Sep 272010

James Oseland, Saveur magazine editor-in-chief

Wondering whether to pitch Saveur magazine? If you’ve never written for the publication before, you’re in luck, says Editor-in-Chief James Osland. In a recent phone interview, he estimated that some 60 to 80 percent of Saveur is freelanced. Of that amount, he said at least 50 percent is not from regular contributing editors.

So, if you do the math, that means 30 to 40 percent of Saveur’s food writing is written by new writers. Moreover, new writers don’t have to pitch a small story first.

“No,” Oseland  reiterates when I express surprise. “You don’t have to break in at the front of the book. I’ll take a feature.”

Saveur has only nine issues per year, with an average of 72 to 74 pages to fill per issue. That’s three or four features, four to five departments, and four to five shorter pieces in Fare, a department at the front. “We don’t have a lot of real estate,” Oseland admits. “Sometimes you have to choose stories that go well together. I wish it wasn’t finite, but alas it is, so we have to be judicious.”

One Long Communal Story Meeting

The way to get into Saveur is to pitch (an email to the editors that Continue reading »

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Jan 212010

silhouetteMaybe the magazine editor was just talking off the top of her head, but when I read it, steam came out of my ears.

In a story in the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ newsletter, by Stephanie Stiavetti, the editorial director of a national food magazine spoke of writing opportunities on her magazine’s website:

“There’s a lot of fear and concern…the move to user-generated content will impact those who made their living writing for print, but it has also opened up new opportunities for bloggers.”

Oh yes, we know all about that, how links are the new currency, and dwindling opportunities for freelancers. The article continues:

“How much quality can you expect from an uncompensated writer who may not be willing to put a lot of effort into an unpaid gig? ‘A lot,’ says the editor, who plans to use guest bloggers in the future: ‘We’ll be Continue reading »

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Nov 122009

empty_pockets-450x343Earlier this year I began working with a sophisticated home cook and sometime cooking teacher who wanted to start a blog, write for publication, and later on, write a cookbook. That wasn’t the order, but I told her it would work best that way.

She launched the food blog, and it’s coming along beautifully. For clips, we brainstormed a few story ideas for newspapers, which would produce results much faster  than magazines. She pitched several weeklies in the state, with two responses. It wasn’t pretty. Here is the first, from the paper’s editor:

“All the articles are volunteered.  We have no budget for freelance, or for anything else that matter. Everybody does it here for love. Still, we recognize that many freelancers who query us are hoping–and needing–to sell their articles.  If that is the situation with you, of course we will understand your not being able to place it with us. If on the other hand, you are in a position to donate the piece, it would be our pleasure to run it.” Continue reading »

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Sep 202009

Honey and apples signify sweetness for the year ahead

Honey and apples signify sweetness for the year ahead

It was the Jewish New Year this weekend, one of two opportunities for Jewish food writers to freelance articles about the holiday. Newspapers only cover Jewish food twice a year: on Passover in the spring, and on Rosh Hashana in the fall. It’s kind of like specializing in stories on turkey, and therefore you can only be published on Thanksgiving. Does this make sense? No, but welcome to Jewish food writing.

And just like Thanksgiving, each year, food writers have to come up with something new. The distinguished Joan Nathan, America’s best known cookbook author on the subject,  dutifully found an unusual angle for the New York Times last week: how actors in New Hampshire recreate early settlers’ celebration of Rosh Hashana. At the Washington Post, freelancer David Continue reading »

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