Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Writing for Parenting Publications

© 2009 Kris Bordessa, Teri Cettina, Jeannette Moninger

Your kids are an endless source of funny stories and often inspire you to get creative about your parenting skills. So why not share these stories and ideas with other parents, and earn some extra money at the same time?

Kris Bordessa, Teri Cettina and Jeannette Moninger, successful freelance writers who contribute to national magazines like FamilyFun, Parents, Parenting, and Real Simple Family, recently released a how-to e-book. Cash in on Your Kids: Parenting Queries that Worked, is a guidebook for parents interested in learning more about working as freelance parenting writers.

Here, they answer some common questions about freelance writing:

Is parenting writing something I can do part time or on a flexible schedule?

Absolutely! However, when you need to do an uninterrupted telephone interview or a deadline is looming, it’s smart to have a back-up plan: A neighborhood babysitter, a supportive fellow mom, or a drop-in after-school program that will watch your kids while you work.

Can I write about my own kid or my personal parenting experience?

Often, yes. But first study the magazine you’re pitching to see whether they use first-person anecdotes in their stories (i.e., “When my child was 2, he shoved a penny up his nose…”). If they don’t structure stories that way, craft your pitch accordingly. And remember: Even if you write about your family’s experience, you’ll still need to provide research and/or advice from experts.

Do I need to be a professional writer to break into writing about parenting and kids?

Not necessarily. However, before you write for national newsstand magazines, you must have “clips,” or samples of other articles you’ve had published. Weekly or monthly community newspapers are often open to new writers, as are regional parenting publications.

What should I send an editor: A completed article or just a proposal?

Most editors want to see a proposal (a “query”) before they decide whether to assign an article to you. The exception is an essay--a first-person account of an event, without interviews or quotes from experts. Editors prefer to see completed essays before they decide whether they’ll publish them.

How do I learn more about publications that run parenting articles?

Start with The Writer’s Market ( You can pay a monthly fee for the online version, or see if your library carries the book. Cash in on Your Kids: Parenting Queries that Worked also lists American publications that accept parenting articles, along with e-mail codes for reaching editors.

How much can I make writing about parenting and kids?

Local parenting publications pay less than national magazines but writing for them is a great way to develop a portfolio of your work. These “clips,” as they’re called, are crucial if you want to break into larger, better-paying magazines. National magazines—like Parents and Parenting—pay anywhere from $250 for a short item in the front or back of the magazine to more than $3,000 for longer features.

For more tips on writing for parenting publications, along with samples of actual writers’ queries, read Cash in on Your Kids: Parenting Queries that Worked ( or

Teri Cettina,
503-239-6923 (Oregon) or
Kris Bordessa,
530-295-0887 (California)

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