Editor’s Log: Anglers Into Authors - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Anglers Into Authors

If you had met me at age 12 and asked me what I “wanted to do when I grew up” I would have answered with this exact phrase, “I want to be a sportswriter that writes about fishing.” And I have to believe that I’m not the only person out there who grew up with their eye on the exact same prize. If you could travel back through the history of my life you’d find it everywhere; from the short story I wrote in fourth grade with my first ‘fishing partner’ Jeremy entitled The Terrible Tackle Takers, to a compare and contrast essay I wrote for a college English course called, The Surfcaster and the Boatman. Fishing was like the fudge ripple in the ice cream of my adolescence—and obviously that has continued into my adult years. I was far from an A student, but my ability to write always seemed to get me through.

As my writing career has grown, my feelings about exactly what my job description is have morphed and evolved over time. One of the hats I wear the most as a managing editor is, talent scout. It’s also one of my favorite parts of the job. It has gotten to the point that I start sizing people up as potential authors any time I find myself in a situation where fishermen are telling stories or explaining technique. I am proud to say that more than a handful of the Northeast fishing writers that have become well-known in our angling community, got their start with me. Don’t mistake that as my taking credit for their success, these people had all the talent and knowledge, I just helped them learn how to express it through a clear voice that was true to their personality. I can’t even begin to express how gratifying that is.

If you have been reading along here in The Fisherman since I retook the reins in May of 2021, then you have seen a steady stream of new bylines in the magazine. Finding and cultivating these voices comes with a lot of effort as I sift through various channels to find them. But the true reward comes in getting to know these people and many of them have become true friends. There’s a special level of trust that has to exist between writer and editor, because once they hand their words over to me, it’s my job to streamline the story without sacrificing their voice or muddying their message: in a way I become the temporary keeper of their reputation. Learning their voices through conversations, emails and text messages, allows me to get to know them as people, which allows me to edit within the nuances of each unique voice. (Or at least that’s what I strive for).

So this month, I’m turning the beam of light toward all of you. There isn’t a day that passes where I’m not thinking about finding a new writer and I’m hoping that this Editor’s Log will reach a few budding authors who would like to have a go at sharing their passion for fishing.

There are many ways to get your work published in our magazine. The easiest would be writing one of digital columns that come out each week in our digital supplement editions. These fall into several categories: surf, inshore, offshore, recipe, tackle tip, fly and species profile, they run 650 to 800 words with one photo. Then we have feature articles which run in the print magazine, these run 1,000 to 2,000 words with three to five photos and can cover just about any fishing topic you can think of. Then we have the Tale End which is specifically an experience-based story about fishing, it could be a landmark catch, it could be something scary or amazing that happened or it could be a memory of a special trip; these run 700 to 800 words with one photo. All of these come with a paycheck, plus it’s really cool seeing your work in print—even after all these years, I still get a kick out of it.

Please feel free to reach out with story ideas any time at danderson@thefisherman.com.

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