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Aneya Fernando

Land Up to $2.50 a Word at This Mag Dedicated to American Home Design

house-beautiful-feb-2014House Beautiful is on a mission to find gorgeous home design right here in the U.S. The pub caters to a mostly female, affluent audience and editors say they’re always open to new writers with a passion for design and strong reporting skills.

The mag’s content is 50 percent freelance, and almost all sections are ripe for pitching. But where should a writer begin? Executive editor Shax Riegler suggests starting with Q&As.

“We publish five big feature stories a month and four of those are always written by freelancers,” said Riegler. Features vary in length, but most run about 700 to 800 words, plus 100 words for captions. Because the magazine is visually focused, a feature story won’t be assigned without a layout and photos in mind. “The story is driven by what you see in the picture. We don’t like to write about a room we don’t have a picture of because that’s just frustrating for the reader,” said Riegler.

For more information about this Hearst book, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: House Beautiful.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Two Former TV Producers Talk About Creating a Multimedia Lifestyle Brand

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From left: Albert and Gerstein

Melissa Musen Gerstein and Denise Albert are former TV producers with hit shows under their belts (Gerstein’s resume includes a producer credit on Anderson Cooper 360; Albert’s at Good Morning America). When the two met up, they decided to form their own lifestyle company, The Moms, which started as a syndicated newspaper column. Their media empire now includes a show on Sirius XM Radio and New York Fashion Week shows that feature “real” moms on the catwalk.

As Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series winds down, Gerstein and Albert tell us about their early career successes, why they chose to start their brand with a Carrie Bradshaw-esque column called Moms in the City and how they landed a television show.

Says Gerstein: We [were inspired by] Sex and the City. We also thought, ‘Wow, [our first] column was so successful, let’s launch Moms in the City in print,’ and so, basically, we would write a very bold, provocative column about parenting, and then we would interview a celebrity mom based on that topic, which obviously generated a lot of attention and traction. And then we started getting booked on local television shows to talk about our columns, and also topical news that affected parents, whether it was how to discuss the images coming out of Haiti with your kids [or] the homeless problem on the streets. And after our fourth appearance on WNBC, we got offered a TV show, actually a pilot, which then got picked up on a channel called NBC Nonstop, which ran in ten markets across the country.

To hear more from Gerstein and Albert, including their advice on creating your own multi-platform brand, read: Hey, How’d You Start Your Own Lifestyle Brand, Melissa Musen Gerstein and Denise Albert?

 

Ebony.com’s Kierna Mayo on Digital vs. Print

kierna-mayo_articleKierna Mayo has been in the business of reinvention for well over a decade. After co-founding Honey magazine back in the ’90s, which struck a chord with a lot of young, hip-hop-loving African-American women, she hopped from one major mag to the next, until setting her sights on all things digital.

Today, Mayo is the editorial director of Ebony.com, a site that “felt and operated more like an afterthought as opposed to a key component of the editorial output of [Ebony],” said Mayo. Now, thanks to an eye-catching redesign, headed up by Mayo and her team, Ebony.com’s traffic has increased by over 500 percent.

As part of the “Digital Media” week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, Mayo discusses how she became known as the go-to girl for reinvention and what skills she transferred from print magazines to digital:

Creating and re-imagining websites seems to have become a sweet spot for you. What sensibilities did you bring over from magazines to the online world?
I brought my entire skill set, including my intuitive sense about audience and visual impact. Those are very important magazine skills when you’re a packager — someone in charge of cover lines or selecting the strongest image. I did have to unlearn this notion of a three-month window to create, develop and refine. The three-month window can become a three-minute window online. I often encourage peers who’ve made careers in the print world not to be intimidated by the crossover to digital. I feel like I deal in the alternate universe with magazine purists on one side who are conditioned to holding their bylines in their hand as opposed to clicking on them.

To hear more from Mayo, including how she handles Internet trolls and her thoughts on aggregated content, read: So What Do You Do, Kierna Mayo, Editorial Director of Ebony.com?

Details.com is on the Lookout for Innovative Writers With Style

details-screenshotDetails.com isn’t your traditional “macho” men’s website with an endless stream of sports, women and beer. No, this digital space is all about modern men’s luxury. So, dudes, if you’re embarrassed about discussing your grooming habits, this site isn’t for you.

The magazine’s digital counterpart (which averages about 1 million uniques a month) is on the hunt for freelancers to enhance its ever-expanding content. So what kind of writing are the editors looking for? Well, it depends on what you bring to the table:

The vast majority of the content on Details.com is presented through 500-word blog posts or slideshows that include a hed, dek, intro and captions. That may seem limiting, but considering the vast coverage of the site ensures that there are plenty of opportunities for freelance bylines. In “Style” and “Advice,” editors are looking for fashion news, not generic how-tos or service pieces. “They tend to be too remedial, and it’s not something that we’re trying to aggregate right now,” says [online director James Cury]. “So you’d want to spot a trend, or anticipate a trend. That would be ideal for us.”

To hear more about what Details.com is looking for, as well as editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Details.com.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Bonnie Fuller Talks Digital Media, Celebrity Journalism and Her First Big Break

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bonnie-fuller_149Bonnie Fuller, the veteran editor who has reinvented many major women’s mags, from Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan to Glamour and Us Weekly, is the founding president and editor-in-chief of the entertainment-news site HollywoodLife.com.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do – our first interview in the “Digital Media” week of our Profit From Your Passion series – Fuller talks about transforming tabloids and handling the criticism about her career, and offers advice to aspiring celeb journos:

[You must] have digital skills because I think the world is only going to go more digital and more mobile. So if you want to have a long career in this business, you have to be prepared to have those skills. The second thing would be that every rule used in normal journalism should be applied to celebrity journalism. Just because you’re dealing with celebrities and news about celebrities doesn’t mean you don’t apply a high standard.

