Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Flyfisher Magazine - Getting Published

By Gretchen and Al Beatty 

 

Foreword

     Many people in our membership have a keen desire to publish an idea, information or article in the Flyfisher. We are equally keen to accommodate as many such requests as our limited space allows; after all our publication is for and about all of you. That said please take a moment to contact one of our editorial staff for guidance regarding article size, photography needs, estimated publish dates and relevant content. In the publishing industry we call that initial contact a query letter/e-mail. In your query let us know what you would like to do before writing the piece so we can balance the organizations overall needs with your idea and possibly save you (and us) some work in the process.

     Getting writing experience before jumping in the magazine publishing fire is a good idea AND the Federation of Fly Fishers has just the vehicle for that purpose, the monthly E-Newsletter. In that publication a page is as long as you want it to be because it’s electronic and all the reader must do to advance further down the page is press the arrow button on the keyboard OR operate the scroll wheel on the mouse. In a paper magazine like the Flyfisher when you hit the end of the page everything stops. A decision must be made to either flow the text to another page or the article must be reduced in size to fit the existing page. Due to space allocation problems we almost always have to edit words out of an article to make it fit the page.

     To gain even more experience you may consider writing for your local club newsletter. We’ve never met a club newsletter editor who wasn't constantly looking for more content to put in the publication. When you attend your next meeting, ask about working with the newsletter and don’t be surprised if you are taken up on your query so fast it makes you head spin. It’s a great learning tool and it's how many writers got started in the publishing business; that’s how we got started and you could too.

 
 

What Will We Publish?

     We publish articles related to fly fishing, fly tying and activities that support our sport. We are all about conserving, restoring and educating through fly fishing. We do not publish articles that may inadvertently promote like-organizations, e.g. Trout Unlimited, B.A.S.S. or one of the many other fishing-water resource organizations. Yes, we have Affiliate Clubs that are part warmwater/coldwater focused AND yet pay dues to the FFF. Articles about club projects from our Affiliate Clubs cover a wide range of topics and the FFF Members involved should be recognized and applauded for their effort. We are pleased to publish this type of article in the Flyfisher. The key two words in the last two sentences were "FFF Members."

TIP for publishing

     If you want an article published in a magazine paid for by the Federation of Fly Fishers then we suggest you write it to credit the organization that pays for the publication. When we receive articles focused on giving credit to other organizations we return them to the author for a rewrite OR suggest he/she submit the article to the highlighted organization's magazine.

 

Word Count is Critical

     A really important consideration when writing for the Flyfisher is to recognize the need to meet our word-count recommendation. We ask for those word counts (article size) based on page space in the magazine. The cost for that page space is measure in dollars per inch and it’s expensive; the competition for that space is fierce. We understand new authors aren’t skilled at meeting word counts and we can work with that situation. When we ask for 500 words and get 550, no problem however when we ask for 500 words and get 750 or 1000, don’t be surprised to have the article returned for a rewrite. Yes, we can edit an article (drastically if need be) but seldom do we identify the same items of importance that the original author intended. Suffice it to say, we expect authors to meet the identified word count.
 
TIP for reducing words

     First look for nouns with more than one adjective supporting them like this example taken from a recent Flyfisher article which used the words “a very, beautiful free-flowing stream” to describe a moving body of water. If you look at those four adjectives describing the word “stream” you can probably get an idea what could be cut and still maintain the original meaning of the sentence. 

 

Photography is Part of the Equation

     If being an outdoor writer sound interesting to you then this information will be critical to your success. It’s the photography part of the equation. It’s the secret few writers talk about. An editor can “fix up a bunch of words and make an article” but it is impossible to take bad pictures and make them good. In some cases an editor turns to professional photographer to “help improve/substitute” the picture that an author sent to support the article. Here at the Flyfisher we reduce payment to the author when we have to purchase pictures from a professional photographer because the article photos don’t measure up to the demands of a paper publication. It happens often in every magazine on the market. Look at a few of your favorite publications and study the “credit line” with each photograph. If you see a name other than the author next to the photo there is a good chance the editor had to purchase a shot to augment the story line. NOTE: We do not pay for articles about club activities and other organization functions. We only pay for those articles we specifically contract with the author to write about a pre-identified topic.

