The first step to getting published is to find your market. Find a magazine you are familiar with and read the guidelines, read the magazine and as many issues as you can. Are they lacking a particular idea in that subject matter? Has there been an article written that didn't quite cover everything you thought it should? Write down your ideas.
After that, follow the directions on the submission guidelines.
1. Freelance writers must follow the directions. Most editors drop submissions into the trash pile for only one reason, the writer didn't follow directions. If the instructions say that you should not send email, why would you send an email submission? You could beat probably 80% of the rest of the slush pile by being focused on following instructions to a T.
2. Check previous issues for duplicates of your article ideas. No idea is really ever new and more than likely, your idea has already been used at one point. Make sure whatever idea you are submitting hasn't been published recently. It cuts out having to reject your idea, even if it's a good one.
3. Make sure your writing style matches the magazine. One of the biggest mistakes is to not actually have read the magazine before hand. This is why the majority of magazine editors request you at least read a couple issues, which they will happily send to you. It may be extra work but eventually you will get an idea of what sort of freelance writer they are looking for.
4. Grammar and spelling are important for any successful freelance writing career. Most editors claim that the majority of query letters would probably turn into sales, if only the freelance writer would have used proper spelling and grammar. If you can't write a good query letter, how do they expect you to write the full article? You must give your all in every query and submission you send in.
5. Clips are not so important, though they do help a freelance writer. Of all things, an editor wants a freelance writer to provide a good, fresh idea and a quality style to your writing in your initial query letter. If your idea is good and your query letter is well written, an editor can tell if you will qualify for the assignment quickly and will more than likely offer you an assignment.
6. Write articles for smaller publications. If you are still struggling as a freelance writer, sometimes offering free articles online or for smaller publications will help boost your portfolio. This is a little trick most any new writer can do. Don't feel bad about giving away free writing! It won't stay that way and your clips often say a lot about you to editors.
With all honesty, you don't have to be the best writer to be published! You only have to be able to follow directions and come up with an idea that isn't currently being used. Use rejection slips as a reason to submit again with a better idea. If you need additional help, try checking out websites of professional writers who offer advice on their website.
Calissa Leigh is a freelance writer available for copywriting, ghost writing articles and helping with query letters and submission. You can find helpful information on writing, freelance writing jobs and more by visiting her website at http://calissaleigh.com.
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