Please welcome to the Editor’s Q&A corner Parents Magazine Deputy Editor, Diane Debrovner. Diane talks to us about the submission process, what gets her attention in a pitch, response time, payment and more!
Q: I think most of us are very familiar with your publication! Tell us about your role at Parents Magazine.
A: I oversee our coverage of health, child development & behavior, education, and adult books, including our Ages & Stages section. That means that I top-edit all of those pieces (as well as some on other topics), working closely with the assigning editors, and I also assign some pieces myself. I work with the senior team to approve article ideas, and plan issue lineups and art/photography. I’m also now editing some pieces for our sister magazine, Fit Pregnancy and Baby.
Q: We know your demographic includes moms and dads. Is there anything else you can tell us about your readers so potential contributors know who they will are writing for?
A: Our core readers are millennial moms, which means moms in their 20s and 30s who have kids up to age 10. Of course, we certainly have readers who are older and whose children are older.
Q: Can you explain how submissions for your print and digital publications work?
A: Although most of our feature articles appear on Parents.com, most of the content on the website is original for digital and submissions are handled separately. Nearly all of our submissions for print come in via email, and are sent to a particular editor. Print editors will forward a submission that seem better suited for a different editor, and we will also send pitches to the digital team when they seem more appropriate for Parents.com. We assign feature articles based on a proposal, but need to see a completed essay in order to decide whether the idea is right for us.
Beyond Your Blog suggests picking up an issue of Parents Magazine and checking the masthead for the appropriate editor. Twitter and Google searches can also be helpful to find specific editors for Parents Magazine and Parents.com. The typical email convention is firstname.lastname@example.org. Print pitches for Diane can be sent to diane (dot) debrovner (at) meredith (dot) com
Q: What really grabs your attention in a pitch?
A: We love pitches that have a great voice. The tone of the magazine is friendly and conversational, and we look for that same mom-to-mom tone in proposals. Obviously, we expect that a new writer be familiar with our magazine and the types of pieces we do and don’t run. We like to see clips of other features and/or blog posts that you’ve written. We do prefer to work with writers who have experience writing for national magazines.
Q: I’m sure you get a lot of pitches on parenting topics that have been done and done and done again. Are there particular topics might be of special interest to Parents Magazine
A: Yes, but we return to evergreen topics frequently. The key is to find a new approach to a classic topic, or a fresh format. We are definitely looking for articles that articulate the emotional aspects of parenting, as well as human-interest stories that haven’t gotten press coverage. So if there is an amazing story from your own community that deserves a national audience, we’d love to hear about it.
Q: What are 2 or 3 articles that potential contributors can look to as great examples of content from Parents Magazine?
A: Here are two examples from our February issue:
Q: Is there a typical timeframe writers should expect before they hear back from an editor with a yes or no?
A: We’ll typically respond in about a month, and that’s a reasonable time to follow up about the status of a submission.
Q: Parents Magazine pays writers for published work. What can you tell us about rates for both print and digital?
A: In print, we pay writers by the word. The rate depends on the writer’s experience, but typically starts at $1.50/word. Parents.com pays up to $250 per piece.
Q: Are international writers able to submit via the same process as writers in the US?
A: Yes, although all pieces that we run need to relate the experience of parents in the U.S.
Q: Your personal website mentions that you write middle grade fiction. Tell us about that!
A: In my (relatively limited) free time, I’ve been studying the craft and writing for the last few years. I’ve completed my first contemporary realistic novel, and hope you’ll see it on shelves one day.
Q: What’s next for Parents Magazine?
A: We have a new editor-in-chief, Liz Vaccariello, who will be bringing some of her own vision to the magazine this year. You can look for some changes in both content and design.