Wild Musing

Writing – Diary of a Budding Freelance

Get Your Article Published – First Five Steps

1. Buy a copy of whichever market guide is the most respected in your country.

In the UK this is the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. It is packed with good advice and more importantly the names of loads different types of places that may be willing to publish your work and pay you for it. The magazine section for example lists magazines that accept freelance contributions. It usually gives you the name of the editor, and some sort of contact details. It may give you a more specific idea of the type of freelance material they are seeking, and what type of rates they pay. It is the first stop for any freelance.

Hot Tip: You don’t have to stick to just the market guide for your country. There is no rule that says you can only write for magazines or publishers in your own country. Try finding the best example from a few countries. It will help broaden your market. Check out the Australian Marketplace Online for a start.

2. Make a list of the kinds of things you know about and also those that you are interested enough in to research thoroughly. You don’t have to know everything about the subjects or topics you put on your list but it will make your life much more enjoyable if they are something you would like to learn more about. This is never stressed enough; you are likely to lead a miserable life if you choose to write about something you are not terribly interested in, as well as the fact you are unlikely to do it well.

3. Go through your market guide carefully and make a note of all of the magazines that may be interested in publishing something on your topics. A bit of organisation now is likely to save you lots of time in the future. Try dividing your subjects into categories and noting down contact details of the editor or whoever is responsible for freelance content.

Hot Tip: Something useful you can do at this stage is to mark up your market guide. Try assigning a different colour to each of your categories and marking pages with contacts that might be interested in that subject with a colour post it. It will save you lots of time later when you have a great idea and don’t have to comb back through the book to work out where you should submit it.

4. Start thinking of article ideas for each of your categories (this is actually the hard bit but ,unfortunately, there are not many tips for how to improve your imagination, just try to keep abreast of things happening in your subject areas.)

5. Pitch your ideas to the contacts you have found at the magazines that may be interested in your article. What no one really tells you is that there are, broadly speaking, two types of pitch. The first is a very brief outline that should be enough to hook your editor if he/she really likes the sound of your idea. The advantages of this type of pitch are; most editors are busy and may not look at anything longer, it saves you time because if the editor is not interested you have not invested too much in the pitch. The disadvantages are: it is sometimes hard to get across the essence of your article in such a short pitch, if you are relatively unknown you risk just being ignored because the editor can’t see anything of substance. The second type of pitch is much longer and outlines the shape or structure you see this article taking, includes the first paragraph to give an idea of your writing style and even a few coverline ideas, you might want to include a short blurb on why you think the article would fit into their magazine. The risk you take with this type of pitch is that the editor will see all the type and decide he/she can’t fit reading it into their day and if this is the case you have wasted a substantial chunk of time. On the other hand it looks very professional and gives the editor more of an idea of who you are. The choice is yours.

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December 28, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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