There are many opportunities to get your work published. In fact getting published in recognised media is way easier than you probably think.
The reason why most get knocked back is because they don’t adhere to some simple rules that will help you get published and also help you get media.
You won’t get any argument from me over “free publicity”. To get media what you submit has to match what they want. It’s known as the brief. You might think that is a really easy concept, but you would be surprised how many people get that wrong. They write what they want to write, then wonder why it gets knocked back. Especially in the early days, you need to prove your ability to deliver and once that is established, then you can start writing outside the guidelines.
So find out what the editor wants, NOTICE I DIDN’T SAY WRITE WHAT YOU LIKE. Then write something that meets the criteria. Certainly not rocket science huh!
Here are a couple of hints that will help you get published :
- Keep it about THEM (the mag and their readers) not YOU
- Find out the word count – never send more than they ask for
- Google how to write articles and inform yourself on what is likely to be accepted before you start to write – include Googling as much as you can about the mag you want to submit to.
- Research what is popular in other media at the present time, look for trends
- Find a twist on the current trends or a twist on the concept – for instance I got a lot of sea change press when I first moved to the country, but they loved me because I would talk about the dark side of sea change – it was a twist on the story line.
- Ask yourself “how can I add value to this story?” once it is finished
- Add a top 10 or top 5 side bar at the bottom of your story (those little stories that run down the side of a magazine) – they might not use it with this story but they might use it another time
- Ensure the content matches exactly what they editor has asked for
- Write your article – leave it for a few days and then go back to it – then rewrite and leave it again before sending it – you’d be surprised how many “mistake worms” get at it during the rest period!
- Be prepared for them to edit your story
- Be prepared for them to edit your story so much that it bears no resemblance to what you wrote but does match their brief
- Don’t try to sell directly – sell by proving you are the expert on your topic by adding a lot of value to the article and by making it a strong informative and useful article
- Include some interesting case studies
- Make it easy for them to publish you – go out of your way to be helpful
- Remember to add all the ways they can contact you – including your website
- Add some interesting photos if you have the rights to them – mention if you are willing to release the rights to them if they want to use the photo
Journos are busy people – don’t expect them to do any of the work for you – the easier you make it for them to publish you – the more likely they will be to publish you and not the dill brain who is making their life difficult.
Get several copies of the magazine or publication you want to appear in. Then figure out what they have found acceptable in the past. Most magazines have a format that appeals to their reader – despite what you think of that format – if you want to get published …….. follow the format.
If you are a rank newbie – pay a professional editor to critique your article and give you feedback. Patricia Mackenzie has been invaluable to me over the years, knocking my words into shape. She is not always available so I recommend Kristin Lee to help make sure your grammar and spelling are spot on and that you have answered the brief.
Be professional – sounds a Duh point – but the more professional and together looking you are – the more likely you are to “get a pub”
The biggest piece of advice that I would offer is to START WELL BEFORE DEADLINE.
Give your prose plenty of time for the worms to get at it and submit early not on the very last day of submission.
Remember the golden rule – make it easy for them to put you in print!
Imagine if a well researched, well written professional looking article that meets the criteria and needs very little work done on it, appears on an editors desk a couple of weeks before deadline. It has much better chance of being read and published than the hundreds that arrive on the deadline date.
If you have a desire to be included in a particular publication, you may wish to phone the editor before you start and ask them exactly what they want, including the word count and make sure you download the author guidelines and STICK TO THEM!
What’s even easier?
Get the professionals to write the article for you – here are some examples of articles written about me: