Writing for a magazine has served as a launchpad for many writers. Starting small like that can be just what you need as a writer to give doors that little nudge they need to open – before you go ahead to talk about things like book contracts, literary agents and international recognition.
For some, especially freelance writers, writing for paying magazine markets where they receive returns on their investment of time and effort could help pay the bills until they become more settled as writers and find their way into big literary circles.
If you would like to get published in a magazine, then you need to understand how the process works. It is essential to do so because publishing in a magazine works a little differently to other kinds of writing, and your not understanding the process might lead to a rejection of your work.
It can hurt a little to know that you’re a good enough writer as any out there getting published, yet for some reason you keep getting those rejection emails.
If writing for a magazine is something you want to try out, here are important pointers to guide you as you make that move.
Writing for a Magazine? Here are Five Easy Steps
1. Choose a topic you’re passionate about
You need to come up with a great article idea.
A good way to get awesome ideas is to read other ideas and mull them over. If you have a magazine in mind to write for, then you should probably read published works in that magazine.
The urge to just jump in and write without a lick of background work is often irresistible. Resist it nevertheless – if you want to get published that is.
When you get ideas from your reading, compare them with what is currently trending in society. Find out the current events in society and see if you can generate a good topic from those. It always helps your article get noticed if you’re writing about trending issues.
You can also check what people are searching for and see if you can generate ideas around those.
While writing for a magazine, you can write about your own interests. However, whatever you’re writing about will have to be very attractive – attractive enough to pull people towards it. Otherwise, there’s a high chance you’ll get rejected.
2. Determine which publications to submit to
This is important and sometimes you might even consider doing this first.
Is the magazine you’re writing for paying or free? Paying magazines naturally have more stringent criteria. Also, there are loads of other people who are also trying to get published or are already regular writers there, so you’ll face a lot of competition.
Many magazines around today are primarily consumed online, so that makes it easier for you to go through them and make up your mind about a topic like we mentioned earlier. You can go to makealivingwriting.com where you’ll research magazines to write for and some necessary stuff you gotta know about those magazines.
Depending on the magazine, you might have to send a pitch before you get accepted. Some magazines accept unsolicited pitches, others more commonly assign specific pieces to freelancers.
Ensure you take your time to craft an excellent pitch because it goes a long way towards getting you a chance. You can check out how to write a great pitch for a magazine on Masterclass.
3. Research and write
A rule of thumb you can follow is to do more research than you think you need. Gather sources, quotes, and statistics that you can use in your story. As I mentioned at the beginning, the urge to start writing immediately can be intense. But you need to resist it. Before you begin, make sure you know enough about the topic you are writing on.
Also, make sure you write based on the magazine you want to publish in. Otherwise your article might be great but just not what they are looking for – in which case you’ll get rejected.
4. Edit your article
Edit, edit, edit.
Read through your article a second time and then a third time. Ignore the urge to just hit the send button as soon as you insert your final full stop. As you go over your work again, you’ll definitely notice things to change, shake up, or remove. You’ll also be able to make your text more cohesive and coherent when you’re not absolutely focused on stringing your points together.
5. Submit your article
Your work is done and you can finally push it on. If you’ve researched thoroughly on the magazine you’re submitting to, you should know whether or not they’ve got time-specific criteria about submissions. The last thing you want to do is submit the right work at the wrong time.
Also, articles for major paying magazines are usually slanted for publication for their next month’s issue weeks in advance, so make sure you don’t fall into the deadline trap.