The name of the story was Cherry Plays With Toys, and it was published in Cats and Kittens Magazine. I got the idea to write the story as I watched my cat Cherry bat a miniature computer around the kitchen floor. She had swiped the little plastic computer out of my daughter’s Barbie’s Dream House, like a cat burglar in the night. I informed my pet,chuckling at my own joke. After that, a thought popped into my head that went something like this: Hey! That’s kind of funny! Maybe I can write a cute and funny story about how Cherry likes to play with my daughter’s toys! And so I did. About a month later, I received a letter back from the magazine telling me they wanted to publish my story in an upcoming issue. Would you like to experience the thrill of seeing your unique, cute, funny, or heartwarming cat story published in a national magazine? I’m going to tell you how to do it.
First of all, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. You will NOT get rich from this endeavor. In this case, it’s not about the money. It’s all about the thrill of seeing your name (and your cat’s picture!) in a magazine. Okay, ready to find out how to make it happen – how to make you and your cat experience a tiny taste of fame and fortune? Before submitting to ANY magazine, BUY A COPY OF THAT MAGAZINE! Now, here is your assignment. Read the magazine cover to cover. Is their preferred writing style light and funny, or more formal and serious? Do their articles start out with an amusing anecdote,then get down to business? Do they like “numbered” articles (such as 10 Ways To Amuse A Bored Cat)? You need to know! Because once you know these KEY things, you can match YOUR story or article to the magazine’s preferred “style,” and therefore, have a much better chance of getting published.
DO A BACK SEARCH! Go to the magazine’s web-site and do a search on the topic you want to write about. See if the magazine has published anything recently that’s similar. EDIT, EDIT, AND RE-EDIT YOUR WORK! There are a LOT of good writers out there. But don’t let that scare you. Look upon it as a challenge. Hone your skills and write the best story you can write! Here is a tip. After you finish your story, READ IT OUT LOUD (even if it’s just to your cat)! It’s often easier to pick out awkward sentences, grammatical errors, and repetitiveness when a piece is read out loud. Spell check your work, double check for proper capitalization and puctuation, and double space your manuscript. Make it look neat and appealing! Start your second page as -2-. DON’T FORGET YOUR S.A.S.E. That’s Self Adressed Stamped Envelope. Send it along with your manuscript, brief cover letter that explains your story or article, and picture of your cat. If you are sending everying in a big envelope, send a folded envelope of the same size along, that includes proper postage for mailing your manuscript back to you.
NOT THAT YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR MANUSCRIPT COME BACK TO YOU! However, if you don’t send the properly postaged S.A.S.E along with your manuscript, it may seem to the editors of the magazine that you don’t really care about getting your manuscript back – which doesn’t say much for your manuscript! Writer’s Guidelines (more on that to come). You would think in this day and age, everyone would prefer to receive submissions this way – but believe it or not, some still prefer going the old fashioned Snail Mail route, and you have to play by their rules. So..send that .S.A.S.E. Don’t forget! And hopefully, it won’t come back to you! ALWAYS CHECK THE WRITER’S GUIDELINES! In addition, the Writer’s Guidelines will usually give you a Word Count they are requesting for stories or articles in various departments, and if you NEED TO SEND A QUERY LETTER FIRST! IF THE WRITER’S GUIDELINES SAY SEND A QUERY LETTER FIRST, SEND A QUERY LETTER FIRST!