Sorry not to have written my Blog for awhile. My husband had a pacemaker installed, so looking after him took up a lot of time.
Now I want to talk about getting into print. In a sense you have been a producer. Now you must be a salesman. First, study markets to discover the needs of possible buyers. Then you offer your wares where there is the best chance of their being accepted, by your customer – the magazine editor.
Editors deal in articles, and as the middle-man, he links the writer with the ultimate reader. He/she naturally chooses articles to help sell as many copies of the magazine as possible. Articles are first read by a reader, who rejects and returns unsuitable material if a stamp-addressed envelope has been enclosed; or just deletes it if it comes in by e-mail.
Manuscripts which survive this elimination process go to the editor. His is the final responsibility… what he accepts must be paid for and published. He is always searching for ms. to delight his readers, and will accept them instantly and gratefully. He works to a fixed schedule, planning in advance, and has most accepted material in place far ahead of time. He tries to plan a variety – not more than one or two stories of a similar type in any one issue. These considerations govern his choice. Articles are not always rejected because they don’t measure up – often it’s just because he has already accepted something along similar lines, or else is stocked up for months.He selects the best content for the space he has at his disposal.
The usual reason for rejection, apart from poor quality, is that the material is not adapted to the particular needs of the publication. You can eliminate this by constantly studying each publication. Buy copies of a great variety of journals, or read them on-line.
Their pet aversions are long, flowery introductions; an overlong article padded with hackneyed phrases; unrelated material written with no idea of the policy of the journal; old ideas that are just a re-hash of someone else’s work; too much personal touch or the writer’s life history. If an editor wants to see more of your work, even if he rejects one article, he will tell you so and leave the door open for the future.
Although publications need big name authors to sell them, they also need first-rate articles from unknown writers. You may get lower rates of payment at first, but you will be encouraged if you show promise. Big names are always in print because they supply what is demanded.
Often the best time to sell an article is before it even gets written. Many are written only after preliminary negotiations between editor and writer. Once you have an idea, you can write to several editors sounding them out to see if it interests them. It does not commit them to buy your story, but if the idea is acceptable, the length is right, the style is suitable, you have a 90% chance. Your suggestion should crisply outline the feature and indicate the authoritativeness of the material and any special qualifications you may have in that area.
Good luck and happy writing!
If you are interested in my latest novel “Searching for Sarah”, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org