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Pick a Magazine You Want to Write For

If youíre a writer, youíre a reader. So ask yourself the salient question: Which magazines do you read every month, the ones you have an affinity for? Would you like to write for them?

You can also pick up a copy of Writer's Digest, a compendium that lists contact information for all of the general interest and special interest magazines and trade journals that do business with freelancer writers.

Once youíve picked a magazine you want to write for, buy a copy at the newsstand. Read it from cover to cover, every single page, including the letters to the editor. Also study the ads. Then read it again. Ultimately you will need more than one issue to get a full picture of how the publication does business. Consider going to the public library for back issues, or contact the circulation department of the magazine and invest in back copies. They only cost from a couple of bucks apiece up to five dollars. Two year's worth of magazines is not too many.

In fact, read that many of the publication and you'll see which stories are repeated, year after year. Magazine editors repeat stories because they know their readership changes about every 18 months. Knowing that you can rather wisely pitch a story idea for an article that ran last year. Donít forget to visit the magazineís website. Sometimes magazines buy online rights to articles that donít appear in print.

What youíve done by taking the time to read all those magazines is standard business practice. It's called market research. Remember, the magazine is your customer.

You should also know that the simple act of reading a magazine from cover to cover will awaken the muse within your soul. Youíll see holes in the publicationís editorial calendar. Your subconscious mind will conjure up ideas about articles you could write and write with passion. And while youíre at the newsstand, read the cover blurbs of every single magazine, even those you have absolutely no interest in. Cover blurbs provide inspiration. Believe it or not, cover blurbs that work for Cosmopolitan magazine can be adapted to Popular Mechanics.

Finally, construct a list of three to five articles that really light your fire. Write them down. Doing so impresses on your subconscious mind that you mean business. Go to bed at night thinking about them. Wake up thinking about them. Finally, do something about it. We'll talk about that in the next chapters. - next - table of contents -