At the SCBWI national conference in Los Angeles 4 years ago, I attended a wonderful workshop by SCBWI regional advisor Sue Ford. (She writes under Sue Uhlig. She was RA in Kansas at the time and is now RA in Oregon!) While I’m published in other industries like health care, I did not have published work in children’s literature. (And it looked like it would be awhile with my chapter books.) Sue taught the basics and how to get started. (She has hundreds of articles published!) Then when I attended a Writer’s Retreat three years ago, I roomed next to SCBWI member and author Natasha Carter Yim. She was working on a magazine query and reminded me of the magazine websites and their submission guidelines.
That got me hooked. It was those connections that helped me get started. I’ve done many queries and have had 3 articles published to date. Magazine publishers receive hundreds of queries for a single issue. When it’s time to prepare the issue, they look at all the queries and create their focus to select the articles that fit with their direction.
My latest set of queries is for an issue on SNAKES. I was totally clueless on snakes. Like all my queries, I totally immerse in research, and am always amazed how totally ignorant I am on these topics. I love the immersion to come up with compelling topics for children. My latest was discovering Twinkie,
the largest Albino python in the world! My next query drew me into the horrifying python slaughterhouses and the black market for snake skins supplying the billion dollar skin industry for European fashions.
Hope the queries are selected. But whether they are or not, it was an enjoyable writer’s journey!