Friday, June 15, 2007

The End of an Era

Wow, so today is Bob Barker's last day on The Price is Right. So sad, but yeah, looking at him, it does seem like it's time to ride off (in a new car!) into the sunset. The man has been on TV for FIFTY YEARS! Can you imagine?

For any of you who read the book, you know what a big Price is Right fan I am, so I thought it was only fitting that we spend today sharing our favorite Price is Right moments and games.

My fave? Undoubtedly, Plinko. They only rolled it out, like, once a month, but when I was a kid, I waited with breathless anticipation for that wonderful day! And yes, it's true, when I was younger, I thought I would spend my 18th birthday on the show: that's how old you have to be to go on it, so, at 12 or 13 or whenever I was at the height of my PIR obsession, that was the fantasy.

So...what was your favorite game? Did you ever dream of going on the show, like I did?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

But What Happens Next?

For my post today, head over to Writer Unboxed, where I talk about the post-publication letdown, er, experience. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Parenting Essays

How can I find a good place to to send a parenting essay?

Well, this might seem obvious, but the place way to find outlets is to read those outlets. I've said it before here, but editors can get quite peeved when people submit to them and the mag doesn't actually cover said material. So I'd be sure to flip through the mags you plan to submit to before doing so.

That said, Cookie runs a lot of essays, Parenting usually runs (I think) about one per issue, as does American Baby, and Parents runs the occasional one. But there are sooooo many other options out there: your local paper, bigger papers like the Christian Science Monitor, and a ton of websites. Just google "parenting essays" (without the quotes), and you come up with a lot of options.

Good luck! And what say you readers? Do you have favorite outlets for your essays about your adorable tots?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jumping the Gun

Thanks for all the insightful comments on yesterday's the very least, it's a good thing that people like us are concerned about this trend, and will raise our children (and spouses, hee!), differently.

Question of the day: Can I pitch a story without having the story written, or the subject on board? For example, if I would like to write a profile of someone (well-known or not) do I have to get their approval before pitching the article?

Well, this raises two questions. First of all, you should never write the complete article until the editor has given you the green-light. The exceptions are essays and travel pieces. As I've said before on this blog, sending in a complete story before an assignment is a huge newbie mistake and sends red flags to editors right away. (Search the archives of the blog for more info on this.)

But things do get tricky when you're pitching a celeb piece or a profile. It's a bit of a catch-22 situation because if you approach your subject first, then don't get the assignment, you've let that person down...and if you approach your editor first, then can't land the subject, you risk letting your editor down. BUT, if this is a well-known person (a celeb, for example), most editors understand that landing the interview isn't a slam-dunk. I do celeb pieces (have a cover story coming out on the 15th with Jaime Pressly), and when my editor and I chat about who he wants me to cover, it's always with the understanding that the publicist might say "no."

So...if you're uncertain that you can land your interview subject, I'd probably just be up front with the editor and say, "I'd love to cover this story for you, and while I *think* I can land Brad Pitt, I just wanted to see if you'd want to run the story if, indeed, I can land him." This covers all bases: you've pitched the story, but also given yourself an out. In my case, since I have a relationship with my editor, I'd rather give myself that flexibility than waste the time of Brad Pitt and his publicist, who might not take kindly to my wasting their time.

But there really aren't any easy solutions for this type of situation, at least not that I've found. Readers, do you have better suggestions? I'd welcome hearing them.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Just Pick Up a Damn Book Already!

While perusing my usual blog roll (something I'm very behind in these days because I'm so busy), I came upon Eileen Cook's wonderful post which noted the alarming statistics about how few people read books these days. I mean, 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school????? Can these stats be right???

So, in light of her plea on her blog, I'm posting about the alarming dearth of reading going on in our country these days. What do you guys think is causing it? Beyond the obvious problems in our education system - I mean, these stats note that these are LITERATE people who are choosing to ignore books - I'll say that there are a few factors at work.

1) The internet (and I guess video games, though I don't really have any personal experience with them). There are stats out there (which I'm too lazy to google) which show that people now spend hours in front of their computers, even taking away from the time they spend in front of the tv. If the tv usurps time from books, I can't even imagine how much time the internet sucks away. And hey, I'm just as guilty as this as anyone. Last night, I was mindlessly surfing - just to zone out - rather than get into bed and read The Time-Travelers Wife, which I'm working my way through right now. Why? Because reading doesn't allow my brain to turn off...and that's a GOOD thing, but in our society, we like to vegetate, and reading just doesn't allow for it.

2) Reading takes work and cost money. True, to go to the movies these days, it can cost waaaaay more than a book, but people don't seem to see it this way. Shell out $20 for a book that might be difficult to get through or cause you to actually use your brain? No dice.

3) We're a lazy society. (See points above.)

I'm sure that there are a gajillion other reasons that people don't like to read, starting with the fact that parents don't emphasize it to their children, so people don't grow up as readers, which they then don't pass on to their own children, etc, etc, etc. But what say you? Why don't people enjoy reading and what can be done about it?

Well, for an initial solution, head over to the lovely Larramie's blog today and see what some authors (yours truly included) are recommending for summer reading...