Getting Your Column Off the Ground

Once you’ve decided to write a column, take the following steps: 

1) Write five or six sample columns to send to an editor or to more than one. 

2) Start with the editor of your local newspaper. Most communities have several newspapers, including weeklies. Determine for which newspaper your column would be suitable. 

3) Send your sample columns with a cover letter to the editor. Mention that you are interesting in writing a regular column and that you are willing to offer him five samples free of charge to determine public response. Tell him that if he gets a favorable response, you will then negotiate a mutually beneficial compensation plan. 

4) Sometimes the editor will say that he cannot pay you. Be ready with your answer before you speak to him. Decide if you are willing to write for free or if you are not. 

5) Keep all of your columns. Some day you may turn them into a book.

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3 thoughts on “Getting Your Column Off the Ground

  1. Hi, MaryAnn. This is tremendous advice, and very practical. I started writing my bi-weekly inspirational column in our local newspaper eight years ago, and I now have a second paper publishing my column. The only item I did differently was to make an appointment with the editor, showing him my sample columns in person. Because our paper is small— readership of 5,000— he was willing to meet with me and provide space for my column. I had written several letters to the editor, and one of my magazine articles had been published in the paper, so he was familiar with my writing style.
    This column, along with speaking engagements, has provided me with the beginning of my platform as a writer. I have done excactly what you suggested: turned my columns into a book.
    James Watkins, an award winning author and humorist, also started out this way.
    It’s a great method for introducing your writing and yourself to diverse groups of people.
    Jeanette Levellie

    February 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM

  2. Thank you, Jen and Kev. I so appreciate your post and was delighted to read of your success with your own column.

    You are right about a column providing a great platform for introducing your writing and for opening up speaking opportunities as well. May your writing influence increase, for God’s glory and for the building of His Kingdom.

    Blessings,

    MaryAnn

    February 1, 2009 at 4:53 PM

  3. Hi Mary Ann –

    When I read your post and Jen’s comment, I immediately thought of a writer friend. She’s written lots of letters to the editors. Perhaps a column would be a natural progression for her.

    I plan to tell her about your posts when I see her Saturday.

    Blessings,
    Susan 🙂

    February 2, 2009 at 9:59 PM