Before I got published the first time, I imagined having to go through a lot of rejection.
Then I went to the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Portland. Freelance writer Jen Stevens spelled out all the steps and made it look so easy.
So I followed every suggestion she made… and got published on the first try. Then I did it again. And again.
Here’s what I did, and how you can up your chances of getting published on your next try, too:
** 1. I picked a publication that fit my style, and would therefore be more likely to publish something from me. I was living in Portland, Oregon, and loving the city, so I picked Oregon.com.
** 2. Paying attention to the length of the articles and sidebars, I carefully read through the stories on the website. At the workshop, Jen, who’d once been a magazine editor for a number of years, said that the easier you make an editor’s job, the more professional you’ll look… setting yourself apart from other writers. I wanted to make sure my article followed the exact same format as the articles in the publication.
** 3. I read the writer’s guidelines. Usually, you’ll find them on the publication’s website, but there weren’t any guidelines on Oregon.com. I wrote to the editor, informing him that I was a travel writer interested in writing for his publication, and asked if he had guidelines he could send me. He did. Jen stressed the importance of this over and over at the workshop, so…
** 4. I read the writer’s guidelines again. I followed every suggestion in them, tailoring my article to the exact length requested, with a sidebar exactly as the editor wanted.
** 5. I crossed my fingers… and sent in my story. Some editors prefer that you query first, others want you to send the entire article. I always make sure to figure out how the editor wants my story before sending it in.
The editor wrote back the very same day. He was more than pleased… he was excited that the story followed all of his specifications, fit in with the other articles in the magazine, and didn’t need any extra work. He paid me, and asked when I could send him another story.
Jen Stevens says that if you don’t get published the first time, don’t worry. Just ask yourself: does my story fit in with the style of this publication? Have they already published something like it? Where else can I submit it?
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]