What do you look at/think about when you are leafing through a magazine? What draws your eye and holds your attention? What is it about the article that makes you want to read it? Or what is about the whole magazine that made you pick it of the newsagent's shelf? These are all important questions to ask yourself when choosing a magazine to buy and when considering writing for that magazine.
*Are we looking for: entertainment? Information? Something to pass the time? Lots of illustrations or photos?
*What kind of reader would this particular magazine appeal to?
*Is it full of celebrity gossip? Or is it a how- to magazine with step-by-step guides? Is it full of fiction or solely non-fiction or a mixture of both?
*What kind of topics are covered in the magazine? This can help us to narrow the themes we can write about down and increase our chances of publication.
*What are they advertising in the magazine? This will give us an idea of who the magazine is targeting and who we are writing for.
*How are the articles worded/what is the layout/ length? Paying attention to this can really help us to make the editor's life a lot easier when we present our work and sub it.
*How often is the magazine published - this will help us guage how much competition there is from other writers to get in and the amount of space available. A quarterly magazine will need less material than a weekly.
*Look at the names in the staff list in the magazine and look at who has written the articles. Are there lots of different names or the same few? This will help us to see how much work the editor takes from freelance writers and how much is done in-house.
*Look on the magazine's web site if they have one. This can provide you with a lot more information.
*Find out the submission guidelines if there are any and stick to them. If there aren't use the standard presentation rules.
*Don't be afraid to e-mail the editor or contact them via which ever method detailed in the magazine and introduce yourself and ask if they would be interested in hearing your ideas. Even if it's a 'no' now - you might get a 'yes' at a ater date and the editor may well keep your details on file.
These are the sort of things we need to consider when we want to write for a magazine. It's no good just casually flicking through the magazine, scribbling down your article and then sending it off. Take your time to really study at least two back copies of the magazine, follow the style and submission guidelines of that magazine (remember not all magazines will have the same guidelines), and before you do any writing for that magazine check they take freelance subs! If not, don't waste your valuable writing time. Target another magazine instead.
Happy analysing and writing.
If you go over to my new Analysing Articles Forum for the next post there I'll put up a copy of one of my article manuscripts and a copy of how it eventually appeared in a magazine so we can compare the difference.
To join the forum let me know your e-mail address and I'll add you to the author list so you can post, comment and join in the fun.