Writing for Profit: Break into Magazines

Stop, I Want to Get Off the Merry-go-round!

Copyright Cheryl Wright
- All Rights Reserved



If you’ve never written for a magazine or newspaper before, getting that big break seems to be an impossible dream. Understanding your targeted publication’s needs will make the journey easier.

Begin by deciding which publication/s interests you; you need to query them with the type of material that fits or suits their current needs, so research is of the utmost importance.

Obtain a copy of the magazine (check with your local library) and their most recent guidelines for freelancers. Wherever possible, request a copy of their editorial calendar – this will give you an idea of the type of material they will be purchasing in the near future.

Also check the list of in-house writers and the columns or departments they handle, which is usually listed within the first few pages of the publication. This information will assist you in determining what you can’t write. The publication will not be interested in purchasing from you, anything that is written in-house by staffers.

Now thoroughly research the magazine. Don’t just read the articles, check the advertisements as well – they will give you a clue as to the target audience, the type of person the magazine is aimed toward. It will also give an indication of their readers’ age group.

For instance, if the magazine is full of advertisements for essential oils and natural therapy products and services, you would be wasting your time and effort querying them for an article about cosmetic surgery or laser eye treatments. On the other hand, an article about natural beauty products would probably be well accepted.

Don’t pitch a piece of fiction if they don’t publish fiction, and don’t send unsolicited manuscripts. In most cases, editors prefer to receive a query letter giving a brief description of your proposed article. (Besides, why would you waste your time writing an article that you might never sell?)

Ensure that all words are spelled correctly and your grammar is immaculate. No editor worth his/her salt would employ a writer who presents a shabby query.

Keep query letters to one page wherever possible. Editors have limited time available and rarely read more than one page.

Be specific; don’t give a vague indication of your proposed article. For instance, don’t just say ‘I propose an article about hair colouring’ – instead explain the slant you intend to use.

If you can slip in a quote or two from an expert, all the better; it lets the editor know you have already done some research, and can obtain information that will qualify the content of your article.

Using the above example, my query could read:

Every time a woman colours her hair, chemicals seep into her brain and kill off half her brain cells, leaving her unable to decipher the time on a digital watch.

Mary Blascoe, CEO for Blondes are Better Hair Dye Company, says that "500 out of every 100,000 women will experience this problem."

I propose a 3,000 word article that will make you cringe whenever you reach for your hair dye.

Never send a query addressed ‘Dear Editor’; check the name of the current editor, and always spell his/her name correctly. And don’t forget to list any previous credits you may have. (If you don’t have any credits or clips, don’t worry – just don’t mention it.)

Don’t take it personally if you receive a rejection; it may just mean that they have recently purchased or published an article similar to yours. And don’t feel you can’t query this publication again in the future; next time you may have an idea they can use.

About the author: Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she is the owner of the Writer2Writer.com website and the Writer to Writer monthly ezine for writers. Her publications include novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and articles. To keep up to date with her publications and new releases, visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryl-wright.com



Writing for Profit: Break into Magazines  

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