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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

"If you combined the lyricism of Annie Dillard, the vision of Aldo Leopold, and the gentle but tough-minded optimism of Frank McCourt, you might come close to Amy Lou Jenkins.Tom Bissell author of The Father of All Things 

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Work at home, first read magazines.

Seven Tips For Studying a Magazine Market

 

By Amy Jenkins

Work at home to study your market before you consider sending a query or submission. You can only write well for a market that you know well. Knowing the name of the publication does not tell you what kind of work they publish. Do you think the New Yorker would welcome your travelogue on your first trip to the Statue of Liberty when you were twelve? They might, but it would have to be spun in a very relevant way to a current event, and even then--not likely. You'd have to read the magazine regularly to have a feel for the flavor of the magazine. Read 7 tips on how to study the writing markets.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work at home.  This might sound like a come on.  No one is going to pay you to read magazines, but  if you'd like to freelance for magazines, you have to know your markets.  This does require work at home. Study the magazines where you'd like to see your byline.

Work at home to study your market before you consider sending a query or submission. You can only write well for a market that you know well. Knowing the name of the publication does not tell you what kind of work they publish. Do you think the New Yorker would welcome your travelogue on your first trip to the Statue of Liberty when you were twelve? They might, but it would have to be spun in a very relevant way to a current event, and even then--not likely. You'd have to read the magazine regularly to have a feel for each and every market you target for submission. Read 7 tips on how to study the writing markets and quit looking like an amateur in your submissions.

1. Study the departments of the magazine.  Look at which are written by staff (look in the in the masthead for names that appear as bylines in articles. Departments written by staffers may not be open to freelancers).  Study the departments that accept freelances. 

2. Pay attention to person. Would Island Magazine really like a first person review of you and your twinís trip to St. Thomas?  Or would they prefer ten family friendly restaurants in St Thomas, written in third person?

3. Who is the audience? Does Men's Health want an article on how to survive the sleep deprivation associated with a baby in the house?  Or do they want an article on looking hot, when you are run down?  The difference is in knowing if the audience is single, married, struggling, middle income, or wealthy.  What grade level is the article written to?

If the magazine has a website with some online articles and you have a MS Word program--You may be able to cut and past an article into your word processor and then have your program tell you the grade level.  If your word processor doesn't do this--you can still match the tone that is a specific to your market.

4. Learn the suggested word count. Seems obvious, doesn't it, that a magazine that allows a department a specific space needs an article with a specific word count.  Yet I've heard inexperienced writers tell me they sent their article off to a market without knowing the word count. 

5. Count the quotes. Yes see how they use expert advice.  How many quotations do they use in a 1,200-word article? How many different experts do they use?  What is the prestige level of the experts? You must match this tone.

6. Obtain the guidelines and study and follow them specifically.

7. Study at least three issues--read every article. Review the last 12 issues so you don't waste your time and the editors time with queries and article submissions that duplicate previously run information.

Don't waste your time or the editorís time by failing to know your market. You may do everything right --and still get rejected. That's what will happen to most people. And good news for you--most will give up. Only those who keep doing it right will break through.

    By Amy Jenkins

 

Read articles about working at home as a freelance writer

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How to write a Holiday Tale

  How To Write

How to insult an editor

How to write short fillers

How to make money writing about your hobbies

How to become a freelance article writer

How to write a query

How to avoid common pitfalls