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How To Approach Magazine Markets

by Xlibris

As if marketing your book weren't difficult enough, now here comes the Internet, a new but incredibly prominent channel through which marketing can be accomplished. At first glance, the Internet simply presents yet another arena in which authors could potentially feel left out, or even helpless. With a little knowledge, however, you can easily make the Internet work for you.

Obtain submission guidelines
Guidelines serve several purposes:

  • They give a writer specifics about what types of submissions the publication is interested in, be it fiction, autobiography, nonfiction, poetry or whatever.
  • They dictate word count (a small publication with few pages probably wouldn't appreciate a 5,000 word article).
  • They indicate payment per word or per article.
  • They outline what rights the writer or publication retains to the article.
  • They suggest in what format the piece should be submitted.

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that now you can obtain submission guidelines from a publication's website. Some traditional print magazines even respond to requests for guidelines via email. If no one writes back, however, you're probably better off sending a nice request letter by snailmail.

As if marketing your book weren't difficult enough, now here comes the Internet, a new but incredibly prominent channel through which marketing can be accomplished. At first glance, the Internet simply presents yet another arena in which authors could potentially feel left out, or even helpless. With a little knowledge, however, you can easily make the Internet work for you.

Research the market

If you're a pro, then you know that research is the key to getting published regularly, and also the key to working efficiently and effectively as a writer. It took me a long time to learn this, but knowing what kinds of magazines publish what, what articles have appeared in a magazine in the last year, what the over all style is, and who the audience is, are among the essential elements of seeing your name in print.

Back to the Writer's Market, did you ever notice how the descriptions under many of the publications listed say: "Study the magazine first"? Surely that doesn't apply to me. I'll do everything else they've suggested but not that. When the editors read the fabulous article I've written, they'll forget all about their pesky little guidelines.

Yeah, right. If you don't read over the magazine first, you're just wasting your time. For example, if a travel magazine just published an article about the critters and culture of the Amazon, they might not be as interested in your piece on Rio's nightlife. Sure, it couldn't hurt to try, but you might want to focus your energies on a publication that hasn't covered that part of the world recently. Buy the magazine. Subscribe. Get some back issues. Do whatever you need to do to keep up on the latest, then write it off on your taxes.

Get organised

Things start to get a little hairy when you're working on several articles at the same time or submitting them to a slew of different magazines. You've got a stack called "In Progress," a messy chart to track submissions, rejections, and acceptances (and there's only one check next to that last word), plus you've got a million new ideas floating around in your head.

I was going to approach this the old way, and suggest file, file, file, folder, folder, folder, notebook, etc., but I couldn't resist the opportunity to recommend the latest and greatest software for managing manuscripts: Ink Link. Lots of easy clicking allows you create lists of works in-progress, who you've sent them to and when, and if or not you've received any response. Ink Link automatically reminds you when to follow-up and even generates follow-up letters for you. There are a couple of other nice features about this software, but what it really does is organize our procedures, thereby freeing up a little bit more space in our busy heads.

Reject rejection

No, this doesn't mean send the rejection letter back to the editor and refuse to be rejected — although, hey, it's worth a shot. What I mean is that rejection has to be seen as a reality of our profession. We're not being rejected forever and always by every editor, just the last 45. We will get published someday. It's like the lottery: You gotta play to win. So just keep submitting your work with the profound belief that you're a decent writer and have something worthwhile to share with people.

You should now be ready to go back out there and write your heart out. We've dug up some magazine markets that are just waiting for your submissions, so go get 'em, tiger.