Monday, April 18, 2011

Boy Mayor gives back once more

I recently put up a post about how much I enjoy writing for magazines--there's a better chance of acceptance, and the process can move a lot faster.  Of course, once you've published the article, it's gone forever.  Right?

Actually, with the right magazine, your work can keep showing up.  Children's magazines often resell articles to educational companies to be used as test passages.  Some magazines, having initially bought all rights to the article, keep the money.  Some magazines, like Highlights, forward payment to the author.  So, apparently, does Boy's Quest.

I first published "The Boy Mayor of Texas" in Boy's Quest in 2005.  (Funny story: since the photo I'd found for the magazine was too expensive, they called me right before publication to warn they'd have to pull the story if I didn't find them the right photo fast.  You ever try finding a free photo of the 12-year-old unofficial mayor of an unofficial Texan town, who has since passed away, and whose parents have moved?  When you have an 11-day-old baby?  Luckily, thanks to a friendly clerk with a phone book at a nearby city hall, I managed to reach the father who kindly forwarded a photo, and have since learned to have my photos on hand when I submit.)  My story was probably read by a few thousand kids, and I thought no more of it.  But since then, the article has been resold four times for test passage use, and the initial payment, which at 5 cents a word seemed laughably low, has quintipled.  I just got another check.

So hooray for magazine writing, and hooray for magazine editors who treat their authors well.  And hooray especially for Brian Zimmerman, the onetime boy mayor of Crabb, Texas, whose story continues to reach children with every test passage sold.  May they all learn, as he did, to reach for their dreams.

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