Learning how to write a query letter is an essential step to take for any writer who wants to make a career out of their work, especially those who want to write for magazines and newspapers. Fiction writers can certainly make use of them as well when looking for agents and publishers or submitting to literary magazines, but this article will focus on pitching articles, news, and features to magazines and newspapers- we will cover fiction queries in a future post. Continue reading
One of the biggest leaps in a writer’s career is the one into magazine article writing. It’s a field where jobs are always available and success is within reach for those with talent and dedication, but it takes a lot of industry knowledge to get your foot in the door.
The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing is an attempt at providing an all-in-one resource for beginners to familiarize themselves with how the magazine article business works. It was written and compiled by a large number of magazine and journalism experts, which is good because having multiple perspectives into such a complex marketplace can help readers get a deeper understanding of it.
I would recommend doing some basic reading on the subject and developing your skills gradually through freelance writing before trying to make use of this book, because it makes certain assumptions about your skill level and may confuse someone who is completely new to writing articles in general. It’s a fantastic resource and can put you on the right track, but it won’t make a resume for you and when it comes down to it, experience is what matters- you need to take action, not just read books.
The book isn’t very heavy on jargon and when it introduces new terms and concepts, it almost always makes it clear and understandable for beginners. This is great for the business and marketing oriented chapters of the book because it’s best to have everything clearly laid out and bluntly stated, but the sections on fundamental article writing skills are too skimpy to be considered an all-in-one resource. You’ll need to do some side reading on journalism and familiarize yourself with concepts like the inverted pyramid- and of course, practice practice practice.
I consider the Handbook of Magazine Article Writing a must-read for people who aren’t familiar with querying, selling reprints/rewrites, finding markets, and common rights issues. However, if you still need help with the fundamental/non-business stuff like writing technique, researching, and interviewing, you’ll need to hone your skills and do some learning on your own before you’re ready to actually use the information in this book. One thing is for certain- if you plan on writing for magazines in the future, picking up this book will make it much easier for you.
[easyreview title="Handbook of Magazine Article Writing" cat1title="Summary:" cat1detail="A suitable introduction for beginners, but further reading and experience is required to have a real grasp on the subject." cat1rating="4"]