My Story for Redbook

I once had an obsession with REDBOOK. I was a subscriber for years and kept every issue. When we moved we paid to have the mover move a box of Redbooks five ft tall.I was sure that if I kept reading the wonderful Redbook stories I'd learn to write one.
In a Humanities class I was taking at the time our final assignment was to either paint a picture, compose a piece of music - hello - I didn't know one note from another - or aha! write a short story. Well I could do that and here was my chance to write my Redbook story.
I labored over the story honing and honing to make it a short short. It was brilliant.
I got an A. So I hurled it off to Redbook AND OMG they didn't recognize that it was written for them and they sent it back the very next day with nary a sign it had been opened. No handwritten note - no editorial coffee stain. I shrunk up to the size of a walnut - not really but I like that vision of myself - and put it away in my stuffed-with-stories desk drawer.
Next day I saw an ad in The Writer Magazine. CAT FANCY magazine was seeking short stories that featured a cat. Well, my story had a cat in it. I don't know why - I'm not a cat person - but my character Eve LOVED cats. Go figure. I jetted that story off to Cat Fancy posthaste.
WaaLaa. Sold!
So the moral of the story is - if your story does not fit the market you're aiming for - it may fit another.
Writing is as much about marketing as it is about writing - if you want to publish.
The short story form is one of my favorite forms of writing. If you love them too and want to write one, get busy. If I can so can you.


  1. How cool! You learned more quickly than I did. When I first started submitting stories for publication several years ago, I planned on being published in Young Rider magazine. I was certain I had the perfect horse story in me and that it wouldn't take me any time at all to find success.

    Six awful stories (and only two short weeks) later, the editor was still sending me polite and extremely patient but firm rejections, and I finally stopped pestering the living daylights out of the woman. Only then did I turn my attention to writing novels, which has paid off.

    So kudos to you on finding an appropriate market rather than -- well, I'd say "beating a dead horse," but as I like to write horse stories, I don't particularly care for the expression!

  2. Sarah,
    I'll say it again, I'm happy I finally found you.
    Believe me I worked on that story, it had a dozen revisions. I look at it now and I think it's a hoot - far from the kind of story I currentlyl write- more down home stuff. But still a published credit! Would you believe a few months later they started BIRD FANCY - I got a letter from the editor asking me if my "cat expertise" carried over to bird expertise and would I like to submit a bird story. I declined. I knew less about birds than I did cats! I love this writing life! Never dull.

  3. Oh, Barb, what a delightful post! It says it all, the struggle, the rejection and then WHAM! Success! This teaches us that we have persevere in our work as writers. Again, what a lovely post, Barb! I love you, friend!

  4. I wrote stories for Redbook, too. And they came back promptly. I didn't actually like Redbook. (More of a Mother Earth News type). Redbook was pretty much all I could find at the time. It was readily available at Foodland and the Mount Nebo General Store. I'd read the library and so, this ... "sort of" ... literary magazine was the only game going. And I could stick it right in the cart with the groceries without feeling guilty about spending money on myself. I still vividly recall the stories that were returned. One later found its place in The Bohemian Bridge.

  5. Granny Kate, I tried to find your email address to write to you personally but couldn't find it.
    I remember those days of stashing REDBOOK in my own cart - but I loved the magazine for the short stories. They fed my desire to read and write shorts. What I wrote never fit what they were looking for. I loved the stories they did that featured old people but there were only a few. Keep writin."


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