My writing began with writing for magazines. I still remember that small write up that got published in a popular magazine. Then a poem. Then an article and a short story. I am a published author now, but I still feel good to see my name featured in a magazine. The joy of seeing your name in a print magazine is something else, isn’t it?
Do you agree? Do you want to write for magazines? Read on.
I believe writing has just one rule — ‘follow the rule that works for you.’ But when it comes to writing for magazines, there are certain unwritten rules that you should follow, keeping the magazines (you want to write for) in your mind.
Try to Build a Niche for Yourself
Especially if you are a new writer. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try different types of writing, but focusing on a certain theme, say travel or health or relationships, helps you stay, well, focused. It makes you a specialist and helps you to establish.
So, try to find suitable magazines that feature your kind of articles/short stories. Try to find ideas that fall into your specialty. It would enhance your chance.
Never Pitch Without Studying the Magazine
It’s very important, studying the magazine you want to write for. Suppose you pitch a travel idea, without reading the magazine, and the magazine has just featured that kind of article — it would reflect your ignorance. It would project your unfamiliarity with the magazine. And, it’s certainly not a good thing.
Also, reading magazines would make you understand if the idea is suitable for that particular magazine. Plus, you would be well aquatinted with the writing style of the magazine you want to write for.
So read the magazine before pitching your idea. It’s difficult to subscribe to all the magazines; so read at least last 3-4 issues. That would be fine.
Do Not Address the Editors as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
When you write to an editor, you must know the name of the editor. When you write to an editor addressing ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, it clearly shows your ignorance (yet again!). Ask any editor, this is their biggest pet peeve.
So, do some research, find the editor’s name and contact details (you can find it in the magazine) and address them properly. Stay updated about the current editor of the magazines you want to write for.
You won’t get any writing assignment if you do not pitch frequently. It’s as simple as that. Sending a query and keep thinking about it is not a good idea. Keep finding ideas; keep pitching. Editors take time to respond. You shouldn’t waste your time waiting for the response to a particular query.
Try to Narrow Down Your Ideas
Just like you, there are many writers who are trying to break into the magazines. There would be many writers, just like you, who would come up with similar ideas. So, what makes you different? Your ability to extract interesting points from a broad/common idea.
For example, ‘Weight Loss’ is a very common topic yet it’s hot. Do not tell ‘How To Lose Weight’ — it’s broad. Tweak it. Pick something different out of that broad theme.
Do Not Hesitate to Follow Up
Editors are busy people. So, don’t get impatient when you do not get prompt responses. But, ‘no reply’ isn’t (necessarily) an automated rejection. The editor might have missed your mail or maybe it has fallen into their spam box. So do not hesitate to follow up. Send polite reminder after 10-15 days. Do not send messages repeatedly. It irks them.
Be prepared if your idea has been approved. The editor might want to discuss (Over phone) it. Be sure about your idea and the points you are going to make in the article. Plan it properly so that you sound confident and convincing. It’s all about building a relationship with the editor.
Do Not Give Up
Most important rule for anythingWriting for magazine is not that easy. It takes time and patience. Do not expect instant results and do not let rejections (that’s inevitable) waver your enthusiasm. Stay updated and look for interesting ideas. Keep pitching them.