Two Ways to Write A Magazine Article
|Two types of Leaves & Two Types of Articles|
If you want to reach readers with your writing, one of the most effective methods is to write magazine articles. As your articles are published, you will reach thousands (if not millions) of readers. Through my years in publishing, I've written many different types of articles on all sorts of people and topics. The variety is endless in the print magazine world.
In the beginning of my magazine writing, I would be inspired to write a personal experience article or a how-to article. I would sit down and write the article with no magazine or market in mind. After I wrote this article to the best of my ability, I opened up my writers' market guide and searched for some place to send the article or write a query. The process took a lot of searching and energy—and often involved getting rejected because I didn't send it to the right editor or right publication.
This type of writing is known as inspirational writing. You are inspired to write something so you sit down, put your fingers on the keyboard and write the complete article. It is one way that many people write and eventually with enough persistence, find the right publication or editor and get into print.
There is a second way to write a magazine article: write for a particular publication and what the editor wants or needs. As a writer, you learn about these needs as you read and study the submission guidelines. Almost every magazine has a set of editorial guidelines on their website. Some of these guidelines are more detailed than others. Sometimes the guidelines will say the percentage of freelance work they publish. The higher this percentage, the stronger the need of the publication for freelance writing (as opposed to something they write with their staff).
In addition to their guidelines, some publications include a “theme list.” These publications have planned specific themes they want to publish and they are solid indicator of what the editor believes their readers want to know. To get published, you can either write a query letter or write the entire article and send it to the editor (follow their guidelines). The second way to write a magazine article is a more targeted yet also involves meeting the needs of the editor and reader. Because it is targeted, it has a higher probability of publication and less time for the writer to search for a market and then get rejected and search for another market.
Inspirational writing is fun and something I still encourage you to do—particularly with personal experience articles. Each of us have unusual personal experiences in life but the successful published writers will take these personal experiences and use them as grist for their writing and craft their article. Almost every magazine uses personal experience stories (large circulation and small circulation).
My purpose in writing this article was to show you a more targeted (and potentially successful) method to get your writing into print publications. Writing for magazines is a solid way to build your platform or presence in the market, reach readers and build your reputation as a writer. After many years in publishing, I continue to write for magazines.
What tips do you have for writing for magazines? Let me know in the comments below.
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