When the slick full-color magazines arrive in your home, many writers would like to write for those magazines and get published. But then a number of objections are raised in their minds like “it’s really hard to get into this publication.” Or “the editor probably already has their stable of regular contributors.”
From my many years as a magazine editor and writing for different publications, I know these objections are not true. In this article, I want to help you understand the needs of the magazine editor and how to write what they need for their publication.
- Editors Need Writers. Every magazine editor starts their issue with a blank slate then they fill that issue with quality writing targeted to their particular audience. While you should be encouraged that editors need you, they are also looking for a particular type of writer—someone who understands their audience and can produce excellent writing.
- Excellent Writing Is Required. What qualifies as excellent writing? Admittedly this qualification is subjective but excellent writing has patterns and standards that every writer can learn and apply to their own writing. For example, tvery story needs an interesting headline, an intriguing first sentence and first paragraph to draw the reader into the writing. Also the story must have a solid and logical flow or a beginning, middle and ending. The story must also have a single point for the reader which in the magazine world is called a takeaway. If your article doesn’t have this takeaway, show it to someone else and ask them if they got the point of the article. If they did not get it, then you need to rewrite your article until it is there.
- Study the publication and their guidelines. It seems simple and obvious that writers need to read the publication before submission. Too often writers will fire off their submission without covering this basic territory—and it is critical. As you read the publication in print or online, think about who is their audience and readers? What is the style of the various articles, length and shape of them? Is your submission similar? It should be. Then locate their submission guidelines and read this information. These guidelines tell you what the editor needs. Are you meeting one of their explicit needs in your submission? If so, you are increasing the possibility of getting published in this magazine.
To get your writing into a magazine, takes planning, thought and finally action. It doesn’t happen just “thinking about submitting your article.” You must take action—even if you get rejected. You need to keep trying to find the right place for your material to be published. Whether you are beginning or continuing to be published in magazines, write your article, then send it into the world. It’s the only way it happens.
Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor, Whalin has written for more than 50 publications including Christianity Today and Writer’s Digest. Terry is the author of How to Succeed As An Article Writer which you can get at: http://writeamagazinearticle.com/. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. His latest book is Billy Graham, A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist and the book website is at: http://BillyGrahamBio.com Watch the short book trailer for Billy Graham at: http://bit.ly/BillyGrahamBT His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/terrywhalin