How to submit to a magazine

So you’ve written the perfect article on an amazing topic, and now you need to know how to present your article to a magazine for publication. Congratulations!

But wait—how do you go about article submission?

What secret codes must be cracked? What publishing gods appeased for your article to see print?

It’s not as mysterious a process as you’d think. If the right steps are followed, it can be easy. Let’s take a look at the steps you should follow to give your article the best possible chance at publication.

How to Submit Your Article to a Magazine in Four Easy Steps

  1. Know and monitor the submission guidelines of the magazine. Most magazines have submission guidelines in their paper and on their websites. If they require double-spacing and you send in a single-spaced article, guess what? Rejection slip on the way. Similarly, some magazines prefer that you send a query letter, just like you would do with a book publisher. You’d need to outline your article, note its intended audience, and give reasons it’s ideal for their publication. If you send in the article first, before a query letter, and you could blow your chances at publication with that magazine.
  2. Make sure your article is as error-free as possible. There are several ways to do this, of course. Most word processing programs have a spell/grammar check function. So you can start there to catch the most obvious gaffes. Keep in mind, though, that these programs aren’t perfect and will miss errors that the human eye can catch. They also sometimes suggest “corrections” that are, in fact, grammatically incorrect. So use your own eyes to read behind your spell/grammar check, and then have friends or family read behind you. A simpler—and usually not prohibitively expensive—means of proofing and perfecting your article is to hire a professional editor through a firm such as FirstEditing.

Next Steps of Submitting Your Article

3. Be prepared for the possibility of rejection. No matter how fantastic, well-written, and timely your article is, there’s no guarantee that a magazine will pick it up. There are lots of talented writers out there who can attest to the mountains of rejection slips they received before that first article was published.

4. Finally, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, “Never, ever give up.” No matter how often your article gets rejected, submit it to more magazines. Rejections aren’t necessarily a reflection on the quality of the material or the writing abilities of the author. It never hurts to ask the submissions editor why they rejected your article or how it could be reworked to suit their needs. You might not always get a response. However, sometimes this sort of persistence can result not only in publication, but also in the formation of a long and fruitful relationship with that magazine.

There you have it: a quick and painless method for submitting your article to a magazine, ensuring that it has the best possible chance of being picked up for publication. Good luck!

Originally posted 12/5/2008 and happily updated 11/15/2017. Thanks for reading!

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