One Writer’s Journey

November 6, 2014

Guidelines vs the published magazine

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:18 am
Tags: , ,

MagazinesWhen my students look at magazine markets, I tell them to study both the magazine’s guidelines and the published magazine.  The reason for this is that they often tell very different stories.

What do I mean?  Let’s say that you are looking at the guidelines for Great-Kids-Mag.  They tell you that they want crafts, science activities and games.  They also want history set in the US and abroad as well as multicultural pieces for the US and the larger world.  That’s great, because you have a multicultural piece about Cuba American’s that you’d like to submit.

But then you look at the published magazine.  You can’t look at just one or two issues.  You should study from 6 months to a year so that you get a more complete picture.

What you find is a little confusing.  You find lots and lots of world history and world cultures, and US history, but nothing multicultural set in the US.

What does this tell you?  It might be that the publisher really does what multicultural work set here but doesn’t get anything that they can use.  It might also mean that the guidelines are simply not up to date.  Would I still submit the Cuban American piece?  Maybe.  But first I would probably send them something set in Cuba.  If I got a rejection letter saying that they already had enough set abroad, I’d have my answer.  If I made a sale . . . there really isn’t a down side to that because I’d have a sale.

As much as we like to think that guidelines tell the whole story, take a look at the magazine.  It takes longer to study but it often gives a more realistic picture of what the publisher is actually buying.  Guidelines give you word count, pay rates and editor names.




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