I’ve been doing this submission attempt backwards. Yes, I have 60 articles started, finished, half-done . . . so I’ve been choosing one to work on, working on it and then as it is in the final draft, searching for a market to submit it to.
As I look through the Writers Market, I see topics I could write on, or have written on, but none of them are matching the article I am trying to submit. I’m doing it backwards! I need to look through the Writers Market and as I find ideas to submit, look through what I have written on that topic.
The poetry article I’ve written is superb, but I don’t see the exact market for it. The elements of writing article is also very good, but again, I did not find the exact market for it. However, I do see markets that remind me of pieces I have written and that’s the way I will go about submitting my work. First the market, then the piece. I won’t be writing to the market, but finding something I’ve already written to send as I find suitable markets.
The Writers Market is a very big book and contains much information. Sometimes I get so engrossed in reading it that I am surprised to see that a couple hours have passed since I sat down with it. I never submit anywhere, without checking out the website that is listed and browsing through a copy of the magazine.
Editors are busy people and you must respect their time. If I want them to seriously consider my work, I need to seriously consider their publication. What kind of voice do they buy? What kind of articles? How long are most of their pieces? To whom should I send my submission? What is their lead time and what is their basic beliefs?
When I hone in on a magazine because I think I have something they might be interested in publishing, I study them much as I studied books in school. I get to know them. Sometimes that means I realize the piece I planned to submit is not a good fit. Sometimes it means I’ve struck gold and I think they will like what I’m sending.
Homework. Authors write, but they also do homework to market their writing. At some point I would like to have an agent who can do some of this searching for me. For now, I will search the markets and then look for an appropriate submission.
The poetry article is shelved for now, but I feel like I will come across a good market for it before all is said and done.