Today, we have a very special guest. If you have been following the New York Times‘ Weddings section, you definitely came across the name and unique writing style of contributor Alix Strauss, whose recent articles include: When Mom is Part of the Bachelorette Party Debauchery and hilariously cringe-worthy Introducing The Brotox Groom.
Name: Alix Strauss
Title: Contributing writer
Find her on: www.alixstrauss.com and Twitter
About Alix: A media savvy social satirist, Alix has been a featured lifestyle, travel and trend writer on national morning and talk shows including ABC, CBS, CNN, and most recently, The Today Show. Her articles, which have appeared in the New York Times, The Financial Times, Crain’s New York, Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, T&L, Conde Nast Traveler, and Departures (among others), cover a range of topics from trends in beauty, travel, and food to celebrity interviews. She is an award winning, four-time published author whose books include: The Joy of Funerals (St. Martin’s Press), Based Upon Availability (Harper Collins), and Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious (Harper Collins). She is also the editor of Have I Got a Guy for You (Adams Media), an anthology of mother coordinated dating horror stories.
Alix, tell us about what type of stories you usually work on.
I generally cover pop culture, trends and lifestyle, which would include weddings, food, travel, products, and celebrities. I also love writing first person pieces and the personal essay.
You write about wedding trends for The New York Times. How is writing about the wedding industry different from other topics you cover?
Weddings are generally the one rare topics that people love to talk about, and love to tell you everything that happened during the event and leading up to it. You could be snorting coke off the table with the Elvis impersonator who married you, generally something people aren’t comfortable sharing, but if it happened at a wedding, or is part of the engagement story, they can’t wait to tell you about it. And I adore that. I’m fascinated at how willing people are to share every aspect from the first glance, to the falling in love, to the trends and social happenings that revolve around weddings and the rituals / traditions that surround them. And I love taking a closer look at the changes that are happening within the industry.
What has been your favorite story to work on?
Having written over 2000 different articles, this is a hard question to answer as each article is different and if you do a good job each offers a voice, rhythm, slant and tells a story, sometimes differently from the one you expected. Certainly one of my favorites was a personal essay I wrote for the Lives section of the New York Times back in 1999 called The Joy of Funerals. It was my first contribution to the paper and both the essay and the placement were extremely significant to me. It also helped pave the way to getting my first novel, which had the same title, published in 2003.
How do you usually find sources for your stories?
Part of it is being able to look at an idea from a different perspective. Some ideas come from other stories. Some come from being a good detective and observer. But in terms of inception or conception, a lot of information comes from research, talking to people, reaching out to industry professionals and publicists to find out what some of their clients are requesting. Professors and sociologists also lend a voice in this arena as do real people. I love studying human behavior and the trends within the industry.
What’s the best way to get your attention?
I’m very open to hearing story ideas, so people should feel free to reach out to me via email with their pitches or suggestions.
What one piece of advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get publicity?
Really make sure what you’re pitching is a trend if you say it is. I get tons of pitches from industry folks who say that something is a trend, when in actuality, it’s not. I often receive ideas where people insist this is a real thing and upon deeper investigation, it turns out that it’s something they’ve created or named themselves as opposed to something that truly exists. We love statistics, figures and numbers… anything that can help back up a trend or story idea. So please include those if possible. That helps a lot.
Thanks for sharing, Alix. I look forward to reading your future stories!