Thursday, May 22, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Sheila Seifert of Thriving Family magazine

Briefly describe your publication:

Thriving Family is a marriage and parenting publication for families with children in the home who are 0 to 18. (The majority of the articles are directed at parents with children in the home who are 4 to 12.) The magazine is divided into features and four departments: Family Stages, Family Media, Family Faith, and Family Living. Family Stages offers short, practical, hands-on, often first person articles for parenting 0- to 3-year-olds, 4- to 7-year-olds, 8- to 12-year-olds, and 13- to 18-year olds. Family Media is often written in-house. Family Faith consists of a faith concept from a parenting perspective and faith conversations for couples. Family Living consists of 400-word articles for women, men, adoptive families, special needs families, and blended families. Our features are all marriage or parenting based.

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet 
with at the conference?

I enjoy meeting with writers who have studied Thriving Family and understand the magazine’s constraints when the author is pitching an article or presenting an idea. But if an author is new to selling his/her materials and would merely like me to show him/her how to dissect a publication to better understand Thriving Family in a way that can be applied to other magazines, I’m happy to help a writer do this. Perhaps a writer is not ready to pitch to a magazine or book editor. If so, I am happy to help the person walk through a trial editor meeting where I coach the author on the types of things to say and what to bring. Writers should merely tell me when they first meet with me that this will be a sample writer/editor meeting. The author doesn’t even have to bring a manuscript.

How can someone best prepare for an appointment 
with you?

An author can relax, tell me where s/he feels his/her manuscript would fit in Thriving Family, let me see the manuscript, and then be prepared to listen. But, for those who don’t have a manuscript to pitch, it’s OK to set an appointment to just get practice speaking with an editor. I was a freelance writer for over a decade before becoming an editor, so I do understand a writers’ learning curve. I am happy to help writers wherever they are in their development, and I might be able to suggest next steps for them.

Anything you would like to add?

I am at this conference to meet writers so here is what I’d tell them: If you have a parenting manuscript that you feel would fit in Thriving Family, talk to me about it. If you don’t have a manuscript, but have an idea, talk to me about it. In our Family Stages area, we are in constant need of short (150- to 200-word) first person parenting stories that demonstrate a great way to parent a child through something in a way that other parents can repeat. If you’re a parent or can interview a parent, you are welcome to tell me about some of the things that have worked for you or others. If I find your tip, advice, or story unique, I will ask you to write it up. This is a great way to break into the magazine and hone your skills as a writer. But if you don’t have a manuscript and don’t have an idea, you can still talk to me. In this case, you can tell me about your writing journey and together we can brainstorm next steps.

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