How To Write (And Publish) a Magazine Article 1

“After an article ran in Farm Show magazine, we received calls from all around the world and sold about 10 to 15 products from one free article. That’s cheap advertising!”

– Bob Wietharn

For a normal man, writing a magazine article brings many benefits. It can draw new customers to your business, help you build your career, and even earn you a little cash!

To successfully write and publish your own magazine article, simply follow the seven steps below.

1. Choose Your Topic

First, you need to choose a strong topic that will interest both you and your readers.

If you are writing this article to build interest for your business, you will obviously want to write on a related topic. Otherwise, just choose a useful topic that you enjoy.

To be a useful, you article should…

  • address a common problem.
  • explain the solution.
  • give a practical action plan.

If your potential topic does not meet these requirements, you should probably choose a different topic.

At the same time, don’t simply desert a topic because you need to do research; every good author does large amounts of research for each article.

2. Study Your Audience

Although it may seem like a useless step, properly targeting your audience will make your article much more likely to be published.

To do this, you need to first get a copy (preferably recent) of the magazine you would like to be published in.

Reading through the past articles, study their tone and format:

  • Do they use lots of lists?
  • What types of examples are used?
  • What article types are implemented? (More on this in step four)
  • What is the average length? (total word count)

When you write your article, you will want to adhere to these standards… while keeping your own style.

3. Research Thoroughly

With the internet, research has become much quicker and easier in the last few years.

However, if you hope to have a solid article, you will still need to invest hours of your time researching your topic.

In addition to uncovering related stories and statistics, look for informants who will give your article “expert” status:

  • Well-reputed authors
  • Industry leaders
  • Primary sources (people intrinsically related to your topic)

This information can be compiled either by direct interviewing or indirect researching of the person’s writing and speaking.

4. Write Your Article

Now that your planning and preparation is completed, you are ready to begin writing.

Depending on you topic and audience, your general format may be…

  • how-to.
  • interview.
  • personal experience (directly related to an important issue).
  • inspirational.
  • investigative.
  • travel.
  • technical.

Start it with an engaging “hook” (attention catcher), and keep your reader’s interest by using well-developed anecdotes from your past experiences or history.

Try to write your complete article in one sitting.

5. Edit Your Article

After the initial writing session, wait a day or two before editing. When you edit, concentrate on…

  • correcting spelling and grammar errors.
  • removing unnecessary information (sections not related to the topic).
  • expanding or compressing stories (walk the fine line between being too brief or too wordy).
  • verifying your facts and sources.

Depending on your personal writing style, this editing stage may take many different sessions, or you may finish after one editing time.

6. Submit To The Editor

Once your article is completed, the really hard work begins: marketing your writing.

Send a letter to the editor of the magazine you picked in step two. Called a query letter, this one-page introduction should explain your articles topic and how it is useful for his readers.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do include a self-addressed and stamped envelope.
  • Do show your familiarity with the magazine.
  • Do explain why you are qualified to write.
  • Don’t send your article (that comes later).
  • Don’t include unrelated information.
  • Don’t go over one page (larger letters are rarely read).

Once you have sent your letter, you can expect a wait of about eight to ten weeks before you hear back.

If the editor is interested in your idea, you will then send him your article for review. Depending on the magazine, you will likely need to sign a contract and will probably be paid for your article.

7. Be Persistent

Although it would be great if your article was published after your first query, that is not very likely.

Instead, you will probably need to re-edit and submit to a variety of different magazines before you are successfully published.

Just remember, in magazine writing, as in other parts of life, persistence is the key of success.

Has any of your writing been published?

One comment on “How To Write (And Publish) a Magazine Article

  1. Reply Daryl Dec 14,2010 8:56 AM

    I am published in the University of Tennessee’s literary journal, “The Phoenix.” They published two of my poems and a short story in the Fall 2010 edition. I also have poetry that has been published in the Caney Creek Review.

    There is only one real key – submit. You won’t get published if you don’t submit. I have business-card sized signs posted everywhere that say, “Real Writers Submit.” They keep me grounded in the business of writing. Submit, submit, submit!

    One caveat . . . . Use good grammar. Great stories never make it to print because their author can’t tell the difference between, their, there, and they’re.

    Peace, Daryl

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