HAVE A PLAN---TARGET.
Have a specific magazine in mind. Have a reason for this magazine. Research the demographics of this magazine. The demographics will tell you what voice you want to write in. The active voice is when the subject is in motion. Some magazines want the action to be aggressive. Steve loves Amy. Amy is loved by Steve is the passive voice. Know the history that you are writing in. What has been written recently in this magazine? Try to read at least 7 issues back. Perhaps you have a pet subject that is written on extensively. If this is the case, concentrate on coming to the subject from a different direction. Understand the tone of your articles. The Harvard Business Review is meant to teach. "Time" is meant to inform.
Magazines have a time frame, which is usually three months in advance. This can be tricky. Writing articles about past happenings have been successful and have also met failure. You have to use your best judgment. Writing is about taking a chance. If you feel the article has merit, though old in time frame, trust your gut
UNDERSTAND WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS ON ARTICLES SELECTED.
Having articles accepted is like applying for a job. You have to send it to the right person. Google the magazine, and rely on your personal networks when possible for knowing this. Twitter accounts are an important resource in getting material printed.
WRITE A QUERY LETTER. YOU MUST CREATE A BRAND FOR YOURSELF.
Explain to the magazine why they should print your article and not someone else's.
When you email your query letter to the editor, it would be beneficial to include other published pieces to help establish credibility and continuity. In today's world, blogs are important. If you have a blog that was well received, this is excellent piece to include. The blog has been placed in the blogosphere. It can be goggled. You now have a history.
In this part of the process, you must become your own publicist. You can't be shy. You must discreet and professional, but you also must be aggressive in explaining to the editor why it is that you should be published. Passion and emotion are critical. You may not be as knowledgeable or well-known as other authors, but if you are sold out on your subject, this may win the day. Don't forget, you're trying to move a reading audience. Writing in print is somewhat like speaking in public. Your attitude, your tone, is the thing that is going to move your audience.
Having a magazine print your work is like applying for a job. There is an objective part to this and there is a subjective. This is about perception. Your article may just lie on an editor's desk for months. One day, for no reason, the editor may pick up your article and you are in print. It is somewhat like filing a resume with a perspective employer. You file a resume, have an interview. One day, that employer may decide that they want you in their organization. In the writing area, things happen for no apparent reason. C.K. Rowling wrote for many years and was on public assistance. Then almost overnight, she was a multi-millionaire.
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