As anyone who’s looked into article writing will have discovered, this genre is one of most prolific for writers. Unlike book publishers, who have a limited number of releases each year and are literally swamped with submissions, magazines and similar publications publish copious amounts of writings every year. And while the possibility of being noticed by the editor can still be a challenge the chances are far greater.

From a financial point of view, article writing will probably be more appealing to anybody looking to make money from writing too since the turnaround time between submitting and receiving payment is usually only months, and not the years associated with standard book publication.

While there are no end of article writing tips, the secret to being successful (other than good writing skills) is predicting and providing the articles needed.

To do this it is essential to know the market. This doesn’t require all new freelance article writers to instantly go out and buy every single publication, magazine and periodical published this year, thankfully. But what it does require is a good working knowledge of a selection of publications.
Of course the question is then, which selection of publications? In my opinion and my experience it has always worked well to decide on specific topics to focus on.

Think about what you know and are interested in. This is usually a good way to decide what topics suit you. Partially because they are of interest to you and partially because you already know a fair bit about the topic and have friends, colleagues and experts that you can readily call on for quotes, interviews, and verification.

So now you have narrowed down the field, it’s necessary to find publications that cover your topics. The automatic response might be to mentally visualise all the publications on the magazine stand at your local paper store and while some of these might be the perfect one to submit to remember that not all periodicals are sold this way.

Many publications, trade journals and more niche magazine are sold through subscription. They may be harder to get hold of, but in most cases they are also easier to get your work accepted by, purely for that reason. Remember the glossy mags may be obvious and pay well, but they are also usually the ones submitted to most often.

To find out about the smaller publications sign up for one or more of the online databases of publishers or find a good printed publication of the same information. That way you’ll have on hand the writers guidelines listing exactly what your chosen publication is looking for and how to get hold of a copy.

Once you’ve found some magazines that you believe suit your article writing skills read them from cover to cover and then back again. Learn exactly the market the editor is aiming at and then select your articles to fit. All magazine markets tend to be different from one another and it’s your job to recognise these variations, then submit the article or cover note that perfectly targets their audience.
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