Submitting Your Article to a Magazine in Four Easy Steps

By JoEllen Taylor, FirstEditing

So you’ve written the perfect article on…whatever…and you’re ready to submit it for publication. But wait—how do you go about article submission? What secret codes must be cracked, what publishing gods appeased, in order for your article to see print?

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

  1. Know—and follow– the submission guidelines of the magazine! Most magazines have submission guidelines in their hard copies 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 with a book publisher, outlining your article, its intended audience and the reasons it’s ideal for their publication. 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—and 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
  3. Be prepared for the possibility of rejection: no matter how wonderful, 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 is rejected, submit it to more magazines. Rejections aren’t necessarily a reflection on the quality of the article or the writing abilities of the author. It never hurts to ask the submissions editor why your article was rejected and  how it could be reworked to suit their needs. You might not always get a response, but sometimes this sort of persistence and willingness to revise your article to meet the magazine’s current needs 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 and ensuring that it has the best possible chance of being picked up for publication. Good luck!

JoEllen Taylor is Director of Marketing & Business Development for FirstEditing. Since 1994, has created and proofread more than 200,000 documents for clients worldwide. Professional editors contracted by FirstEditing have advanced degrees, extensive experience in writing & editing, and a history of successfully published books & articles.