Laurie’s Lessons

Welcome, writers! 

Links on this page lead to articles by author/writing instructor Laurie Winslow Sargent  on how to sell your nonfiction writing, with occasional tips on marketing both fiction and nonfiction to publishers and magazines.

NOTE: If you are a beginning writer, it helps to read these posts sequentially. Articles parallel the order in which Sargent teaches information in her Sell Your Nonfiction workshops/writing classes. If you understand how the industry works before sending manuscripts or queries to editors, this will increase your odds of success!

New articles are added about once a month. Click Email Subscription (right navigation bar) if you’d enjoy keeping up with these posts.

OVERVIEW: Overview: Magazine Writing Basics with a list of upcoming topics.

1. HOW THE INDUSTRY WORKS: LESSON 1: “Can you help me understand how the industry works, in a nutshell?”

2. PAYMENT FOR WRITERS: LESSON 2: “How do magazines pay writers for articles and stories?”

3. FINDING/CONTACTING EDITORS: LESSON 3: “How do I find market directories that list magazine titles, editor contact information and editorial needs?”

4. UNDERSTANDING MARKET GUIDE TERMINOLOGY: LESSON 4: “Kill fee and SASE: What do writing market guide terms mean for ME?”

5. WHAT EDITORS WANT AND NEED: LESSON 5: “How do I find online writer’s guidelines, to tell me what magazine editors want and need?”

6. GRAMMAR MISTAKES IN QUERIES: LESSON 6: “What’s the fastest way to get an editor to reject my query?”

7.  SELLING PERSONAL EXPERIENCE STORIES: LESSON 7: ““Is my personal experience story publishable?”

8. MEETING EDITORS (PART 1): LESSON 8: “Can writers meet magazine editors in person? Does it help?” Part 1

9, MEETING EDITORS (PART 2): LESSON 9: “How can writers meet editors in person?” Part II: Conference Connections

NEW TWITTER PAGE FOR WRITERS: Article: New Twitter Page for Christian Writers @Tips4C_Writers (Who I Follow, Who I Don’t, and Why)

If you are a writing parent, educator, or child advocate you might also enjoy Laurie’s other blog:  You Can Too, Mom!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Very good blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!


    • Writer’s Digest has some good forums, and there are some Yahoo writing groups you can explore! Yahoo groups send group emails (you choose how often to get them or can view them online) which everyone in the group can contribute to.

      For example, The Writers View has one group for beginners and one for advanced Christian writers, and every few days a new topic for discussion is posted.

      I also recommend exploring whether or not there is a critique group in your area you can join, to get specific feedback on your writing. If not, find one other serious writer and just critique each other! And don’t forget your local library for books with writing tips. Writer’s Digest Books publishes many fabulous books for writers that you can find in the library or purchase for your own writing library.


  2. Hi Laurie,
    My daughter, Sarah Cherry, and I enjoyed speaking to you at the AWSA Conference in Atlanta. (We sat right behind you that Saturday.) I have a question I hope that you can answer: Do you know how to convert word documents to an e-book? Thanks so much for any help you can give me!
    God bless, Julie Morris


    • I remember you two! How nice to hear from you.

      The answer is a long one…I will try to post info about this (or links to other resources) soon. One short answer is that for PDF it’s a cinch to simply save Word straight to PDF. Many writers sell books this way through online stores, or as simple downloads from their own site. Nonfiction books and reports work well in PDF, but fiction is a pain in the neck to read in that format, because you have to re-find your place again every time you open the file.

      To convert to Kindle, you can go to the Amazon site and download a bit of conversion software. But I’m still struggling a bit with getting spacing right in my nonfiction Kindle book. Kindle wants to crunch out blank lines, which makes subtopic headings look really weird as they are then smashed down into the text. (Anyone out there know how to solve this problem?)

      It’s good to know that folks can read Kindle e-books on PC’s too. I use my Acer Aspire One mini to read Kindle books by specifying Kindle for PC when I purchase a book. My Acer fits in my purse, so functions as both e-reader and computer for me. It’s good to research how your particular audience typically wants to read material: in print, on computer, or on readers.


I welcome your comments! Let's learn from each other:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: