Sunday, June 17, 2018

Making Money with Magazine Sales #Writing stories #Writing articles # Multiple Sales


 Stuck in the middle of your novel? Characters losing their luster? Plot not believable? Wondering if you can no longer write? Take a break and "think short."


 Since walking off a government job into full-time writing in 1978, I've had 150+ books published. Dozens have been reprinted. Yet long before most were in print, magazine sales (1300+) helped me accumulate writing credits and gain credibility.


What I discovered from and about "writing short."


1. Our lives are treasure chests filled with golden nuggets to be expanded into magazine articles and stories. Personal experiences inspire and entertain. Things you know can help others. Pitfalls avoided warn readers, etc. In the last few months I have sold true stories ranging from the appearance of a friend when desperately needed to several answers to prayer, including money arriving from an unexpected source.


 2. Don't overlook the smaller markets. Payment is often modest but income from reprint sales adds up. Example: "My First 'Store-Boughten' Christmas" sold 15 times after appearing in a small monthly magazine in 1978. Now, 40 years later, a local newspaper for senior adults picked it up a  for their December issue. The $50. payment for one-time reprint rights brings the total earned to over $600. Note: My first inspirational novel sold for $250. but taught me how how to work with editors--and much of what I needed to know about writing--including what to watch for in contracts!


3. There is more than one way to sell to magazines. (a) True stories, exactly the way something happened. (b) Faction, a fictionalized story of a real event. (c) Nonfiction, such as a how-to piece. (d) Fiction, "made up" stories.


4. Know your rights. (a) All rights.You may not sell elsewhere, or even put in a story collection, without the magazine's permission--and they don't have to give it. (b) First serial rights. Magazine has the right to publish first, no matter how long it takes. (c) One-time or reprint rights. Magazine will publish whenever they choose. In the meantime, you are free to sell elsewhere as long as other places accept one-time or reprint rights.


5. Fringe benefits of writing short. (a) The original "My FIrst 'Store-Boughten' Christmas" was 1000-1200 words. The just-sold version is 650. (b) Over 3,000,000 readers have been inspired/entertained. (c) Telling it as it happened was easy. So was polishing and submitting. (d) Magazine pieces normally are responded to much faster than book submissions. (e) Receiving even modest checks is an affirmation that someone out there likes our writing and thinks it is good enough to merit payment. 


 6. A huge fringe benefit of writing magazine stories and articles is later being able to collect  them in book form. Red alert: You must be sure material in anthologies no longer belongs to a magazine. No problem if you only sold first serial rights or one-time or reprint rights. Otherwise, you must get written permission that returns copyright to you. 

Some of my most popular collections.


The Appleby Family Adventures. 

Dad, Mom, my two brothers and me find fun and excitement at home and on trips throughout the western states

Christmas Caroling Classics

Children learn how we got many of our favorite carols. 

Storybook House: Timeless Tales for Fun-Loving Families offers true stories from my childhood.

Colleen's Classics:
Timeless Tales for the 
Young and Young at Heart .
True and based-on-truth short stores.  

 Going Home Again:  
 An Award-winning Author's Best-Loved Stories  


In addition, many entries in my co-author niece, Julie Reece-DeMarco's and my Joy to the World: A Treasury of Christmas Inspiration, were originally published elsewhere.



Digging for Gold 

Our lives are an unending source of material for magazine submissions. Take a trip through your family photo album. When I did this, I ended up with a long list of ideas. The photos brought back memories that ended up selling as "Missing Easter," "Families, Flags, and the Fourth of July," "Threat to Thanksgiving," "The Gift of Wishing," "My First 'Store-Boughten' Christmas" and many more.

Happy mining!

Colleen's books available at 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Writing Satisfying Series #writing #book series

Have you ever wished a book would go on past The End? 
 Series titles make that wish come true.

Good things about series

  •  Readers appreciate knowing more about "what happened next"
  • Readers will be pre-disposed toward subsequent titles in series
  •  Series can be written by one author or many
  •  They can feature the same lead characters in each title
  •  Or be tied together by settings or events
  •  Characters can remain the same age or grow up


 1. CIRCLE C ADVENTURES series, features 12-year-old "Andi" Carter, who lives on a CA cattle ranch in the 1880s. Andi attracts trouble the way her palomino horse, Taffy, attracts flies on a hot summer day. Readers fell in love with Andi and were able to watch her grow from child to woman with CIRCLE C BEGINNINGS, CIRCLE C STEPPING STONES, and CIRCLE C MILESTONES.

