Thursday, September 20, 2007

Swabbin the Decks After Pirate Day

Well, me hearties, what a great Talk Like a Pirate Day it was. Just some numbers:
This post was dugg 997 times (as of right now) and received well over 6,500 unique visitors who left comments, rum and swill all over WriteNonsense - thank you, come again and please remember to keep digging my posts!

If you were wondering how the whole Talk Like a Pirate Day thing came about, check out Getting To Know Talk Like a Pirate Day at It's a rousing good yarn. But now, moving on to today's post:

Getting Your Articles Published in Magazines (Trackback URL)
(Part 1 of Writing For Magazines)

Magazines are tricky customers, and it takes a lot of work to convince them to publish something you wrote. They only have so many pages, and they want to put the best articles they can in. However, magazines pay very well. You can expect to get anywhere from between $50 - $500, depending on the magazine and the length of your article.

Here are a few tips that will help you to get your articles published in magazines.

1. Don't Just Write!

Magazines won't print a random article anymore than they will print the ramblings of a lunatic. Call up the magazine, find out what their submission guidelines are. Ask them the following:

  • What word counts are accepted (usually 300, 500, 1,000 etc)
  • Are there any topics they need articles for? Magazines like to plan ahead and request articles accordingly
  • Whom you should address your submission to. Often this is "The Editor", but try to find out a name as well.
  • If there are any style requirements, such as how many quotes they prefer etc.
  • How much they pay per word! (Magazines should offer you between $0.20 and $1 per word, so don't accept $20 for a whole article)
2. Familiarize Yourself With the Magazine

Get hold of as many copies as you can. See what kind of article gets featured, and ask someone how much of what you see on the page comes from the writer. Magazines might prefer to publish your article if you can provide a picture or a good sound byte. This will make it much easier to write magazine articles in the way they want.

Also: if you have old issues, check that the editor is still the same person! A new editor might like a different style entirely.

3. Write The Same Article 3 Times

This might sound tedious, but write it for all the word counts that the magazine publishes. This way you give them a choice. If you write a 1,000 word article and they like it, but not enough to give it the space, you won't be paid anything. If you include a 300 word shorter version they will usually be happy to publish this, or they might save your article for a later issue if it is not too topical.

4. Submit to the Competition

By this I mean send your articles to all the magazines that compete with the magazine you want to publish in. As long as they are the same style, at least one of them is bound to like your article.

5. Use Your Connections

Magazines love interviews because they really attract readers. What's more, they're hard to get. If you know an interesting person or a celebrity's nephew's friend from school, use that connection to get an interview!

Trade journals also publish interviews, so if your Uncle Bob is a well-respected restorer of antique furniture interview him. Send the article off to a few trade journals about antique furniture and you'll get back a $100 bill just like this one here (except not as blurry).

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