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If you arrived at this page through the family sailing website you may not realize that the wife/mother/sailor you've seen on those pages is actually known by another name and title:
Sue Muller Hacking
My scattered career began in the early 1980's and included time for my marriage and time to travel, sail, and raise our two children. To date my publications include over 180 magazine and newspaper articles, about 8 short stories, numerous photo credits (along with my husband, Jon), and 4 books, including one that's now in its third edition/revision.
How I Got Started
When I returned to the States from a two-month trip to West Africa in 1972 I had the urge to write, and to publish my photographs. Taking courses in photography, marketing and writing, I tried to fill the gaps in my learning. (My Master's level work in psychology was not a lot of help....) It was hard to ignore the suicidal desire to submit work to the "big" magazines but everyone said that the way to break into the publishing world was through the smaller markets. So I put aside National Geographic and picked up some lesser-known travel magazines.
Take A Walk, 3rd edition
Mt. Everest and Beyond
My first real published book
It was fun to read ten or twelve issues of each of those magazines, dissecting articles for tone, style, length, and focus. I noted who the advertisers were, and how many articles were written by staff members. I requested writer's and photographer's guidelines from about fifty publications that interested me and poured over them, dreaming of the day my name would appear in print.
Simultaneously I worked on improving my photography. It was gratifying to learn that photographers who could also write tended to get published more often. Color slides had long been the medium of choice, which was great since that's all I ever shot.
After a few rejections (and yes, they hurt), I concentrated on more immediate matters like getting married and going traveling with Jon. It was several years into our cruising life aboard our first boat, Oriental Lady, that we got the exiting news: my first published piece was to appear in Cruising World. Shortly after that Jon and I learned that one of our shots from Africa -- a wide-angle of zebras and wildebeest -- had been accepted by the Sierra Club Calendar. Very prestigious. And the pay was good, too. A few more writing and photo credits had me feeling like maybe I knew what was going on. Ha! A writer, or photographer, never gets to rest at the keyboard or take her hand off the shutter button. To be a writer, you have to write. To be a photographer, you have to continue shooting photos. To be published -- again -- you have to submit, submit, submit. It's an active, never-ceasing profession. And one in which you must have a pretty tough skin. Rejections are a matter of course. It's the people who give up that don't succeed.
When Jon and I settled back on land in the late 1980's, I turned my little mini-career in two directions: journalism and photography for a senior's newspaper, and writing and photo-illustrating for children. As a contributing editor of Northwest Prime Time Journal for nine years, I turned out over 150 articles and many dozens of photographs. Newspaper writing honed my ability to ask, "What is the story here?" and to present that story in a succinct, interesting way. I also learned a lot about deadlines, and was chagrined to learn that I work best under pressure. Yeah, I'm a procrastinator. Not good for a pro, but I'm working on it.
The bright cover of Batter Up!
Published by Bebop Books, Lee & Low
In 1990 I became active in the Seattle chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, serving on the board for two years, and as chair for a year. It was at an SCBWI Spring Conference that I met Clare Meeker and Kathy Adler, along with several other writers who aspired to publish books for children. The following year Donna Bergman joined our group, which was meeting weekly almost year-round. We are proud to say our critique group has stayed alive through rejections, divorces, births of new children, celebrations of publishing success, and the strong bonds of friendship. When we first met in 1989, the core group had no book publishing credits. By 2010 we had celebrated 18 published books.
My books include two works for children:
and two guide books to the US Pacific Northwest for the general population:
For a complete list of publishing credits including books, magazines, and photo-illustration, see Sue's Bio.
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