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Maggie C money

Have you ever wondered who writes the bits and pieces that fill the gaps between longer items in magazines and newspapers? Well, I’m one of those contributors and have been reaping the rewards – whether in the form of cash, vouchers or prizes – for many years.

From professional wordsmiths to people who rarely pick up a pen, anyone can write ‘fillers’, as they’re generally known, and may find them surprisingly lucrative. The plus side of this activity nowadays, when everything can be sent by email, is that it need cost the writer nothing at all.

Drawbacks? Well, I can’t think of any at the moment

Maggie C Money

Incorrect spelling of Saturday 

Snippets of all kinds, appropriately aimed and sent in good time, if seasonal, will find a market.So, what do I mean by a snippet? It should be short, sharp and to the point. Having said that, it might be a money/time saving tip, anecdote, joke, cutting full of ambiguity, weird sign, snatch of overheard conversation, senior moment, example of poor translation, short factual piece, reader’s letter and so on

Maggie C money

Mixed messages

Those of us who weren’t born yesterday have a head full of knowledge and experience to choose from! Submissions accompanied by photographs are popular with editors and you may have years’ worth of family albums. Ours go back to long before I was born and are ideal for ‘nostalgia’ pieces.

The trick is to study the market for opportunities by browsing through anything you can lay your hands on, either at home or when you’re out and about

Even the frustration of a long wait to see a doctor or dentist can be soothed by rummaging through the reading matter provided for patients. If inspiration strikes, the next step is to head for a large retailer’s magazine shelves to check for up to date requirements and contact details. Be aware that titles very similar at first glance may differ considerably in their target readership and tone.

Maggie C money

No caption needed!

Try to tailor your own submissions to suit. (Sorry about the unintentional pun.)

Once you get the bug, you’ll have eyes and ears permanently ‘out on stalks’ to capture useful material. I’ve heard one child asking what has frightened an ‘alarmed window’ and another puzzling over what a bottle of Still Water might turn into. Examples of poor spelling, grammar and syntax are all around us these days and it can even pay to study the small ads. in your local paper, shop windows or on notice boards.

Maggie C Money

Frightened window

You may already have heard the famous one about the ‘small table needed for old lady with twisted legs’, but I’m confident that you’ll find many more!

Don’t be put off if you don’t succeed at first. The more popular magazines receive many submissions and something similar to yours might just have landed. Keep a careful record of where and when you’ve sent each item. If you hear nothing after a few weeks, tweak if necessary and send it on its way again.

Word of warning! Never submit an item to two publications at the same time. The likelihood of both accepting it may be small, but you’d be unwise to risk the wrath of rival editors. They also keep up with the market and your card would be marked!

Below are just some of the many publications I have sent 'snippets' to!

Amateur Gardening

Chat

Daily Mail

Dalesman

DIY

Garden News

Gardener’s World

Inside Soap

Love It

My Weekly

Pick Me Up

Private Eye

Radio Times

Reader’s Digest

Real People

Take a Break

That’s Life

TV Easy

Vegetarian Living

Woman’s Own


Maggie C Money

Encouraged by positive feedback from people who’ve followed the advice given at my workshops, I’ve brought out a little handbook entitled Easy Money For Writers & Wannabes.

It’s available from Amazon as a download or paperback and I’m very happy to donate a signed copy of the latter to OAPSchat for use as a raffle prize.

All photos shown are copyright Maggie Cobbett.

EDITOR: Competition details will be announced on the website soon!

Meet The Author...
Maggie Cobbett
Who Am I?

Maggie grew up in Leeds, crossed the Pennines to study at the University of Manchester and then spent more years than she cares to remember teaching French, German and EFL in the UK and abroad. Now settled with her family and two old and very happy to be ex-feral cats on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Maggie takes inspiration for her writing from her surroundings, travels, family history and her work as a television background artist. She is currently a ‘village regular’ on Emmerdale.

In 2006, Maggie won her way to the Writers’ Summer School in Swanwick, Derbyshire and has attended every year since, generally financing her place by the writing of ‘fillers’ for magazines and newspapers. Since letting this fact slip, she has been invited to run workshops on the subject. Her ‘how to’ handbook Easy Money For Writers & Wannabes came out in 2014 and was an Amazon best seller in its category.

Maggie enjoys writing features and reviews, but fiction is her first love. Until recently, this has mainly meant flash fiction and short stories for magazines. Some of these stories, together with competition winners, also appear in her three published collections, Anyone For Murder?, Had We But World Enough and Swings & Roundabouts. These are available separately or in an omnibus edition.

New for 2015, is Maggie’s first novel, Shadows of the Past, a mystery set over three time periods in a French village. Although inspired by an extraordinary summer she experienced as a teenager in the 1960s, the story has its roots in the darkest days of WW2 and the German occupation of France. All Maggie’s books are available from Amazon as paperbacks or downloads.

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