2. Mystery and the Minister's Wife [Kate] is a delightful 27-title series, one of my favorites. The same characters are featured in all the stories, but unlike the "Andi" books, the series is written by many different authors. Each picks up on life in charming Copper Mill, Tennessee, and introduces new characters and mysteries.

I love writing series books. Having created characters, settings, etc., for the first title gives me a head-start on following titles. 

Word of warning: Keep extensive charts. While writing my 6-title JULI SCOTT MYSTERY series, I had several pages describing Juli, her friends, her home, town, likes and dislikes, etc. Ditto for my 4-title ROMANCE QUARTET western series.
I'd seen too many books where the blue-eyed hero in the first book showed up with brown eyes in the next title. Or a black horse became a horse of another color. Such glaring discrepancies destroy author credibility.

ROMANCE BOUQUET historical series now available

From Ireland and Boston to Washington Territory

From Seattle and Illinois to Arizona

From the East Coast to the wilds of Alaska

 From the deep South to an Alaskan village 

Join four couples who encounter mountain-size boulders on life's rugged road. Each title is complete in itself, but when read as a set, they become a tapestry of life on which God sets His fingerprints.
Flower of Seattle: Brian and Heather flee from starvation and tyranny.
Flower of the West: Daisy and John search for meaning. 
Flower of the North: Bern and Sasha serve God in a remote village
Flower of Alaska: Inga and Arthur's paths cross aboard a sailing ship

This series offers hours of inspirational, exciting reading.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day Memories #Somebody's Mother


What is your favorite memory of your mother or someone you may have called Mother or Mom??

Image result for google images, free clipart, flower wreath

I was privileged to have my mother for almost 96 years. Mentally alert, the day before she went to the hospital for the last time (one of the few times in her life), she was still looking up Scriptures for another book project. Our "God, Mom, and Me" team completed and sold dozens of titles in the 24 years after God called me into full-time writing in 1978. There is no way I could have been successful without my proofreader, editor, and cheerleader.

Random Ramblings

A former school and Sunday School teacher, Mom loved the Lord, her family, friends, and people of all ages. Kids and teens flocked around her, never tiring of her stories of the "olden days" and how many times God came to her rescue in times of trouble. Favorites:
    Image result for google images, free clipart, cougar
  • a cougar [mountain lion] stalked Mom and her siblings on Thanksgiving Day when they were children. They shouted and sang all the way through the forest until they reached their little village.

    Image result for google images, free clipart,vintage car with side curtains
  •  the old car she was riding in with all Dad's and her wedding presents shot off a hand-operated ferry and into a river. Dad shoved aside the window curtains and hauled her onto the top of the car. Mom's grandfather and dad's father were swept downstream. Hats sailed after them. 
Mom's irrepressible sense of humor (which I have inherited) kicked in. She laughed so hard it is a wonder Dad could keep her on their precarious perch until the ferryman could bring a canoe and rescue them. The blessing was, the river was at its lowest level ever and Great-Grandpa Towne and Grandpa Reece were able to swim to shore.
  • Note: Years later these incidents became true stories that have inspired countless readers in a variety of magazines. 

Mom at 94 with childhood friend, Claire


No matter how lacking in money we were, Mother's Day was always special. Mom treated every bouquet of wildflowers as if they were priceless roses. At times, they were wilted from hot little hands that had clutched "Mom's bo-kay" too tightly.  

Of all the Mother's Days, one stands out. I was always good at memorizing. During World War 2, when I was about eight or nine, Mom and an aunt got special permission for me to leave school long enough to "speak a piece" at a Mother's Day luncheon at the church my great-grandfather built, which was just across the quiet street.

I proudly recited a poem about a mother who kept a smile on her face when her son  went to war. All I remember is the ending. When the soldier came home, everyone laughed , but "Mother cried like all get out!" it was a big hit. I followed with a poem that is still one of my favorites.

Somebody's Mother, Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)    

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.
Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
 Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping hand to her -
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop,
The happiest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
"I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."
Her  aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
 For all she's aged and poor and slow,
And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
If ever she's poor and old and gray,

When her own dear boy is far away."

And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, "God be kind to the noble boy,

Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"

 * * *

May God bless and be with you all as we pay tribute to mothers everywhere.