Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Persistence pays off. After I submit an article to a magazine and receive no response, I wait an appropriate amount of time--three months is my usual rule of thumb–then I write a polite follow-up letter asking the magazine editor if she’s had a chance to review my submission. I enclose a copy of my original submission cover letter, which is the sales pitch for the article, and an SASE.

The response I've had to these follow-up letters has been gratifying: On one, I received a prompt telephone call. "Mary, thanks for reminding me. I'd put your article aside and it got buried. I'd like to use your piece next month."
After I'd sent a reminder, an editor admitted they had lost my manuscript, but he thought the article would be something he could use. Would I resubmit the manuscript? Would I! The article was published within two months.

One local sailing magazine didn't respond in a timely fashion but called me after my follow-up letter. He liked the article, but his magazine was no longer doing destination pieces. However, he needed someone to write a monthly "event" feature story, which I agreed to do. This new opportunity stemmed from my reminder letter.

Of course, not all my follow-up letters have happy endings. Some of the articles come back rejected, but at least I know the status and I can immediately resubmit the articles to another publication. If, after sending a follow-up letter I still don't hear anything within three months, I make a notation to never submit to that outfit again. As soon as possible I resubmit the article to another publication. The idea is to keep your articles circulating, not sitting on your or an editor's desk.

Over the years as a free-lance writer, I’ve had more than 400 articles published in magazines and newspapers. It’s been gratifying–not only for the income, but to have readers comment that they’ve seen my article in a magazine they subscribe to.

Following is a sample follow-up letter:

Dear Ms. Smith:

On October 5, 2010, I mailed to you "Celebrating Traditions" on hard copy and on disk in RTF format, together with a stamped self-address envelope. Included with the article on disk were digital images and a picture caption page. I am enclosing a copy of my cover letter for your review.

I would appreciate a reply if this article meets your editorial needs. Enclosed is a stamped self-addressed envelope for your convenience; or, if e-mail is more convenient, my e-mail address is listed below. I do not need the materials returned.

Thank you for your consideration.

Mary E. Trimble
Phone: (206) 555-2400

Monday, January 12, 2009

Natalie MacMaster -- A Concert to Remember

One of our Christmas presents to one another this year was a holiday concert in Seattle to see Natalie MacMaster, a Celtic fiddler extraordinaire. Seattle, about a 70-mile trek from our home on Camano Island, is rarely a destination for us with its congested traffic and expensive parking, when you can find it. But any inconvenience we experienced proved well worth the effort. Natalie MacMaster offers a memorable, wide-ranging concert.

One of Canada’s major talents, MacMaster is internationally recognized for her extraordinary showmanship. She puts on a rip-roaring performance with high-energy fiddling and step-dancing. The show we attended, at Benaroya Hall with its wonderful acoustics, brought the audience to its feet more than once.

The fact that she was seven months pregnant with her third child didn’t seem to slow down Natalie MacMaster one iota--she simply pours out the talent. Her five band members each performed individually as well. They’re all extraordinary musicians.

If you have the chance, attend a Natalie MacMaster concert. Or, the next best thing, look for her many albums. For more information, visit her website: www.nataliemacmaster.com

Friday, January 2, 2009


I’m honored this week to be featured on Poppyseeds’ blog. Cousins Julie and Marybeth Sande, have a real flair for design and arrangement of their many items ranging from beautiful antiques to new and original gifts for the home, jewelry and purses. It’s such a fun place to browse and I’ve been able to find original gifts for those hard-to-please people on my list.

I’ve known Julie Sande for many years–she formally managed the Cookie Mill in Stanwood. I’ve long admired her taste in decor–that little restaurant became a stand-out among local eateries. Julie and her cousin have definitely found their niche in this gift store. Whatever you need–from vintage wall hangings to original pictures to fine soaps, you’ll surely find something unique at Poppyseeds. You’ll even find copies of my two books, Rosemount and McClellan’s Bluff!

For those nearby, Poppyseeds can be found just off Highway 532 in Stanwood:
26915 98th Drive NW
Stanwood, WA 98282
Phone (360) 629 7333

For Internet shoppers, check out their blog: