How To Get An Article Published In A Magazine

How to get an article published in a magazine: focusing on beginning, non-fiction, free-lance writers.

Here are a few things that I learned from researching in the library and on the Internet that helped get my first article accepted for publication. These tips should increase your odds of being published.

One of the most important things is the idea for the article. Finding a niche that very little has been written about or finding a unique angle to the subject is a good start. The editor will give more consideration to a new topic or angle. If you want to write an article that has been covered in the magazine, make sure it has not been covered in the last three years.

Another thing is to find a market for the article. I had been a subscriber to the magazine for 2 years before I wrote the article. Most editors will tell you to read at least the last 6 issues of their magazine in order to get a "feel" for their style and focus. Be sure to look in the advertising section of the magazine. As you look through the ads, ask yourself the question "What kind of people would want to buy this?". I found this very helpful in determining the type of readers a magazine had.

Write about what you know. For my first article I chose to write about designing welded structures. It has been my job for over ten years. I was able to write most of the article by drawing on my experience as a mechanical engineer. Another benefit to writing about what you know is that you already have credentials. When the editor saw that I was an engineer, I think the fact that I didn't have any clippings was not a problem. Your subject doesn't need to be about your job. It could be about a hobby or personal experience.

Another thing is to present your article in a professional manner. Get a copy of the writers' guidelines. The guidelines will tell you what kind of articles they buy, how long they should be, how much they pay, what format they prefer, and any other particulars that might be important. You can get these by simply writing the magazine and asking for them. Be sure to enclose a SASE for their reply. Do not e-mail the editor unless the guidelines say it is acceptable. Most magazine editors prefer that you "query first". This means that you send the editor a query letter. A query letter is a letter stating your idea for a story and a paragraph about yourself (qualifications, clippings, etc.). The query letter is your sales pitch for your article idea. There are several books on how to write query letters. One of my favorites is Queries and Submissions - Elements of Article Writing Series by Thomas Clark. After you send the query letter, the editor will probably do one of two things. Either you will be rejected or you will get the go ahead. Be sure to double space your manuscript. It is also a good idea to use 12-point type. Resist the temptation to use fancy fonts.

The last thing is to keep trying. If you get a rejection, send a query letter on your idea to another publication the same day. Never give up.

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