Magazine editors are experts in their publication. I know this fact because I’ve been a magazine editor a couple of different times. When I was Associate Editor at Decision magazine, we were publishing 1.8 million copies of each issue. An editorial assistant read through the submissions whether they came electronically or hard copy in the mail. From reading a few paragraphs, she could tell if the writer was familiar with our publication and had sent something to be seriously considered.
Firsthand I’ve seen this stream of submissions and you would be surprised at how many of them are inappropriate and not what the magazine guidelines are telling writers the magazine needs. These tips may seem obvious but you’d be shocked at how often they are ignored and cause rejection. Your submission can gain a careful reading if:
- You follow the submission guidelines and send material which the publication needs.
- Your article is well-written and targeted for this particular publication. While recognizing good writing is subjective, excellent storytelling will always stand out to an editor.
- Your submission offers something “extra.”
In this article, I want to focus on the extras. As long as you have targeted the publication and delivered excellent writing, a key way to catch the editor’s attention is to offer something beyond the article. If you offer the editor something extra, you are not only meeting expectations—but exceeding them and standing out in a different way.
Examples of Extras include:
–photographs which you have taken and relate to your article
–a sidebar article related to your article with a slightly different focus
–an illustration or some other graphic which you have created and connected to your article
If you include just one of these extras, then you are showing the editor that you are willing to go above and beyond the typical writers. Editors are looking for writers who understand their readers and can write for their publication on a regular basis. Within the magazine industry, these regular writers are called the magazine’s stable.
As a writer, you don’t want to get published just once but you want to join these regular writers for the publication. A regular writer is often paid on acceptance (even if the publication pays on publication) and at a higher rate and often faster than other writers. If you become a part of a magazine’s stable of writers, then when the editor has an article for assignment, you will be one of those people who get the call or email. Also editors have ideas for regular columns in their publication and again, they turn to their consistent writers to ask them to possibly write this material.
Writers who consistently deliver what the editor asks and then include extras are rare and standout for additional work. If you put some extra thought into your submissions, you can become one of these writers with extras.
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