Wednesday, February 14, 2007

So ... You Want to Write for Canticle?

The other day I had an unfortunate experience with a writer that I'd like to share with you, not to embarrass the poor (and unnamed) soul but to educate my faithful writers on some of the finer points about the selection/acceptance process.

When I work with authors to develop articles, I always try to remind them that I cannot guarantee that after it has been submitted in "final" form a piece will appear in print. The vast majority of the time, it does ... and yet, there have been a couple of times (thankfully, only a couple) when I've had to delay publishing or even reject a piece after accepting it for a particular issue. After I pull together each issue, it is reviewed by a small group of people who may decide to change or omit something. In the most recent example, I had to pull two articles from our Lent issue in order to make room for a piece about Lent. (oops.) This doesn't happen often -- as I said, only a couple of times -- but it has happened.

Other times, the execution of an article fails to deliver on its original pitch, even after some back-and-forth. I've done this myself (for other magazines), so I know how frustrating it can be. When I first joined Canticle, I sometimes ran a less-than-perfect piece anyway, just because I needed something on a particular topic. But as good writers have continued to submit pieces to me, the need for this has declined noticeably. Thank God.

Finally, I've had some writers contact me to ask about the status of an article they submitted over a year ago ... Some going back even longer than that! If this is you, I'm afraid you've slipped into the "editorial black hole." Please reread the writer's guidelines and resubmit if you think it's something we can use.

Now ... if you still want to write for us after all this, here are some things I can really use:

  • Articles (NOT biographies) on the saints. Choose one whose feastday is at least four months away, and pitch it to me first. We have an excellent one on Elizabeth Seton in the most current issue.
  • Articles on "hot button" topics that face real Catholic women. We've covered domestic violence and eating disorders most recently. Upcoming issues will cover divorce, homosexuality, and other real-life problems. What does it mean to "stand in the gap" when someone you love is struggling?
  • Stories related to Women of Grace -- retreat and study group experiences, etc. Also evangelization-related articles about how to share God's love with another person.

Hope this helps! Happy writing ...

Under the Mercy.


Lisa M. Hendey said...

Heidi, Thanks so much for this forum - you are providing us with a much needed opportunity to see things from an editor's perspective. You're doing a great job! Lisa

TANNIA said...

Hi Heide, I am a poet by birth and a writer by joy. I also write essays. I am glad that you are helping us with this blogs entries. We, the potential writers for Canticles, now have an idea of the process and how to make our writing work for both of us.

I believe that if we trust God unconditionally He will see that we make it to the final goal...

I will verify the length of my essays and send them to you for review and consideration.

God bless you and keep you away from evil.

In Christ we pray, TANNIA