Monday, July 29, 2013

For Writers - Quarterlies

This piece sold to Writing for Dollars last fall. For my writer friends it might be a useful read to start your week. And I hope you sell!

Have You Considered Quarterlies?
By Susan Sundwall

A couple of times a year I give my submissions spreadsheet a good going over, looking for reprint possibilities and pieces that haven’t sold but still have potential. In a recent such move I noticed the number of quarterlies I’ve sold to and there were quite a few.

Many writers won’t consider quarterlies – or put them at the bottom of their ‘possible market’ lists – for the following reasons.

1.      Trying to remember due dates for various publications is bothersome.
2.      Issues are themed and some writers don’t like to be restricted by them.
3.      Too many quarterlies are literary journals.
4.      Pay is non-existent or low.

That’s why I never wrote much for them either. Then I took the bull by the horns and got some re-prints out there and – sure enough – three of them sold to quarterlies. For instance, The Lutheran Digest takes, even prefers, reprints and I sold to them. The editor took my essay about the family recipe box and that sale was number five for that piece. Another publication for reprints is Valley Living. The editor frequently takes my stories and always tells me to go ahead and sub it elsewhere as other markets rarely cross hers. So I do and sell many of them.

Themes can be a bane or blessing. The bane part would come in the limitations set by an established topic not of one’s choosing. The blessing comes with having a topic to tackle from the get-go. It saves you from having to guess what to write about. Or worse, writing so far out of the publications parameters that you totally bomb.  But you might find that quite often the theme is broad. When you read the guidelines try to read between the lines a little to determine if your enchanting article about where best to invest your lottery winnings would fit into a broader theme of ‘family,’ or ‘finances.’ You might be surprised what an editor will consider. Since many writers have an aversion to quarterlies, your chances of being accepted are greater, too. You’ll never know unless you try.

Literary journals and magazines can be tough. Many of them pay in copies and if you only want the prestige of having your piece in one of them – well, okay then. But there are those that pay and I’ve listed a few of them at the end of this article. Study the tone of each publication – study the tone. Very important.

Now, as for those pesky deadlines. Simply make a log for them. Look at it in the first part of each new quarter to determine when you’ll need to get your work in for consideration. Note which ones take reprints and which tend to be themed. Try color coding. Add new markets as you find them.

So, are quarterlies worth it? I think so. Of course they’re in the mix with everything else you write and probably won’t yield you buckets of money. But here’s a little math. You set a goal of submitting three pieces a month to quarterlies. If your ratio of sales to subs is three to one then you’ve sold twelve pieces in a year. If each of those pieces garners $50 to $100 you’ve made anywhere from $600 - $1200 for that time span. Not a lot all by itself, but a nice little chunk of change to add to your other revenue streams. And if some of those are reprints, you’re that much further ahead in the game. Same goes for your evergreen pieces.

Take a look at these markets for starters.

West Virginia Family – Pays $25 per article

The Lutheran Digest – Pays $35

Valley Living – Pays $35 - $50

Range Magazine – Pays $50 - $400 per article

North Dakota Horizons – Payment averages $.20 per word

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. Your experience and great writing make you a regular Writing Guru. Thanks, again!

  2. Cindy, You're quite welcome. I'm still a little bit on vacation - ya know? LOL

  3. Sue,

    Good piece here. And maybe some potential markets. Thanks! :-)

    Jen @ Pen and Prosper Blog

    1. Jen - So glad you find it helpful! Thanks for stopping by. Smooches.

    2. Thanks for the info. I skip over them mostly due to the pay. But if I'm not writing for anywhere else sometimes, why not give these a try? You sold me! :)

  4. Hi Susan...Greetings here from another Susan. Karen told me about your and your blog and I'm your newest Follower.

    Please feel free to check out my blog, too, and follow if you'd like.

    I look forward to all your posts! Sincerely, Susan

    1. Hi Susan! Isn't Karen a sweetie? I'll be participating in the blog tour for her new book soon. And I'll definitely check your blog out. Thanks for following!

  5. I've never thought about this before--what an interesting option!!

    I'm here from Karen's blog also! :)

    Thank you and God bless!

    1. Hi, Cheryl! Welcome to my blog. I'm so glad you find the article of use. I'm always on the hunt for new markets and like to share with other writers. My book, The Red Shoelace Killer is doing well, too. God bless you back. Have a great weekend!