Friday, August 24, 2012

Writing Articles (Part 14 of 21)

Slant your article.

You can write your article two different ways. The common method is to write an article and search for a magazine or ezine to publish it. That often works—but it's not efficient.

A better way is to slant the article to fit the needs of a particular publisher. That's called "knowing your markets."

For instance, I don’t like put-down jokes and I decided to write an article on the subject. I aimed it at parents so that they could set the example for their children.

I sent the article to a magazine and their guidelines stated that staff wrote 90 percent of their articles. I had studied the magazine enough to know my article fit their scope and style, so I sent it. Three weeks later an editor wrote to say she liked the article and that it was exactly the kind of material they wanted. (I felt affirmed by that comment.)

The problem was that they didn’t see how they could use it for at least a year. "This isn’t fair to you," she wrote, "so please feel free to sell it elsewhere. If you have not sold it within six months, please send it back and we’ll accept it for publication."

I didn't want to wait. I changed three sentences to focus on adults in general, gave it a new title, and sent it to a different magazine. They bought it and also paid more money than where I sent it first.

In my early days of writing I wouldn’t have known how to do that. Despite my changing the slant for a second magazine, the principles of writing articles still hold. I started my article with one basic thought, illustrated my point, told about the harm of put-down jokes, and offered suggestions on how to avoid that type of humor.

Slanting is part of the craft I learn. 
It's more work to slant my writing for a specific publication. 
It's also a sign of professionalism.

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