Interview with Beth Dreher, Features Director of Woman’s Day Magazine

 

Beth Dreher, Features Director, Woman’s Day. Photo credit: Mike Garten

 

By Estelle Erasmus

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I was delighted to have Beth Dreher, Features Director, Woman’s Day (print) as a guest on  the podcast, ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well. ASJA Direct is a member’s benefit for ASJA members (found under member benefits on the site) , and is available starting next week for $29.99  for nonmembers on the ASJA Store. You can find my interview with my previous guest, Sari Botton, Essays Editor of Longreads here.

In the podcast Beth spoke to me about:

*Opportunities writing for Woman’s Day magazine (print)
*History of the publication
*What she looks for in article pitches
*Sections ideal for freelancers
*Payment information
*A day in her life as an editor
*The types of personal essays for the magazine that resonate for her
*What makes Woman’s Day stand out from the competition

She also covered a few more questions after the podcast.

Erasmus:  Can you clarify a bit more about the contract/rights for WD articles, that you mentioned you’d follow up on in the podcast?

Dreher: In our traditional writer’s agreement, Hearst owns initial publishing rights and worldwide rights to re-publish.

Erasmus: As another followup, any info you can share on digital, or sending pitches to digital?

Dreher: Writers can pitch online feature ideas to Maria Carter at mcarter@hearst.com. Please read the guidelines for digital writers before pitching.

Erasmus: How did you get your start in publishing?

Dreher: While I was living in Birmingham, Alabama, working on my master’s degree, I realized that Time, Inc. had a division in town called Southern Progress Corporation that published Southern Living, Health, Cooking Light, and also had a books division, Oxmoor House. A friend in one my classes told me about their internship program and I applied. I was an intern at Southern Living during my second year of graduate school and my career continued from there.

Erasmus: Did you have a mentor? If so, who, and how did that help you?

Dreher: I didn’t really have a mentor in the traditional sense, but I worked with several incredible editors who I learned a lot from and still look up to, including Barbara O’Dair (current Editor-in-Chief of Prevention), Liz Vaccariello (EIC of Parents), and Lisa Delaney (SVP/Editorial Director of Parade). I have a lot of respect for the generation of editors that came before me. Even though publishing is increasingly digital, these folks and others hold a vast amount of wisdom about storytelling and the craft of editing.

Erasmus: What was your most challenging role in publishing? What did you do?

Dreher: Every role has its challenges, of course, but I have been lucky to work for and with many talented and team-oriented people. To be honest, my biggest challenges are probably yet to come. The publishing industry is shrinking and editors are being asked to take on more and more responsibility. I welcome the opportunity to grow, though, and I hope I can make a full career out of the work I do.

Erasmus: What book most influenced you and why?

Dreher: Career-wise, I’ve been influenced by the classic works of creative non-fiction like Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. I’m also a big fan of longform by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Kathryn Shulz, and Pamela Colloff. All of these writers draw you in with beautiful writing, then wow you with their reporting chops. That kind of balance is what I strive for in the pieces I produce.

Erasmus: What do you like most about editing? What do you like least about editing?

Dreher: It’s really satisfying to shepherd an idea from conception to print. What I like least is having to condense incredible stories into a small space.

Erasmus: Do you have any guidelines for the print magazine?

Dreher: We don’t have any formal guidelines for print in writing right now. That’s a good project for me to work on, though, so I’ll update you when I have something.

Erasmus: Where do you see the future of publishing going?

Dreher: I think you’ll see more editorial teams combining to produce multiple publications. We’ll have to figure out how to attract more new readers to print, perhaps through new platforms or forms of storytelling.

Thank you, Beth Dreher. Coming up on this site,  a followup interview with Katharine Sands, Literary agent with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in NYC. , The podcast with Beth should be up on the ASJA site shortly. The podcast with Sari Botton, Essays Editor of Longreads is now available for sale on the ASJA Store here.

Please follow me, ASJA, and Woman’s Day on twitter.
Also, BIG NEWS:  I am now teaching a 2 week online course on PITCHING for Writer’s Digest, which I developed based on the successful methods I use with my writing coaching students.  So want to up your pitching game in 2018 and get 10 examples of pitches that sold to outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, the Atlantic’s CityLab, Quartz, Next Avenue/PBS, Family Circle (print) and more?  Its from Feb 15-March 1 and you get bonus audio tutorials as well, in addition to homework assignments that I review. It starts February 15 and ends March 1, and I also taped bonus audio tutorials.   
Estelle
Mom Cave

18 thoughts on “Interview with Beth Dreher, Features Director of Woman’s Day Magazine”

  1. Wow congrats for getting an interview with the director of Womans Day Mag. Great information and behind the scenes on how the mag comes together.

  2. My 79 year old mom still subscribes to Woman’s Day magazine. I just ask for her old magazines, the ones she has read through in the hope that she’d just give them to me. Oh no. Won’t happen. She said she loves each and every publication!

  3. I have always loved the magazine. I think it’s great that you had a chance to interview her. I learned so many things I didn’t know. Also loved understanding more about the publishing world.

  4. What a great interview. I recall first reading Woman’s Day when I would babysit and the kids were asleep. I enjoyed it then and still do to this day.

  5. First off, how awesome it is to interview the editor of Woman’s Day Magazine. That’s such a wonderful experience to have! I love the answers, seems very down to Earth and honest. Appreciate you sharing!

  6. I found the interview engaging. I think it is great how she told you what they look for when accepting publications from others. I also love how she mentioned that she liked the process from the idea to the end result.

  7. How exciting that you were able to interview an editor for Woman’s Day magazine. This has been a magazine my mother has subscribed to ever since I can remember.

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