This is a guest blog post written by Sarah Hartley.
Since creating Holl & Lane Magazine, I’ve gotten an influx of emails, comments and direct messages asking me how a person can get their words published in a magazine. Being published is often a dream for many people and I know that the world of magazines can seem very hard to break into. So today I want to give you four tips that will help you stand out to the person on the other side of the magazine, and make you more likely to get published.
Step One: RESEARCH
Before you reach out to a magazine, be sure that you’ve done your homework on what exactly the magazine publishes. Just as you wouldn’t pitch a style article to a food blog (I hope!), you want to be sure that what you’re suggesting is relevant to the types of articles that they publish. So go back through their archives, read their newest issue, read their blog and social media posts. Be sure that you know exactly what type of magazine it is. Do they focus on longer articles, or shorter ones? Do they have regular writers, or do they look for contributors? Do they have certain themes that they follow? Learn as much as you can about the magazine so that when it’s time to write your pitch, you can reference some of their old articles.
Step Two: SEARCH THE SITE
Magazine teams are very busy, no matter if they publish monthly or yearly. And they get pitched – A LOT. Oftentimes they will have a specific person to reach out to or a specific protocol to follow when you are interested in pitching a story. So get on their website and search. Do they have a contribute page that tells you the steps to follow? Do they have a FAQ page or information on their Contact page? Make sure you’ve searched each relevant page and if you still can’t find anything, utilize their contact form if they have one. Unless it’s specifically stated, try to stay away from emailing the Editor directly. Editor’s get a lot of emails daily and if you skip all of the other steps and directly email the Editor, chances are your email will get lost.
Step Three: CRAFT YOUR PITCH
With your information from step one curated, craft your pitch to match the magazine and any applicable themes. If a magazine is looking for articles on a specific theme and you submit something that isn’t related, chances are your submission will get lost in the abyss because they’ll be looking for one specific theme at a time.
When writing your pitch, stay true to your writing style, but also be sure that your submission sounds like it would fit in with the magazine. This is where reading previous articles helps. Are the articles conversational? Or are they more formal? Are they short? Or are they long? In addition, make sure that (unless specifically asked), you’re submitting an idea rather than an entire article. Also, be sure that you’re submitting something new. Magazines won’t want to publish an article similar to one that they’ve recently published. And if you do pitch something that was recently published, be sure you have a new spin on it.
Step Four: THE NEXT STEP
So your pitch was chosen? Congratulations!! Now you’ll want to do your due diligence and submit what they are expecting. If they are expecting you to write a piece on pregnancy and you submit an article on marriage, the magazine may not be able to use it. Editorial calendars are carefully crafted for each issue and articles are specifically chosen based on how they work in relation to other articles. Also be sure that you’re following word counts (how many words your article should be – given to you by the magazine), as well as deadlines. Magazines have a deadline for when issues have to be to their printer in order to get to their subscribers on time. If you miss your deadline, you’re pushing back the whole issue. So be sure that you turn in your submission on time (if not early!).
And if your pitch wasn’t chosen? Don’t feel discouraged. Magazines have a limited amount of pages that can be used for each issue and not all submissions will be chosen. Some submissions may be able to be utilized in a different way – perhaps in a blog post or on social media. Or maybe they’ll be held onto for a future issue. In any case, try not to take it personally. And keep trying. Next time they’re available, submit an idea again. Or try pitching it to a different magazine if the idea falls within their ideals.
Keep researching, keep crafting, and you’ll get there.
So now that you have simple tips in mind – get out there and try it. Make a list of your favorite magazines and start to learn more about them. Write down your list of ideas and one by one, start crafting that pitch!
Sarah Hartley is the creator and editor in chief of Holl & Lane Magazine, a magazine dedicated to showcasing real life from real women. Searching for a magazine that featured honest life in a beautiful way, that would give women a voice and a platform, Sarah set out to create that magazine. She publishes stories on infertility, miscarriage, mental health, body image, self-care, love and loss, and so much more. She wants to show women that they are not alone. She is also a wife to Brandon, a mom to Henry, and lives near Pittsburgh, PA where she works as a marketing coordinator. In her (minimal) spare time, she loves to read, have dance parties with her son, and enjoy a beer with her husband at the end of a long week.
For more insider tips, check out Holl & Lane Magazine’s eBook, “How to Get Published in a Magazine”. Reina+Co readers can scoop up the eBook at half off (just $5!) using code “Reina”.