Choose the Magazine
Choose a few magazines that you would like to be published in. The publication must pay. You can check out different magazine by doing some research. For example, if you want to write about parenting you would type in “parenting magazine” in your search engine. A bunch of parenting magazines will come up that you can click on and read through. Find one that you would be proud to see your work in.
Read the Publication’s Back Issues
In order to understand what the publication publishes you will need to read some back issues. You can read back issues online (usually), at your local library (if they have copies of that magazine), or by buying a few back issues (you can call their customer service number and ask to buy some, or search for some online). Note the style of the writing, what they publish, what topics they cover, and what departments are written by freelance writers. Check for freelance bios at the beginning or end of an article, story or essay to see what is freelance written.
Brainstorm Some Ideas
Now that you have read past issues you are ready to write the work that you will submit. Jot down all of your ideas for the publication and choose one to start with. Check the back issues to ensure it hasn’t already been published recently. Set your ideas aside and sleep on it. Take a look at them fresh the next day. Come up with an irresistible headline for each idea. You have to grab the editor’s attention and stand out from all of the other pitches she has in her inbox.
Pitch Your Idea
Locate the proper editor’s email address and submit your work. You will probably have to do some digging to find the editor’s email address. Check the website for the magazine, search the name of the magazine, check the masthead located in the first few pages of the magazine, and lastly, if you need to, call the magazine and ask the receptionist which editor you should email your query to. Write a custom query letter for the magazine. Now send it! Be patient. It may take a while for a response. If you want to check in on the status of your submission mark the date on your calendar. Always follow up on your submission if you don’t hear back in a reasonable time – about 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the size of the magazine.
While you are waiting patiently for a response, get to work on another piece for another magazine. Repeat the steps provided above and continue the process.
It doesn’t always have to be done in this order to get published. I use this step-by-step process when I have a certain magazine in mind that I really want to get published in. Switch it to write out your idea first, then seek out magazines that match your idea, and then customize your query for each magazine you submit it to.
How do you prefer to pitch your ideas to magazines?