Which publication

Many students ask me if  the publication _______ would be interested in their article.  I NEVER answer this kind of question from a student.

Why?  Because if you send your article to this publication and the editor rejects it, you’ll think I gave bad advice.  If I nominated a particular publication and you sent your article to that one, and they bought it, you’d think I gave you good advice.  But all that you’ve LEARNED is how to ask someone else for guidance.

You haven’t learned how to work out which publication to write for . . . which publication to TARGET.

Most new students worry about which publication they should aim at writing for.  I doubt I have a nice neat answer for you.  I think that ONLY YOU have the answer.  I would answer your question with a question:

  • Which publications would you LIKE your articles to appear in?
  • Which publications do you read and admire?
  • Ever read a publication and thought “I want to be published in this one!”

In my early days tutoting, I’d suggest a publication to a student, only to find he or she held Woman’s Day or Reader’s Digest or whatever, in contempt.  Yet to my professional eye, the student’s article was perfect for the publication I had suggested.  I soon realised a student has to WANT to be in a certain publication, and has read many issues and studied it, and written specifically for it.

Students often mistakenly feel that a good article fits anywhere. It simply doesn’t.  I must rely on you reading publications so that you can get a feel for the kind of publication you’d like to sell an article to.  If you like a certain publication, then you’ll have a feel for the kind of subjects they are interested in, and the styles of writing they like.  I know it can be hard sometimes to figure out which publication you should try writing for.  Even experienced freelancers sometimes need to stop and take stock.  Who DO I write for?  It happened to me a few times in the years I freelanced a great deal.  I suggest that you do one of two things, or do both.

1.  Go to your state or local library and check out their current publications.  At a library you have time to peruse the publications and get a feeling for what’s on the market.  State libraries have most publications, local libraries have few.

2.  The other quick and easy way is to look at the publications for sale at your newsagent.  Take a notebook and write down the titles.  Buy say two publications that grab your attention.  It’s not good enough to react: “I’d like to read this publication.”  You have to feel: “I’d like to write for this publication.”

If you’re friends with a newsagent they might give you copies of old magazines they throw away.  Incidentally, many cafes now carry a lot of magazines for customers to browse while having a coffee (not to mention hairdressers, doctors, dentists, optometrists, etc).  This is an excellent additional method of concentrated browsing.  What publications can you borrow from friends?

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