Is there anyone still just writing for themselves? It doesn’t seem like it. Everyone wants to share their writing—to be read. Some just have one reason for writing and that is to make a difference, make a point or change minds.
Today, I want to touch on the importance of writing the right article for the right editor. If you want to break into writing through articles on your subject of interest, not only must you write in a way that your piece will be accepted by your proposed readership, but you need to write the type of article the particular magazine uses.
Article-writing is not the same as submitting a letter-to-the-editor for your hometown newspaper. There are rules and policies and requirements.
Sure, you might be able to get your opinion piece published somewhere. But typically, it is necessary that you follow guidelines with regard to the type of piece the publication accepts. There’s word count to consider (and most editors are strict about this). And, in case you haven’t noticed, articles come in many forms.
There is the essay (most popular with writers who have a grudge or something caught in their craw), the how-to, self-help, informational, Q&A, interview/profile, reporting and bulleted pieces, for example. Some editors require that you sprinkle your article with expert quotes and statistics for added credibility.
Few publications use a mix of article types—they might pulish strictly how-to pieces or only bulleted articles. It is your job as the writer to find the right magazine or newsletter and write your piece to conform.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the years who are passionate about an issue and who want to spread their word, but who refuse to accept the requirements and policies of the various magazines out there. They don’t understand why the magazines they’ve approached keep rejecting their opinion piece. They can’t see beyond their desire to be heard/read. They don’t realize that if they would just change the style of the article to suit the individual magazine, they would have a much better chance for acceptance.
Additionally, it is important to pay attention to what this magazine has previously published. And don’t forget to study the advertisers. If they’ve published a major article on this topic recently or they’ve covered it adequately over the years, they probably don’t need your piece on the same subject.
Likewise, you’re not going to land a contract for your article on how ridiculous and dangerous it is to have plastic surgery when the magazine’s biggest advertisers are plastic surgeons.
Is the business of article-writing starting to make more sense to you? Are you beginning to understand why, perhaps, your writings have been rejected? Maybe you’re not approaching this industry as a business. And believe me, it is a business.
For more articles on article-writing, go to http://matilijapress.com/articlespublishing.htm