So You Want to Write Humor? (Part Deux)

I told you I’d find that second page.

Quick and Painless Advice: Getting Humor Published in Magazines
(from the 20 tips in Mike Sacks’ book, And Here’s the Kicker)

19. “Most editors say they want more humor in their magazines, but not many do. What they really want is humor that they find funny and that they would write if they could, which they can’t, or else there would already be humor in their magazines. Consequently, you have to adapt your sense of humor to meet their sensibilities.”

(Brilliant point, Mike! But how, oh how, is the aspiring humor writer supposed to accomplish this brilliant feat? Oh, wait. There’s more to this tip.)

“It’s very difficult.” (Point well taken, Mike.) “So if and when you find an editor who shares your sensibility, marry, adopt, imprison, or do whatever it takes to maintain that relationship. The other approach is to skip the pitch and just write it. You don’t want to waste a lot of time waiting for an editor to evaluate the pitch. Just write it-either the editor will laugh or not.”

So, grasshopper, (I’m segueing into What Not To Do Wednesday now), don’t run around like a humor writer with his head chopped off, sending out subs with no rhyme or reason. If a market’s accepted your work, or encouraged you in any way, send another piece soon thereafter. Chances are very good that you’ll be accepted. It’s worked for me.

Conversely, if you’ve sent five humorous submissions to the same market, without a single bite, you may want to hold off on submission number 6. Also um, worked for me. (It’s not exactly painless or quick, but it is solid advice when it comes to getting your humor published in magazines.)

7 thoughts on “So You Want to Write Humor? (Part Deux)

  1. Thanks for the advice, Cathy. Humor is so hard to write; I'm still sketching ideas for our greeting card wager. The fear of rejection–or lact of focus or my lack to write funny lines–is keeping me from sending them off.Donna

  2. Writing greeting cards is HARD! I'm used to writing a buildup to the humor-but with a card, you've got to lay out a line and be funny, wham!(I haven't sent out mine, either 🙂

  3. Cathy, Thanks for posting these valuable tips. I thought getting right to the story part was my own little secret. I seldom write a query, just an introductory/summary line or two. I enjoy your website.

  4. Hey Cathy C. and Lisa!! I am SO envious and sad that I can't be there to join in on your writer-friend lunch this week! I just know we'd have a blast together! Next time I make a trip down Atlanta way, I'll be sure and let y'all know!

  5. Just shows you're already a savvy pro, Linda! Thanks for the kind words.Lisa, that was fast! (You're gonna love it!)And I always LOVE going out to eat! Oh, and that meeting with friends thing is fun, too. :-)Becky, we'd LOVE to take you to lunch. Just let us know when you make it down South ('Course, you realize you won't want to go home.)

  6. I can't tell you how many times I've read something in a local paper of mine and muttered to myself "They think this is funny?" It is a shame to me that some people get paid to make people laugh, and they never manage to do it.

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