How do you get an article published?
HOW WORTHWHILE ARE ARTICLES?
Getting articles published, linked to the theme of the book, is probably the most time and cost effective means of promotion there is. We have an article appearing every week somewhere, sometimes several in one magazine a month. They do not necessarily translate directly into any sales, but it is a good way of establishing your name, building up a reputation as an "expert" in the field, and can lead to further openings, even regular columns.
We have only entered on the website, as a general rule, the major subscription magazines, unless there are ones closely targeted to our constituency. There are ten times this if you count magazines with press runs of hundreds rather than thousands, 100 times this many if you count various newsletters. If your chosen field for instance is more creative writing, whether in essay form, fiction or poetry, invest in a book like Poets Market, published by Writers Digest books, which lists 2,000 smaller magazines. Alternately, most literary magazines in particular are moving online - there's a list of several thousand at Duotrope.
HOW SHOULD I WRITE THE ARTICLE?
Tailor the approach and length to the position of the magazine. Concentrate on a central theme; make it short, sweet, meaty; give it a beginning, middle and end. The most popular articles identify reader’s problems and helps solve them. Lead them to your book, which is the real solution. There is a good piece on writing op-ed articles inhttp://www.h-net.org/~hns/opedstyle.html.
Guidelines for writing a good article;
· Keep it simple. Profound, sure, but make it memorable
· Make it unexpected. Say something to grab attention. Make the reader curious
· Make it concrete. Explain in terms of human action, sensory information
· Be credible, build a case. Use examples rather than numbers
· Get people to care about your ideas. Were hard-wired to feel things for people, not abstractions
· Tell a story
· Do not put copyright notices on the manuscript. To editors, it signals the work of amateurs distrustful and paranoid about having work stolen. Copyright notices are not necessary for protection. There is more on copyright in Copyright questions.
· Every local newspaper in the country has a reporter covering local people and events. Provide them with a good story, and say something of interest about the book that will prompt your locality to buy it, get your local bookshop to feature the article.
HOW SHOULD I SEND THE ARTICLE?
Magazines accept somewhere between 1 out of 10 or 100 submissions they receive, depending on the magazines. With poems, it can be one out of several hundred. Intelligent use of the contacts in the website, sending the right kind of articles to magazines who are becoming used to publishing our authors, will improve that ratio enormously. Check the relevant website first to see that the article is suitable (there will usually be sample articles or the latest issue), and for the submission guidelines and calendars. Some editors for instance want the article in the body of the email rather than an attachment to reduce the risk of viruses, and will not open an attachment or respond to the email. Others prefer an attachment. Others prefer hard copy. Some will accept articles previously published elsewhere, others wont. Some will take extracts from a book, others want a different angle from the book. Some want exclusive rights, particularly if they are likely to pay something, others do not. Some want short pieces that run to 500 words or less, others are looking for something more substantial that runs to 5000.
If the article is “accepted” or “published” include the date it actually prints.
Magazines often ask for an exclusive on the article. If they are paying you for it, or/and if you sign a contract, you need to stick to the terms. If they are not paying you for it, it can seem unreasonable. On the other hand you can understand their position, in that if the reader sees the same article elsewhere it can make the magazine look second hand. It is best not to approach two or more magazines of the same genre in the same country simultaneously, or publish with more than one. The genres need to be different (which might also involve a different angle in the text), or else allow two years between publication. It is different where magazines are regional in the USA; there should be no objection to your publishing with similar magazines in different geographical areas.
If you agree to an exclusive, it is fair for them to give a date by which they will publish.
For online magazines the protocol is less clear. There is little to stop people copying the article and posting it on forums etc., so it tends to spread however much an online magazine might try to restrict it to a subscribed readership. If you are not being paid for it, then in general the more widely your name is spread around the internet the better.
Your cover letter should be no more than a page. Keep it brief, personal, dont oversell yourself, but mention your published work, and the relevance of the article to the magazine.
Be respectful and polite. The vast majority of magazine editors work hard, are often underpaid, or working voluntarily, and are deluged with material. Not all of them will have comments in their guidelines like, to quote an example, e-mail submissions are acceptable, but those sent without a courteous note will not be read. We will not acknowledge e-mails redirecting us to a website, but they will all think that way.
Most editors will get back to you in a month or two, but with some it can take six months or more than a year.
There is advice on writing promotional emails in Emails.
HOW CAN I GET MAGAZINES/PAPERS TO TAKE EXTRACTS FROM MY BOOK?
Choose a suitable extract or two to offer and send in to the magazine or website directly, no need to check with us. Authors usually know best which chapter to offer. The extract from the final text pdf can be copy pasted into Word, but significant lost italics and bold fonts may need to be refomatted. Magazines often like to publish an author photo and short biography alongside the extract. So that we can maximize the impact of your promotional activity, we ask that you enter this book extract activity into your database marketing page activities with as full details as possible and continue to update its progress when the extract has been accepted and published.
Pick out whatever chunk of the book seems to fit best with that magazines approach (or, if it is a generalist magazine, the chunk that best illustrates the books main theme) and then write a short lead-in and a lead out so that the end result is an article with a beginning, middle and end. At the bottom, before the bio, you can write "Adapted from..." and give brief book details; title, ISBN, publisher, date, price.
And send a book cover graphic and headshot too (high-res if it is a print magazine).
If the extract needs to be edited to make a sense as a discrete unit, or edited/shortened for the magazine, that is fine. No need to check with us.
HOW MUCH SHOULD THEY PAY ME?
The vast majority of articles written for papers, or extracts taken from books, involve no payment. Academics write to get known amongst their peers and improve their career prospects with citations, popular authors write to promote their books. In the middle, there is a tiny cadre of journalists who can earn decent money from writing for national magazines. Which can be substantial, but you need to be in that kind of loop already. It never hurts to ask if there is payment though, and an average rate for most non-nationals is around $100 for every 1,000 words. Do insist on getting credit for the article, and a mention of your book if it is relevant to it.
If anyone requests permission to use an excerpt from the book, or a quotation, there is no need to check with us, just say "yes, the publisher agrees". We do not get into correspondence and form-filling on this. If they want to pay up to £100/$100, which is rare enough, just agree and take the money, whatever the contract says, the paperwork involved in processing it from our side and then splitting it with you etc.. is not really worth it. It only becomes a question if there is a lot of money involved, and that is unfortunately rare.
Ask for credit to be given; title, author, publisher and if they can include the imprint website. The length does not really matter, unless it is getting to be 10%+ of the book. On the timing, it is obviously preferable if it comes out around the time of publication or later. But better to have the word being spread around rather than not spread at all.