“We’d love to publish your article.”
Every writer longs to hear those words. So how can you improve your odds of hearing “yes” instead of “no, thank you”? Here are seven article submission tips to help you win over any editor.
1. Research the Publisher
Take the time to become familiar with the types of articles that are published.
For example, the guest articles published by Barefoot Writer Magazine fall into three main categories — have you noticed what they are? (Hint: The Table of Contents is a good place to start looking.)
But don’t stop there — you also need to be aware of what’s been published recently. If they’ve just done a series on SEO, it’s unlikely there is a need for another article on the same subject right now. Instead, look for other relevant topics that may have been overlooked.
2. Research the Audience
The goal of every editor is to resonate with the audience and to give them valuable information that is useful in their lives or businesses. Who will read your article and how can you help the publisher meet their goal?
Remember, while you benefit when your article is published, it must first be a benefit to the reader.
3. Follow the Publisher’s Guidelines
Websites and print publications that accept guest contributors will usually have published guidelines that include article length, style, and submission guidelines. Follow them!
Unless the editor requests otherwise, submit your article in a Word document, with your name and publication in the file name.
Any images in the article should be sent in a separate file and free from copyright infringement.
Never send your article within the email message, expecting the editor to copy and paste it into a Word document. Really… never.
4. Understand the Impact of an Editorial Calendar
Editors work within the framework of an editorial calendar. In addition, they often work several weeks… even months in advance.
That means you may submit an article in May, but it’s not published until August… or later. Don’t let that upset or worry you! It’s simply the nature of the business.
Showing awareness of their editorial calendar by asking if there are any upcoming article needs is usually welcome… especially if you’ve already had an article accepted.
5. Start with an Idea
While submitting an article to an editor is acceptable, often it’s better to submit an idea.
Be sure to communicate your Big Idea and enough information so the editor can determine how the article will fit with others that have been published.
You may get a reply that says, “Great idea, but I’d like you to change the focus to ‘X’.” That’s ideal, because then you know your article will meet their needs and the needs of the audience.
Plus, it allows you to demonstrate that you are willing to be flexible — a huge help to the editor.
6. Meet your Deadline
If you’ve been given a deadline, hit it. Better yet, be early. Editors are deadline-driven and appreciate knowing that you will submit your article on time. They may still publish your article if you’re late, but will be much less likely to look to you for future work.
Should something happen that is truly out of your control, let them know as soon as possible and name a new date for when you can deliver the article. Last minute surprises are always unwelcome ones.
7. Be Gracious
This is a step beyond “be easy to work with.” Being gracious is being willing to make changes to the article or accept the editor’s changes.
And, it’s understanding that they may not be able to read your article immediately after you submit it. That doesn’t mean they don’t like it — it just means they are busy.
Being gracious also means saying “thank you” for publishing the article, especially if you’re being paid for it. Above all, you want to position yourself as a writer who wants to help the editor do their job more easily.
So there you have it — now that you know how to submit your articles and get them published, look for websites, newsletters, and print publications where you can add your unique value and pitch your idea!