1. Know his name
This might seem obvious – but if you are able, find out the editor’s name before you query or submit your article or story. You can find out the editor’s name by looking at the first few pages of a magazine where it lists the staff, or on the ‘contact us’ link of their website. Do not address him or her by his or her first name initially. It’s a no, no. Address them either as Mr. Ms. Miss or Mrs. If they get back to you and answer just using their Christian name, then it should be fine to use for future correspondence. Keep your contact formal unless you discover otherwise.
2. Read author guidelines
It’s surprising how many newbie authors don’t take time to read the submission guidelines for a magazine or website. It can save a lot of time and trouble. If a magazine asks for articles of no more than 1000 words using a ‘how to’ style, they are going to be seriously ticked off if you submit something that’s 2 ½ K and in first person!
3. Know your target audience
It’s no use submitting an article about teenage troubles to a magazine read by the elderly. Study the magazine beforehand from cover to cover. A good clue to the intended readership of a magazine is the adverts it runs. If you see lots of ads for stairlifts, incontinence pads and magnifying specs, then it’s obviously not for spotty teenagers, whether this particular readership are young at heart or not.
4. Get Image Requirements right
Some magazine editors have a bee in their bonnet about receiving digital photographs with the right dpi. DPI stands for [dots per inch]. In fact, the dpi has nothing to do with the quality of the photograph submitted. You might send in a JPEG with a dpi of 72 and your editor may claim this is not suitable for the quality of print for the magazine. He wants you to send a picture in of a 300 dpi [this seems to be the standard asked for]. So what do you do? Well, rather than arguing with him, you can download Irfan View. This will enable you to open your picture up and change the dpi to 300 by selecting image, resize/resample option and changing to the dpi to 300, then saving a copy. Easy Peasy! Your 72dpi image is now saved as a 300dpi image http://www.irfanview.com/
5. Be flexible
If you get a bite from an editor, whatever you do, don’t go away and nurse your swollen fingers! If he shows interest in your article but asks you to add, cut or rewrite in a particular fashion, then go ahead, be flexible and show him what you’re made of as a writer. Too many writers give up when their work doesn’t immediately get accepted for publication. Be professional and be thankful he has shown an interest in your work at all. Do not throw you teddy out of the pram. Instead, evaluate his thoughts and learn from them.
6. Deliver on time
Okay, so the editor has shown an interest in your article. He wants you to add another 500 words. He would like the article in within a couple of days. It shouldn’t take you that long to come up with 500 words but you’ve procrastinated and now the deadline fast approaches. If you don’t think you can deliver on time, it’s better to say so. And even better not to have procrastinated in the first place. If he wants you to deliver — then do it. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time in this profession.
7. Do not send him a barrage of e-mails complaining
So, he’s rejected your article. Get over it. As writers we all suffer from rejection at some point. The clever writers realise each rejection is a stepping stone on to better things. If it comforts you, go and eat some chocolate or curl up in the corner, or better still, eat a lot of chocolate while curled up in the corner! Shed a tear if you must, but then dust yourself down. Whatever you do don’t send him a barrage of e-mails whinging about his rejection. If you feel you must ask why you were rejected, go ahead. He might tell you if he has the time. And if he does, pay attention, he’s not an editor for nothing. Rewrite, resend somewhere else and wait. And one day that rejection will become an acceptance if you’re persistent enough. Persistence pays off in the end — big time.
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