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Article writing: The magazine sleuth - a study in detection for article writers

The pages of a magazine tell you exactly what its editor needs, if you look carefully, says Clive Brooks

To stand any chance of having your non-fiction article published in a magazine, you need to become a detective and painstakingly comb your target publication for hidden clues to what the editor is likely to be looking for. But how do you go about it? Well, that’s what this guide is all about.

Assembling your suspects

The first thing to do is search out some magazines that you believe may be interested in the sort of articles you feel that you could write. The place to start used to be The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. However, now there are alternatives. My preferred method is to look online at the large magazine subscription sites such as www.magazine.co.uk. Information about hundreds of magazines can be found there, together with photographs of recent covers. The available publications are also usefully broken down into genres and sub-genres. Having identified potential suspects, one can visit the magazine’s individual website to glean more information. This further narrows the focus. Having identified likely markets, it’s now time to buy several sample copies of each publication. This remains the ONLY way of fully understanding what will required. Armed with these, the real detective work can commence.

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About Writing Magazine

• STAR INTERVIEW WITH LEE CHILD, the multi-million selling creator of the Jack Reacher novels • Writing wisdom from the great Greek thinkers – rules that have stood the test of time • How to make your historical fiction stand out, and top tips on the genre from author Nicola Cornick • Study the short story masters to learn the art of the unreliable narrator • The magazine sleuth - how every magazine tells you exactly what its editor needs

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