BYB 026: Submitting Writing To New York Times Motherlode With KJ Dell’Antonia

In Editor Interviews by Susan Maccarelli | | 25 Comments

Submitting Writing To New York Times Motherlode - Interview with Lead Writer and Editor KJ Dell Antonia

**UPDATE – The team from the former NYT Motherlode moved to the Well Family section of the New York Times in 2016. Well Family includes “expanded coverage of parenting, childhood health and relationships to help every family live well.’ New submission guidelines are pending. As of November 2016 they ARE still working with freelancers and accepting essays, and looking for 800 words give or take. Submit to wellfamily@nytimes.com)**

Podcast listeners and readers of Beyond Your Blog who have been published on a lot of the well-known sites often tell me that the New York Times’ Motherlode parenting blog is one of their be-all-end-all online publishing aspirations.   This podcast interview with Motherlode Lead Writer and Editor KJ Dell’Antonia was at the top of my goals for Beyond Your Blog this year, so I’m it’s all downhill from here.  Scroll to the bottom of these show notes to hear this interview and all the great information KJ has to offer for those of you interested in submitting.

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Submitting Writing To New York Times Motherlode - Interview with Lead Writer and Editor KJ Dell Antonia

The interview includes

  • The easy submission process for Motherlode and what you really should try to spell correctly in your email
  • Who will read your submission
  • How long you will be waiting before you hear back on whether or not your submission was accepted
  • What NOT to submit
  • The qualities of a REALLY great submission including word count and what makes KJ say “Hell Yeah!”
  • The types of submissions she wants to see more of, and those topics that demand an even higher quality of writing because she gets so many of them.
  • Which posts you should read on Motherlode to get a good feel for what a stand out post looks like
  • The various ways Motherlode might promote your accepted post and the ways Motherlode would like you to promote your piece once it runs

Resources

**UPDATE – The team from the former NYT Motherlode moved to the Well Family section of the New York Times in 2016. Well Family includes “expanded coverage of parenting, childhood health and relationships to help every family live well.’ New submission guidelines are pending. As of March 2016 – KJ Dell’Antonia is still reading submissions, though their publications slots are full for some time out, so most likely you may get a canned rejection. That said, they ARE still working with freelancers and accepting essays. Looking for 800 words give or take. (kj.dellantonia@nytimes.com)**

Connect

KJ – Twitter
Motherlode – Twitter

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About the Author

Susan Maccarelli

Susan Maccarelli is the creator of Beyond Your Blog, a site helping bloggers successfully submit their writing for publishing opportunities beyond their personal blogs. She also offers online training and consulting to new bloggers looking for direction on submitting their writing for publication. Susan has interviewed dozens of editors from publications like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Brain, Child, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Washington Post, and speaks at many respected writing and blogging conferences.

25 Comments on “BYB 026: Submitting Writing To New York Times Motherlode With KJ Dell’Antonia”

  1. Like so many others have said, NYT Motherloade is also on my bucket list for this year! I can’t thank you enough for this great interview, it was so helpful!

  2. This was SO excellent! Susan, I want to help out and leave a positive review on iTunes but I don’t see where on the iTunes site to do that, even from your page there.

    1. Thanks Nina! If you log into iTunes, search ‘Beyond Your Blog’ and then click on “Beyond Your Blog’ anywhere in the Podcast column to open the series vs. 1 specific podcast. There will be a rating and review tab on the next screen. So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Susan, once again thank you! Motherlode is, well, the Motherlode if you ask me! So exciting that you got KJ for the interview! Loved hearing KJ’s advice and thoughts, and loved that you were so calm and collected! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for this podcast! I had been wanting to know about how to submit to Motherlode for awhile so this was extremely helpful. I’m very glad I discovered your site and can’t wait to delve into the archives!

  5. Great podcast, Susan! And perfect timing. I was working on a submission for Motherlode today and saw this, so I listened first. Very helpful!

    The last thing I need is yet another podcast to listen to (I am hooked on Book podcasts!), but I think I will have to add yours to my queue.

    Thanks!

    Sue

  6. Thank you so much for this! After listening to this podcast (3 times) I summoned the courage to submit to Motherlode (I’ve never submitted anywhere before!), and I received word yesterday that they are going to run my essay! AND they’re going to pay me for it! I am beyond thrilled!

    1. Thanks! Note that KJ has started to publish fewer essays since this interview, but she is still doing at least one a week (Sunday I believe). Cheers!

  7. This was very helpful – thank you! Any news on the updated submission guidelines? I have been searching the new site for the last hour and no cigar.

    1. I have not seen anything. KJ said that they had filled it prior to launch for a while and were working on submission guidelines.

  8. Hello,

    Thank you for a great article.
    May be I missed something, but where do I email my submission, and what’s KJ’s email so I could talk to her?

    I appreciate it. Thanks

    Sasha

    1. Her email used to be in the sidebar of Motherlode before they switched over to Well: kj.dellantonia@nytimes.com — Update from KJ as of March 2016 “A lot has happened in the last few weeks. After eight years, five on my watch, the Motherlode blog finally got a new name (Well Family), and a whole lot more love from the NYT mother ship in the form of resources, writers and liberal dashings of secret sauce.

      Some people are asking “what does that mean for you?” The short answer is that I’m no longer producing—no more patching together code for the sidebar and driving to the library parking lot to upload images when my home internet is too slow. I’m still writing—you’ll find me on Well Family on Tuesdays and Fridays and whenever something happens in the world, good or bad, that demands immediate response. The long answer? Stay tuned, but I’ll be updating my blog and website more often. Visit! (There’s a fresh entry now.)

      Here’s the scoop for you writers who are also asking “what does that mean for me?” I’m still reading submissions. I thought I might take a break from them, and I said as much on Facebook—but I would miss it too much. I really love bringing new voices into the conversation. So submissions to Well Family can still come to me. You will still, mostly, get a canned rejection, even if I love you and you’ve submitted before. But we’re still working with freelancers, still accepting essays (although we’re chock-full at the moment).

      My old advice to contributors still holds: Write about that thing you really want to write about, whether it’s a farewell to the minivan or something that’s more obviously meaningful, and make it an essay, not a blog post. Make it great, and if it doesn’t work here you’ll hopefully be able to make it work somewhere else. As for the details? Still about 800 words, still as good as you can make it, but at least you don’t have to spell Motherlode right any more.”

    1. Motherlode has been absorbed along with Well into a new NYT section: Well Family. This happened a few months ago and while KJ has said that she is still taking submissions, you may or may not hear back on rejections based on what people who are sending submissions have told me. KJ has said she is sending ‘canned rejections’ due to the volume, but I would not count on a 2 week turn around.

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