For more from Fuller, including how she successfully overhauled so many top mags, read: So What Do You Do, Bonnie Fuller, Editor-In-Chief of HollywoodLife.com? Also, below, watch a video of Fuller discussing how she got her first big break.

Details is Looking for Writers With a Knack for Witty Cultural Commentary

DetailsDetails magazine is not your average frat-boy pub. You won’t find foldouts of half-naked ladies or advice on how to throw the best kegger. Instead, you’ll find the latest style trends, celebrity interviews and sections on culture, body, tech, travel and more.

So how can a freelancer get his foot in the door at this sophisticated pub? Well, lucky for you, the mag has recently broadened its FOB and is now open to more first-person narratives:

The interests and tastes of the typical Details reader (a “young, successful, urban-dwelling man”) are central to the magazine’s editorial mission, and though Details has been primarily service-oriented in the past, editors have recently begun adding more voice to the magazine through the addition of cultural essays through all sections of the front-of-book. These totally pitchable first-person pieces are rooted in cultural commentary, says [Candice Rainey, deputy editor], but are still “viewed through the lens of Details.”

To hear more about to get published in this mag, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Details.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Market Yourself as a Freelance Travel Writer

Travel writing careerTravel writing is something many freelancers fantasize about. Getting paid to travel the world and eat amazing food — where do I sign up?

Although it sounds exciting in theory, the reality of life as a travel writer is just as stressful and unglamorous as any other freelance career. In the latest Mediabistro feature, one writer discusses the lessons she’s learned after 10 years in the business. One of the most important ones? Market yourself to death:

Years ago I joined Mediabistro’s Freelance Marketplace, and it paid dividends. Soon after I joined, the editor of an in-flight magazine contacted me via my profile, and I wrote a bi-monthly column for him for four years. I continue to be a member and update my clips regularly. You never know when an editor will be looking for a writer just like you! I also read Mediabistro’s How To Pitch articles. Not only do I look at the travel-specific magazines, but also the lifestyle titles to find out how travel pieces I have in mind might fit into their books. At the end of the day, as with all freelance writing, it’s about being innovative and finding unique perspectives on topics that have already been covered, and making the pitch.

To hear more tips on how to create a lasting travel writing career, read: Embarking On My Greatest Adventure: Freelance Travel Writing.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Freelancers, Showcase Your Investigative Skills at Mother Jones

Mother JonesMother Jones, which launched in 1976, has always been a fearless pub, focused on holding those in power accountable for their actions. The mag has evolved over the years, and now focuses on a variety of topics, including politics, the environment and business accountability.

So how can a freelancer break in to this established, revered mag? Well, it helps to form relationships with the editors and to pitch fully formed stories, instead of just ideas:

Approximately one-third of the magazine is written by freelancers, many of whom have an ongoing relationship with the magazine. “We have some freelancers that we work with pretty regularly, but we also accept pitches for people who haven’t worked with us before,” said senior editor Nick Baumann. While no sections are off limits to freelancers, the feature well publishes the most freelance work. While many mags encourage freelancers to target pitches to a specific section of the book, “the best way to pitch MoJo is to have a story, and we’ll decide on our end what section we think it’s most appropriate for,” said Baumann.

To learn more about how to get published at this mag, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Mother Jones.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Hamish Hamilton On What It’s Like to Direct the VMAs

HamishHamiltonAs a live event director and producer, Hamish Hamilton has been behind some of the most watched shows in history. He recently directed the Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show, the 2013 VMAs (aka Miley Twerk-Gate) and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Hamilton explains how he prepares for these enormous productions, and what happens behind the scenes:

At the 2013 VMAs we had the most disastrous, monumental technical breakdown 30 minutes before we went on air. The entire stage, which was supposed to rotate 360 degrees, became jammed. We were faced with the very real possibility there would be no show. It was one of those moments that’s kind of a nightmare; something you think isn’t ever going to happen. I just went cold. But you just deal with it. You know, when you have a lot of really great people thinking calmly, out of the box, and working as a team to do something difficult, that’s very important. It’s actually bizarre because a lot of people don’t even notice, the program isn’t usually affected — and we had Miley Cyrus and the twerking incident, which kind of overshadowed everything!

To hear more about how he manages the pressures of such huge productions, read: So What Do You Do Hamish Hamilton, Director Of Some Of The World’s Biggest Televised Events?

Tiffany Shlain on Creating The Webby Awards From Scratch

TiffanyShlainTiffany Shlain is an award-winning filmmaker with one of the most watched shows on AOL On Originals, The Future Starts Here. The program focuses on the fusion of culture and technology, a topic which she is especially passionate about.

Shlain also happens to be the creator of the Webby awards. She had just graduated from UC Berkeley and was working with Sting on his new album when she got the gig:

I came back to San Francisco and I was given the opportunity to create the Webby Awards from scratch. They had no budget, and I said, “I know how to do things with no budget! I’m a filmmaker!” So we created the Webby Awards in the early days of the Web, which was very exciting. We used to make a lot of films about how technology was changing our lives, and those films would kick off our show for the Webbys.

To hear more from Shlain, including her advice for aspiring filmmakers, read: So What Do You Do, Tiffany Shlain, Filmmaker And Creator Of The Webby Awards?

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