Today I welcome Kerrie Flanagan to Terry's Place. She's reflecting on a simpler time as a freelancer and sometimes secretly wishes for those days again.
I long for trips to the mailbox to see if a magazine editor responded to a query. But alas, those days are gone.
I must admit, I jumped on the email bandwagon as soon as I could. I pushed the envelope and called editors to see if they would accept an e-query. I felt I uncovered a hidden gem. I marveled at its ease and efficiency.
Then magazines started putting their issues online. We no longer had to order sample copies or spend hours at the library looking through past issues. I was giddy with excitement. The magazine world was now at my fingertips.
I remember shooting off query after query into cyber-space. No longer did I campout by my mailbox, I now compulsively checked my email every 17 minutes to see if an editor responded. At least with the mailbox, I got a little exercise. Now my eyes became red and glassy.
It took a couple of years, but the novelty of email wore off. I realized editor’s inboxes were on overload. I wondered if email queries lowered the bar. People no longer had to invest in their magazine writing. There were no stamps or envelopes to buy. Anyone could send an email without much thought, making it more of a challenge for those of us who took this seriously.
Editors rarely responded anymore unless they were interested in something. At least with a SASE I could count on a nice form letter.
After years of walking the magazine beat, I better understand how it works. Although it is at my fingertips now, at times it seems daunting and overwhelming. Thousands and thousands of print magazines have their content on the Internet and online magazines pop up everyday. My life as a freelance writer is more time consuming and complicated.
Finding the perfect markets for my ideas used to be an art form in itself; a quest. I looked forward to perusing Writers Market for publications, then going to the library to look through past issues. The feel of the magazine, the smell of the paper, and the knowledge I gained with every turn of the page, kept me in the game. By the time I sat down to write the query, I knew I had done my homework.
Something is missing now. Gone are the days of carefully crafting a query to fit on one printed page. The sound of the printer spitting ink on the page, making my thoughts and ideas come to life on paper is just a memory. There are no more SASE’s to address and no more trips to the mailbox.
Now all we have to do is sit at the computer all day, trying not to get lost in the immense sea of information found on the Internet, while reading online copies of a magazine and searching for an editor’s email address.
Maybe it is more efficient. Maybe it is quicker. -- but there is something to be said for the journey.
I long for the good ol’ days.
Kerrie Flanagan is a freelance writer and the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her 120+ articles have appeared in various national and regional publications. Visit http://www.NorthernColoradoWriters to learn more about her and NCW