Books, 2014) is now available in stores.