Oct 072014
 

PaulaPanichA guest post by Paula Panich

Fueled by frustration and a manuscript of unpublished culinary essays with recipes, I spent two years writing letters to agents.

Silence.

Only one wrote back with regrets: She hadn’t heard of M.F.K. Fisher.

Fit to be tied, I swore I’d never write again. Then I thought: The literary magazines! Why not make a game of getting published?

Hundreds of small magazines buzz under our radar. These publications—some print, some online, are known as literary magazines and journals. They’ve been quietly present since Continue reading »

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Sep 302014
 
John Kessler 1

John Kessler explains how he gets repeat assignments.

Freelance writers like John Kessler are rare — the kind of writer editors can count on, who  can tackle just about any story and come through at the last minute.

John is the full-time dining columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On the side, he freelances for Garden & Gun, Food Arts (recently deceased), GQ, and has written for Cooking Light and Every Day with Rachael Ray.

What does it take to be the writer editors call upon? Kessler has ideas:

Q. Do you pitch new publications or do editors come to you?

A. My best work always comes from magazines where I’ve Continue reading »

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Nov 262013
 
ChrisYing_2013

Lucky Peach editor-in-chief Chris Ying. (Photo by Jami Witek.)

Lucky Peach, the two-year old quarterly that has already won a Beard award, contains personal essays, taste tests, rants, recipes, photo essays, and fiction. But there the resemblance to other food magazines ends.

A recipe might be written in haiku, stories are illustrated in rock poster or tattoo parlor style, and swearing appears often. A feature article might run 20 pages. Josh Ozersky of Time magazine says Lucky Peach is “powered by the fiery ardor and violent attachments of its presiding spirit,” whatever that means.

I disliked Lucky Peach at first because of the overwhelming boy’s club atmosphere, but I do appreciate the irreverence, the new subjects, and the writing quality. So I was thrilled when Lucky Peach editor-in-chief Chris Ying agreed to be interviewed. The former publisher of McSweeney’s, Ying cooked his way through college at fine dining restaurants and Mission Chinese Food:

Q. How did Lucky Peach come about?

Lucky-Peach-Issue-1A. Dave (Chang), Peter (Meehan) and I had met a year before we started Lucky Peach. We worked together on a small project for McSweeney’s, writing about food, and we were looking for a new way to collaborate. Peter and Dave came up with a curated, single-subject user-driven TV show/ap, but we ended up collecting way too much info, so they thought, ‘What if we could also make a literary food journal?’

The app didn’t pan out, but we made the magazine, and it’s become our mainstay. Dave and Peter have been editors, developing themes, content, what to cover, and assignments.

Q. Are David Chang and Peter Meehan still involved?

A. Peter and I are basically partners. Peter is running the magazine, assigning the stories. I make more magazine-y decisions, like where things appear, what to cover, and assigning Continue reading »

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Sep 102013
 

Modern-FarmerPerhaps you’re in a rut, writing for the same publication, and it’s time to branch out? Or maybe you’re comfortable blogging but you’d like to try writing for magazines?

Whatever the reason, it’s always exciting to see a new crop of magazines. Here’s a short list of what emerged recently, followed by tips on how to pitch:

  1. Alo. A Middle Eastern lifestyle and culture magazine with a food section.
  2. ACQTaste (As in “Acquired Taste”). A Canadian journal of food culture and lifestyle, focusing on chefs and restaurants, not necessarily in Canada. A recent issue focused on New York food artisans and chefs.
  3. Cherry Bombe. Here is a bi-annual magazine that celebrates women, high fashion, art and food. Issue one includes articles on food stylist Victoria Granof, pit master Continue reading »
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Sep 042013
 

Just thought I’d get your attention. These are pastries from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.

A while ago I decided to start sharing links from my quarterly newsletter.

The post was so successful, ricocheting around Twitter and Facebook, that I’ve decided to post a list after each newsletter comes out.

So, in the meantime, sign up for the Will Write for Food newsletter. You’ll get only four emails per year, with the next one at the end of September. It’s filled with useful info for food Continue reading »

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Jan 022013
 

When I was a magazine editor, part of my job was to design the perfect mix of feature stories that kept readers turning the pages. I would lay out maybe two trend pieces, two service guides, one how-to, a round-up, and a profile, with different lengths for variety.

These types of feature stories are formulaic, and most magazines (newspapers and websites too) rely on them. Once you understand the 10 types of features and how they work, you’ll start thinking of story ideas that fit their molds.

When pitching your feature story to an editor in an email, identify the type, so editors can envision the story. Of course, before you pitch anything, go through the magazine’s features and make sure they publish the types listed here.

It might help to subscribe to magazines you’re thinking about pitching, to ensure your story ideas have merit. So at the end of this post, I’m offering 10 free subscriptions for Continue reading »

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Oct 112011
 

Associated Press Food Editor JM (Jason) Hirsch.

Many publications and media companies subscribe to the Associated Press (AP), which sends them food stories.

AP produces stories that appear in thousands of newspapers and the websites of television stations, new media companies, and radio stations. J.M. (Jason) Hirsch is the company’s food editor. And the good news is that he assigns food stories regularly to freelance writers.

Hirsch is no slouch himself when it comes to writing about food, having authored High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking and writing the occasional feature for AP. He’s also the author of two blogs: Lunchbox Blues, documenting the meal he makes each day for his 7-year old son; and Off the Beaten Aisle, a blog for the Food Network that he writes as part of his job at AP.

I interviewed Hirsch about his job and opportunities for freelance writers at AP:

Q. How did you become AP’s Food Editor?

A. I was a reporter specializing in crime and juvenile issues. I loved to cook and began taking an interest in food writing. I started doing a column on vegetarian food. Then AP decided food was a big issue around 2000, and it became time for a dedicated food writer. I was given a lot of freedom to pursue great stories, and food became a bigger beat.

When my predecessor retired seven years ago, I was asked to take over as the food editor. Now I have writers across the country who cover food.

Q. What are you in charge of producing each week?

A. We produce a weekly package of stories that covers all facets of food, plus Continue reading »

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