Getting Ready to Write About Christmas

© Allison Whitehead – All rights reserved

 

Christmas is one of the very few seasonal angles that appeal to virtually every publication. Come December, and in some cases as early as November each year, you will be hard pushed to find a publication on the newsstands which doesn’t deal with Christmas in some way.

With many magazines producing bumper issues at this time of year, there are obviously a huge number of opportunities for the writer in all areas of the magazine world. The key is to find a fresh approach and submit your ideas and manuscripts way in advance.

You should really start thinking of ideas for Christmas based articles in June, perhaps even earlier. It is easy to think December is a long way off and there is plenty of time to query, research and develop your features. Yet producing seasonal articles and making sure they are in front of the right editors at the right time is a bit like doing the Christmas shopping: by the end of November you are in a panic, wondering where all your spare time has gone.

Adequate preparation is the key to seasonal success. I find it’s a good idea to have a writer’s action plan each year, similar to the one outlined in this article. Follow these steps, and next year you could well enjoy a boost in your earnings.

Three steps to markets:

1 – Think about the markets for which you regularly supply material. Whatever the magazine, whatever the subject, you should be able to come up with some ideas for Christmas articles which would be ideal for each one. You will already be familiar with editorial policy and the editor will be familiar with your work, so you should be able to make several sales – so long as you choose a good angle for each piece.

2 – Make a point each year of picking up a few copies of magazines whose Christmas issues appeal to you. Choose ones you may not have seen or considered before, and when you want an alternative to watching the big film on Christmas Day, have a flick through and study them in readiness for next year.

3 – When you are inviting friends and relatives round over Christmas, don’t let them in unless they have with them a Christmas issue which you do not already have. They may have access to magazines – especially where trade journals and specialist magazines are concerned – which you may not even have heard about.

Four preparatory steps:

1 – Once you have amassed your selected magazines, make a list of the publications you would like to target, which you can then refer to next June. As you become familiar with each individual market, build up a file of information on each one. Thus, as soon as you get an idea for a feature, you can glance through your files to select a possible home for it. This will save you hunting around for all your Christmas issues, which will probably have been used to wrap turkey bones in by then anyway.

2 – When you have studied your batch of Christmas issues and listed all the market details you need, take the scissors to them and add some useful cuttings to your collection, which can be referred to when you start work next June. The more cuttings you can amass and store at home – on every aspect of Christmas you can think of – the less time will be spent collating the information each year. In the long term, a good cuttings library will always save you time.

3 – Note down the type of Christmas articles each market tends to favour. Do they like home based articles on how to cope over the holiday period with the minimum of fuss? How about organising parties and preparing food for the whole family? Or how to have a quiet relaxing Christmas getting away from it all on holiday abroad?

4 – Make a point early each January of compiling a list of possible starters for each magazine. It is always a good idea to have two or three additional ideas in reserve in case someone else beats you to the first one. It is turkey eat turkey in the race to get into the Christmas issues, so always make sure you have something else on offer.

These preparatory steps may seem like the last thing you want to do each year, but if you put the time and effort in, you will be rewarded with plenty of sales – and plenty of published articles to show off over your Christmas dinner.

 

 

About the Author: Allison Whitehead has been a freelance writer for 17 years, and has had hundreds of articles published on many diverse subjects in both magazines and on websites.  She now works mainly for online markets and shares her experience and sources at http://www.squidoo.com/smoo_publishing


 

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