December Sell-a-bration #11: It’s Been A Good Year

By Tiffani Hill-Patterson

Before taking inventory of my writing success in 2008, it didn’t seem like much. However, looking back, I realize that each small step pushed me a little closer to my goal of national publication.

First, I became a regular contributor to Birmingham Parent magazine with articles in nine of 12 issues. Because my editor likes my work, she passed along my name to another regional editor and I scored a reprint client.

Then, I took Christina’s class on targeting markets, which helped me zone in on my specialties. I also wrote for The Writer Mama e-zine for the first half of 2008 and learned so much about how other writers market their work. Also, through Christina and Jennifer Applin, another Writer Mama contributor, I learned about Brette Sember’s Regional Parenting Publication list.

Through these connections, I’ve published and been paid for 17 reprints, and I am awaiting checks for four more. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to a nice chunk and in today’s economy every bit helps.

Also, I’m a full-time copy editor at my local newspaper and an occasional columnist. My piece on my daughter’s hearing loss and cochlear implants was picked up by a couple of local magazines, giving my writing even more exposure. I also write for the newspaper’s parenting magazine, earning comp time for each story, which means more time for writing.

Next, I updated my professional Web site and started a blog about one of my specialties – hearing loss and cochlear implants. It’s about my family’s experiences, from surgery to therapy to everyday life with a 7-year-old who is deaf and hears with CIs.

In addition to print work, I’m getting paid to blog about health, fitness and beauty for It’s not a lot of money, but it’s fun, interesting and easy, and I’m learning a lot about promoting my work.

Finally, my biggest assignment yet came near the end of November. A $1-per-word job writing about sports for a national special-interest publication was listed at After I e-mailed my cover letter and clips, I put it out of my mind.

About a month later, I got an e-mail saying, “After looking through your resume and samples, we think you may be a good fit …” One day and a conference call later, I got the assignment, due in less than two weeks.

I’m proud to say I turned it in a day before the deadline, and I am now awaiting approval and payment. If this one works out, I could gain a regular client and a great clip, a great national clip.

When I look back at my accomplishments laid out like this, I realize I did more than I thought to advance my writing career … one step at a time.

Tiffani Hill-Patterson writes about parenting, health and fitness. She also blogs about her family’s experience with deafness and cochlear implants at Contact her at or


7 Responses to “December Sell-a-bration #11: It’s Been A Good Year”

  1. 1 anniegirl1138 December 11, 2008 at 8:41 am

    That’s a lot! Curious to know how you approached your local paper about the column or did you edit first?

  2. 2 Jenni December 11, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Congratulations on a great year and thanks for sharing with us. Sounds like a lot to this new writer mama 🙂 Good luck on the rest of the process with the national clip. That’s fantastic.

  3. 3 writerinspired December 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Tiffani, Your year was HUGE! Such impressive accomplishments! I’m also curious how you broke into your regional parenting magazine to gain all of those clips.

  4. 4 Sarah December 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing – your story is very inspiring! Congratulations on your success! For someone like myself who is just chugging along and trying to get some good clips, this is very good news! Hopefully, I can follow along in some of your footsteps. 🙂

  5. 5 Tiffani December 11, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks, y’all! Good luck with your writing!

    Anniegirl, I was a copy editor first. I just pitched a couple of columns and the feature editor OK’d them. When I heard the paper was buying a parenting magazine, I went to our publisher and asked to write for it. He agreed.

    Writerinspired, I just pitched the magazine, the editor said yes and after I completed that assigment, I pitched a couple more stories. After that, she started coming to me with ideas.

    Hey, why don’t I do a blog post about it? 😉 I’ll try to get something together this weekend.

  6. 6 Renee December 11, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Wow, you’ve been a busy chica! Thanks for sharing your story with everyone. Now I need to work on mine, although it won’t sound near as busy as yours:) BTW, I’m now one of the editors at Charlotte Parent, and I loved your piece on food allergies we ran in August or September. I’m fighting to get more special needs topics covered as the parent of a boy with a peanut allergy and a speech delay. Send us your reprints anytime!

  7. 7 Tiffani December 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Renee, thanks and congrats on Charlotte Parent! I bet you’ve been even more busy than I have been. Regarding special needs, it sounds like we have more in common than just being writers.

    Also, keep an eye on your inbox. 😉

    Happy Holidays!

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