Authors In The Media With Allison Winn Scotch

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Authors In The Media With Allison Winn Scotch 

In October of 2022 I did a Q&A with New York Times Bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch. In the past Allison was a magazine contributor. In this edition of Authors In The Media we will discuss her time as a magazine contributor. 

Q: Allison, what made you pursue a career in being a magazine contributor? Correct me if I’m wrong, but a magazine contributor submits pieces for the magazine. Which magazines did you write for?

A: I was always a strong writer in school but that didn’t feel like a career that I could pursue after college. I was doing a lot of online copywriting and ended up ghostwriting a book for a prominent wedding site. That led to a feature in Bride’s, and once I realized how well freelance writing suited my personality – the research, the hustle, the time-management, I started pitching more widely and was lucky to have a lot of success. Most of the magazines I wrote for are now exclusively online, but I wrote for all the ones you would have picked up in their prime: Glamour, Self, Shape, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Fitness, Cooking Light, etc. 

Q: I remember in our Q&A in October of 2022, that you mentioned that your favorite part of magazine gigs were the celebrity interviews. Which celebrities did you interview or arrange for interviews for?

A: Yes, once I slowed down all of my service pieces for the above magazines, I was lucky enough to transition mostly exclusively to celebrity profiles. I had a pretty regular gig at American Way, which was American Airlines in-flight magazine, and I also did freelance work for the other magazines I had contacts at, everything from Self to Fit Pregnancy. 

Q: What were the steps you took to become a magazine contributor that might help other people who want to pursue that career? Did you have to go to college for several years? 

A: The magazine and writing world have changed SO much since I broke in that I’m hesitant to give advice on how to do it now. I did go to college, and I wrote a 100 pages thesis for my honors program, which was undoubtedly helpful for honing my writing skills. I also had an editorial column in the campus newspaper. Both things just helped me sharpen my craft. I’m not sure that I have specific tips on breaking into this world anymore because it is so wildly different than when I started, but hustle, tenacity and really good writing are always key.

Q: You eventually transitioned from being a magazine contributor to being a full-time author. Would you ever go back to being a magazine contributor? Why or why not? 

A: For many years, I never would have. When my children were little, the constant deadlines were just too hectic. Editorial turnaround can be quite fast, and there was a point in my career when I was filing five or six pieces a week. It just became too much with toddlers. I remember fielding a phone call about an assignment from the hospital room after I’d given birth to my son! Now, however, they are older and autonomous, and I would return to that world. In fact, I’m someone who gets antsy if I do the same thing for too long, so I think it would be a nice break from my longer book deadlines, and I’d welcome the opportunity. But as noted above, the industry has changed a lot since my time there, and it’s not something I could just snap my fingers and go back to!

Q: Would you say that your time as a magazine contributor helped with you writing fiction? 

A: Absolutely. First and foremost, you must have incredible discipline to write a full novel, and I honed that discipline in magazines, where I couldn’t miss deadlines, had to hustle for new work and had to find a way to make my editors happy, even if I’d have preferred to just let some things slide. Additionally, I think I really learned how to collaborate and take editorial notes. Writing a book is a very solitary endeavor but the next steps with your editor are a team effort, and the book can be detrimentally affected if you recoil at constructive criticism or aren’t willing to revise multiple times. Because I came up in magazines, that’s never been an issue for me, and in fact, the editorial process is my favorite part of book publishing.