Breaking into the Published Magazine World

Rolled MagazineBreaking into the published magazine world can sometimes be easier than breaking into the book publishing world and as a result many writers try this route first.  It is not always the easiest road to take but it can be.  Published articles can also enhance a writer’s resume and allows editors the ability to review previous work by an author. In addition to enhancing a writer’s resume it also provides credibility to their writing skill.  Many writers do not want to be novelists and prefer to stay within the article-writing market.  What matters most is that a writer stay committed and be diligent in pursuing their genre and market of choice.

This section has been developed to provide guidelines on how to best get articles published by industrial magazines, newspapers, fraternal magazines, religious magazines, house-organ (employee or corporate product) magazines or national level magazines.  The markets can be local or non-local.  Although getting your article published by one of the available magazines may appear to be a daunting task, if one follows some established industry guidelines and puts a little elbow grease to gathering great ideas for writing it can be readily done.  It’s probably easier to get into the more local markets but don’t rule out the mainstream magazine publications.  It’s about taking a methodical approach and moving forward.

Not being aware of the process or where to begin to get your article in print, along with procrastination, are probably the two biggest barriers for a writer. Many times because it’s a little difficult, procrastination becomes our next best friend.  The third barrier to seeing your article in print is “life” in general.  There are just too many daily distractions such as TV, friends, events, relatives and neighbors, etc.  There is even such a thing as too much reading and research.  If you add household chores and daily errands the list becomes exhaustive.  All of these distractions can create barriers to writing so it’s important to prioritize the list and then write down your goals and milestones.

It’s really as simple as choosing a topic, doing the necessary research, submitting a query letter to an editor, writing the article, submitting the article to the editor and then getting your money.

Pile of magazinesNo one said that writing articles for magazines was going to be easy but if a writer is willing to put forth the work, then positive results can happen.  Do not lose sight of the goal.  It will take time to develop the appropriate skills and to find the right niche.  Look at writing articles for publication as a project and not necessarily as a chore – and yes, expect a lot of rewriting and rejections along the way.

Every market has competition and this one is no exception.  The competition can come from various directions; from writers that are well known and already published, from freelance writers who get an occasional article published and also from those writers who get rejected and will never be known.  Being aware of the competition is the first step but shouldn’t be the focus or a deterrent.  The focus should be on the current project and getting it to the right editor for publication.

Articles get rejected for many reasons.  An editor may be having a terrible day, may already have received an article for a particular topic or the editor could have already assigned it to someone else.  Sometimes it happens that an article is initially rejected only to have the editor accept it for publication several months down the road.  Don’t get disheartened.

It’s important to not just focus on the everyday magazines in newsstands but to also look at all the other markets that could potentially publish your written work.  Trade magazines will sometimes give more readily acceptance to submitted articles than a national magazine.  In addition, many trade magazines are listed in the Writers Market so you may want to start there.  Another excellent way to obtain names for not-so-well known magazines is to ask people that work in a particular trade for names of magazines that they read.  Another great way to break into print is to get experience writing for newspapers, school papers, more local publications or even websites and blogs.

As you begin your career in writing, it’s important to have a good filing system to track and retrieve any articles that you’ve written and also for query letters that have been sent out.  You should be able to pull up this information at a moment’s notice in case an editor may call.  In addition, you want to keep track of the query letters that have been sent out for follow through.  Being ready and organized when an editor calls may make the difference to getting accepted or not accepted.

The best thing about writing for a magazine publication is that you don’t need a literary agent to get published.  The second best thing is that an article is usually only written after you have sent a query letter to an editor and they have accepted your proposal.  Just make sure that you can produce this article in the time line that the editor has given.  A book, on the other hand, should be finished before your solicitation process begins.

Writing for magazines is not that complicated – it just takes persistence.  It is setting goals and following through with a schedule and milestones.  With today’s technology, there are many places where an author can submit their written material; websites, blogs, letters to the editor, advertisements and so on.  Take advantage of all those mediums.

The trick is to not get discouraged.  It’s just finding that right article, with the right slant, the right editor and the right magazine.  Expect the long grueling hours of writing into the wee hours of the night, much research, lots of editing and probably many rejection letters but it is all part of the writing game.  Remember to keep things in perspective and to constantly remind yourself why you got into the business in the first place – it was for the love of writing! Don’t give up your dream of living in a far off villa in Italy or a small quaint village in the South of France but rather envision it daily.  Everything is attainable with hard work and perseverance.

Becoming a published author is all about being realistic with your writing time to meet the deadlines.  In the end it’s all about making your mark in the writing world with your creative unique message.  Tap into that ingenuity and as you begin writing and getting articles published, the satisfaction will come from the positive feedback you’ll get once people read your articles.

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