I spent some time as volunteer editor of a small (very small) publication. I came to realize quickly that I wanted exactly what editors of the biggest, splashiest magazines in the world wanted.
They want well-written material that will appeal to their readers.
It doesn’t matter what the focus of the magazine is or whether it has a hundred readers or a million readers. The editor wants well written material that appeals to their readers.
What does that mean for you as a writer? First it means that your writing needs to be top of the line. No make misteaks. No bad grammer. No rong spelling. Capital Letters and periods. in all the right places.
It means that your manuscript has to be formatted correctly, is within the word length specified and submitted the way the editor requests. You find this in the Writer’s Market, which is issued annually and is available in most book shops.
That’s the basic stuff. Now it gets interesting. The editor is always thinking about what her readers are interested in, what they are hoping to find in this magazine. It sounds obvious that you wouldn’t send a piece on knitting to the Steelhead Angler. However, you need to be more discriminating than that.
An article about knitting might go to a women’s magazine, but which women’s magazine? The Writer’s Market will help you to narrow it down so you are not sending it to magazines that focus on beauty, celebrities or teens. You’d need to find a magazine that is more home-based or one that focuses on crafts.
Go to the largest bookstore display of magazines you can find and look for the titles of those that are featuring crafts. Flip through them and buy the ones that look the most likely to be interested in your article.
As you read through them ask yourself with each new article – Why did the editor choose this one? How is this article like (or not like) my article? What would I have to do to my article to make it fit into this magazine?
It’s an unhappy fact that there are many more writers out there than there are spaces for magazine articles or stories. The law of supply and demand kicks in and rejection slips are more common than pay cheques.
Yet often editors complain that they cannot find enough high quality material to fill their publications. How can you make your work become exactly what they are looking for?