How to Publish an Article in a Magazine in 5 Steps
For many freelancers, the publication process can seem confusing and complex. Here are some tips to increase your chances of getting your work published:
- Choose a topic you’re passionate about. Before you can see your byline in a magazine publication or website, you’ll need to come up with a great article idea. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea for an article, try brainstorming ideas in an area that you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to write a personal story. Oftentimes, personal stories offer the best opportunity for new writers to showcase their unique perspective, writing skills, and writing style. On the other hand, if you’re passionate about writing articles that require research and in-depth analysis, you should consider story ideas that allow you to do that. What’s important is that you’re enthusiastic about your idea. That will make the creative work that much easier.
- Research and write. You should set aside a fair amount of time for research before you start writing. Even if your subject area doesn’t require extensive investigation or outside source material for the writing portion, you should familiarize yourself with the type of work generally accepted by the publications to which you intend to submit. If you’re planning on submitting to online publications, go to the outlet’s homepage and look through their published articles. If they have already published work or journal articles that are similar to yours, you may need to figure out a new angle. Then, you can start writing your article.
- Edit your article. Once you’ve written your first draft, it’s time to edit. Make any necessary tweaks or adjustments to make sure that your article is in the best possible shape before sending it to magazine editors. Ask a trusted friend or fellow writer (preferably someone who has published articles themselves) to review your essay or magazine article. If your article is research-heavy, you may consider reaching out to someone who is an expert in that field of research and asking them to review your work. If you don’t have anyone you can send your work to, there are editing services available online that offer peer reviews and copy editing for a small fee.
- Determine which publications to submit to. Selectively choosing the right journals, magazines, or online publications to submit to can save you a lot of time and effort. Submitting a hard news article to a journal that mostly publishes short stories and personal essays, for instance, will likely not be worth your time. If you’re trying to get published online, go to the publication’s website and look at their editorial policy, as well as stories that they’ve published in the last year. See if there are any authors or co-authors that you recognize. If your intention is to submit to a print magazine, pick up the most recent copy from the newsstand and look for the same information. Print magazines often have contact information listed in the front or back pages, which is helpful to have for submissions.
- Submit your article. It’s time for the moment of truth: submitting your article to an online publication or journal. Each one has its own submission guidelines, so be sure to carefully read the instructions before submitting. Some publications require a cover letter or query letter as part of the submission process, while others have strict word count limits. If you’re submitting by email, the journal might have specific requirements about what to put in the subject line and which editor or associate editor to submit to. After you submit, don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t heard back in a week or two. These publications likely receive a lot of submissions, and it’s easy for an email to get buried—especially if this is the first article you’ve submitted to them. If they don’t accept your submission, don’t get discouraged. You can always try again or self-publish your article via a blogging platform.
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