Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The making of a magazine

(sixth in a series)

Every now and then, I receive an e-mail or letter from a potential contributor who wants his or her article to appear in WildBird and goes about it in the completely wrong way. Here’s the sixth wrong way: proposing a travel article to a location that you've visited only once or twice.

It can be difficult for anyone, even really observant birders and writers, to collect enough details for a useful, entertaining travel article -- emphasis on "useful." Theoretically, that article will provide the foundation for readers' trips to the destination.

If you haven't visited a birding spot multiple times throughout the seasons, then you might not have enough experience with the location and its birdlife to write about them accurately. If you have limited experience with a site and write an article that leads to problems for the editor, then you might find yourself on the Never Again List.

Editors trust their writers to provide accurate information. If you break that trust, then you might've ended the relationship with that magazine and/or that editor. Not to sound like a broken record, but this is a business transaction, with the magazine's credibility at risk if writers fail to provide accurate info.

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