As the Editor-in-Chief of Exemplify Online & Magazine, I handle a lot of article submissions. Often times I find myself skipping over a potential magazine article because it is not submitted professionally.
I asked Amy if she would so kindly allow me to guest post so I could offer a few pieces of simple editorial advice to those of you who are interested in getting published in magazines or on ministry blogs.
And because Amy is awesome (you know she is) she said, “Yes!”
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 article submission tips:
1. Familiarize yourself with the magazine/website you are submitting to. Every magazine, website and ministry has their own specific purpose and personality. You don’t want to submit an article on hunting to a magazine on fashion. This is why it is very important to get the feel of the magazine you are submitting to. Once you have the personality of the magazine down, then sit down to craft an article that will best compliment an upcoming issue.
2. Get involved in the community. One of the first things I look for when I have a potential submission in front of me is if the writer is involved in the community we’re building at Exemplify. This is not the only thing I look for but it is does contribute. By getting involved in the community you long to write for, you learn invaluable information about the readership and their interests. Often times, I know a writer’s name before I even open the email they sent me because I’ve seen them commenting on Exemplify’s blog, active in our social site or on our blogroll. I do give preference to those who are actively engaged in our ministry because it is clear they value our mission and support our ministry.
3. Read the submission guidelines. Different ministries and publications have different submission guidelines. What Heart of the Matter Online is looking for may not be what Exemplify Magazine is looking for. Both ministries strive to serve their community of readers with an excellence tailored to their readership which is why there is a submission guideline process to begin with! Be sure to read up on it and follow it closely.
4. Triple check your work. Ladies, this is such a big one. I cannot tell you the amount of submissions I receive that are filled to the brim with typos, grammatical errors and common mistakes. I’m not looking for perfection when an article hits my desk but I am looking for an article that looks as though some time and effort went into it. There is a certain level of professionalism that is needed when trying to get published.
Here are some quick tips to submitting a better article:
- Have a friend proof your work before you send it in for consideration.
- Read it aloud a few times before hitting that send button.
- Write on a topic you are passionate about. This alone will raise the bar for your submission.
- Spell check, spell check, spell check!
Recently I received a submission pitch that had 3 typos in the subject line of the email! As far as first impressions go, that is not one I suggest.
5. Triple check your work! In case you missed it, proof your work!
6. Be personable. If you are pitching an article, show some personality in your email to the editor or team member you contacted. Editors see a lot of article pitches and not every one will be able to make it to publication.
I can’t tell you how many women contact me on a daily basis and don’t even spell my first name correctly! Now, I don’t base whether or not a pitch will make it into article form on that alone but take some time to consider what you are going to write and who you are writing to. Aim to make an impression and you are much more likely to get the go ahead to write that article you’ve been itching to share.
7. Include all of your contact information. This one seems like a given, but I promise you, it is not. Don’t forget to include your name, email and blog link at the bottom of your email. Many of the ministries that accept submissions are receiving a lot of submissions. If an editor has to search for the person’s contact information, chances are that editor will move on to the next email.
8. Include a writing sample and a link to your blog. This is by far the most common mistake I see. If you send an email seeking the go-ahead to submit an article be sure to include a writing reference. If you don’t include a writing sample, or at the very least, a link to your blog you leave the editor with a choice to make: Track down a writing sample or move on.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, more often than not that editor is going to move on.
9. Submit for the right reasons. Don’t submit an article just because you want to get published. Submit an article because you feel strongly about the topic you are writing on and the ministry you are submitting to. Submitting simply to get published comes off as impassive and rarely results in the edification of the reader.
10. Be patient. Last Thursday I woke up to 757 emails. Some days it is nearly impossible to read all the email Exemplify generates.
Often times I find that I receive multiple emails asking if I’ve had a chance to look over a submission that was sent in a day or so earlier.
Please keep in mind that the women who serve you behind the scenes of publication driven sites, conference sites and devotional sites work very hard at at bringing you the best content they can.They are very busy.
You may have to wait a few weeks to hear back on that email. Instead of getting impatient about it, take that time to pray for the ministry you want to write for. God will honor your patience. And every ministry I know of would welcome the prayer!
It is my hope these practical tips will help you get published the next time you submit an article to the ministry you’d like to support. As a matter of fact, if you put these tips into practice I welcome you to submit an article to Exemplify Online & Magazine. We are currently looking for new writers to join our team and articles for the 2010 year! Hop on over to http://exemplifyonline.com/media/ to read those details.
I also have it on good authority ; ) that major changes are coming to Exemplify this Autumn. We will be launching many new interactive features that will better serve our readers. Stay tuned for details on our website and in the magazine on the big changes coming!
It is my joy to serve you,
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