     What do we need in a photograph? Here at the Flyfisher we are much easier to please than a for-profit publication like American Angler or Fly Tyer magazine may be. Our objective is to bring information to the membership as part of their overall member service. A for-profit magazine's purpose is to bring information to their subscriber base in such a manner as to attract advertising and grow the interest in their publication. Our needs for a photograph are simple. They must be in focus and be high enough in resolution for print media. Almost all pictures we receive do not have a focus problem BUT picture file resolution in almost always a problem. Often an author will send us an article they wrote for a website and include the picture(s) that were published on the Internet site. Quite frankly, a picture from a website is almost always unusable. (EX: a 4-inch x 6-inch picture on a website is usually downsized to about 75KB (kilo bytes) of file resolution while the same picture for print media should be no less than 750KB; we prefer 1MB (million bytes) or more. Why the difference? The resolution of a computer screen is much smaller than the resolution of the mechanical printer that produces a paper magazine. The bottom line is: we need JPG picture files that are NO LESS than 300KB - more is better.

TIP for Photography

     When you set up your new digital camera you have the option to select the resolution (file size).  It is usually identified as "Fine, Medium or Basic." Always select "Fine." You can always make the file smaller later if you need to for publishing on the Internet but it is almost impossible to add to a picture after the shutter button has been depresses. Don't try to get more shots on your camera by selecting a lower resolution setting; instead, buy a higher capacity storage card for your camera. A 16GB card (holds thousands of picture files) costs less than $30.00 at many retailers (price based on 2013 data) and the price goes down every year. Don't miss your chance at getting published because you tried to "skimp" by shooting lower resolution pictures in you digital camera.

     When you set up your new digital camera you have the option to select the resolution (file size).  It is usually identified as "Fine, Medium or Basic." Always select "Fine." You can always make the file smaller later if you need to for publishing on the Internet but it is almost impossible to add to a picture after the shutter button has been depresses. Don't try to get more shots on your camera by selecting a lower resolution setting; instead, buy a higher capacity storage card for your camera. A 16GB card (holds thousands of picture files) costs less than $30.00 at many retailers (price based on 2013 data) and the price goes down every year. Don't miss your chance at getting published because you tried to "skimp" by shooting lower resolution pictures in you digital camera.

     What is a PHOTO CAPTION? Even if you shoot the best picture in the world and the file resolution is perfect we CAN NOT use it in the magazine without permission to do so. Every picture file must identify the photographer and identify any recognizable people in the picture. If any of the people in the picture are children then the need to identify them is even more important and the photographer/author MUST have parental approval to publish the image. When we don't have parental approval and we really need the picture to illustrate an article then we use Photoshop to blur the child's face. Please don't send pictures of children to us if you don't have permission to publish them. 

 

Resources

Writing for the Flyfisher  is really quite easy and we want to work with new authors who are members wanting to break into the publishing business. Please use the hyperlinks to access our Writer’s Guidelines and FFF Style Guide to help you in this process. For example many words in the fly-fishing industry have their own spelling and your computer's spell check may not like them at all. The Style Guide has the correct spelling for the most common fly-fishing words you might use.

Last Tip: You'll find our Style Guide very useful when writing for other publications as well as the Flyfisher.

Download the Style Guide and Writer's Guidelines below:

      Style Guide (PDF)
 
      Writer's Guidelines (PDF)
 

Questions 

Remember to direct your query letter to us BEFORE sending an article. You may direct those queries to the following:

Contract Editors, Gretchen & Al Beatty (albeatty2@aol.com)

Editor in Chief, Bill Toone (btoone@3riversdbs.net)

Keokee Company Publishing, Inc. (flyfishermag@keokee.com).

You may also contact the FFF Office in Livingston, Montana by calling 406-222-9369. 

 
Please note:  Gretchen and Al Beatty are Keokee Company Publishing, Inc. the Flyfisher’s  contract editors and longtime members of the FFF. 

 

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