ABC’s of Errant Parent

I just realized that errant parent, an online site of parenting hilarity and fun, is celebrating its first year anniversary (Technically, I didn’t “realize” it as much as I was sent an announcement email.). And then I realized (and technically, here, I actually did realize as a thought hit me square in the head) that I had a little something something to say about errant parent. Allow me to enumerate, using that clever A-B-C device:

A. errant parent makes me laugh out loud. And yes, I know that it’s a humor publication, but not all humor makes me laugh out loud. Humor’s funny that way.

B. I suggested a humor-writing friend send her stuff to errant parent and she’s in this anniversary issue.

C. I am not.

D. Assuming a big, giant ball of gas doesn’t fall on the earth at the exact spot where errant parent’s editor resides, you’ll see my contribution later. In August, I think. Now, don’t go worrying. I’ll toot about it (no gas pun intended).

E. If you are a parent (like me), and err on a regular basis (like me) and you can write edgy funny stuff (you thought I was going to say “like me.” But I’m the humble sort. And the rejected sort-I had to work on the edgy.), you should consider submitting to this market.

F. errant parent is a paying market (Whee-whee-wheee!).

G. Support your local humor markets so they can continue to make me say Whee-whee-whee! (Oh, and by local, I mean available throughout the world on the web).

So, I believe that concludes this morning’s schooling on errant parent (except for here). I kinda thought my A-B-C list would make its points using the actual letters of the alphabet, but that seemed like an awful lot of work. And then around letter D., I realized I was not going to get all the way to Z. Or even M. I’m sorry if this has caused you any distress. On the other hand, I did a whole lot of realizing today, and I feel pretty good about that.

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.)

So You Want To Write Humor? (Maybe This Book Will Help)

I don’t know Mike Sacks from Adam. But I got a kick out of his book, And Here’s the Kicker, which is packed full of advice and interviews from well-known humor writers.

Let’s see…I read a little something something from the likes of Dave Barry, and Buck Henry, and David Sedaris, and Allison Silverman, to name just a few. And you can go read a few excerpts for yourself over at the And Here’s the Kicker website. Plus, you’ll find all kinds of much higher-falutin’ folks than me, going on and on about Mike Sacks and his wonderful book.

But you won’t find some of my fave parts from the book at Mr. Sack’s website. Namely, the Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer. So I hope he won’t mind if I share a a few tips with y’all, every so often.

First up, a few words of wisdom from Getting Humor Published in Magazines (Okay, it’s self-serving. But come on, y’all. I’m the one who read (most of) the book.)

* Do not try too hard-or even at all-to be funny in the cover letter. Jokes in the story are fine. Jokes in the pitch are not. (Woopsies)

* Writers sometimes talk about the awards they’ve won. Don’t. (Um, woopsies, again.)

* Don’t use Mr. or Mrs. (last name of the editor here). Weird. Arcane. (Wow. Now I just feel old. And I’m kinda wondering how I ever sold a single humorous thing. I’m also beginning to understand why I haven’t sold all that much.)

Well, there’s lots more where those came from (20, to be exact). And when I find the next page, I’ll share a few from the second half of the list. As long as it’s okay with Mike Sacks. Who I’m sure is a fine fellow who’s won many awards (not that he’d ever mention them) for his fine book, And Here’s the Kicker.