Monday, August 14, 2006

The making of a magazine

(fifth 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 fifth wrong way: failing to read the submission guidelines.

To the best of my knowledge, most publications provide guidelines so that writers and photographers can learn about the magazine's focus, preferences, policies and procedures. A writer who fails to check the guidelines could be shooting himself in the foot.

Where do you find this treasure trove of tips? Look online, of course. If a thorough hunt doesn't reveal the electronic document, then send a self-addressed stamped envelope with your request for the magazine's guidelines. (Please, use online resources and e-mail as much as possible. They typically make an editor's job much easier.)

When scrutinizing a magazine's submission guidelines, take note of things like this:

"The magazine does not accept unsolicited manuscripts and photo submissions. Please send a detailed query that proposes your story idea or asks if we have a need for the particular photographs that you would like to submit."
and this:

"We do NOT want stories about a weekend visit to a top birding area. We would rather have someone intimately familiar with the region ... to write the article."
and this:

Many writers expect final review of the edited version of their manuscripts – a standard practice at many birding and ornithological journals. WildBird does not follow that practice.
Close scrutiny of the guidelines can help you discern if you and the magazine/editor are a good fit for a satisfying transaction. Always keep in mind that this is a business transaction.

Want to see the previous snafu?


Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

You have me thinking of trying to do a query...and you better BELIEVE that I would follow all your rules!
You're scary! :-)

August 14, 2006 7:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

LOL! Scary? No.
Trying to adhere to professional standards? Yes!

August 15, 2006 9:32 AM  
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