You have a message, and you want to share it with the world. Publishing an article in a popular magazine is one way to do this. However, simply having a good idea isn’t always enough to achieve success in the highly competitive magazine publishing world. In many cases it comes down to your initial correspondence with an editor. These tips on how to grab an editor’s attention come from Tyler Graham, author of The Happiness Diet and formerly an editor for several publications, including Prevention, Men’s Journal and Details.
- Do your research. A sure-fire way to get noticed is to have significant knowledge of the publication and the stories it has published. Express your understanding of the magazine in your correspondence.
- Keep it fresh. Make sure your idea is new and interesting. Editors are wary of printing something they’ve already covered. A generic story on CrossFit® will be overlooked—but a unique take on CrossFit that hasn’t been explored might yield success.
- Skip the formalities. Before the Internet, it was common practice to submit a hard-copy query letter, a resumé and a self-addressed stamped envelope. These days, a simple, conversational email will suffice. And don’t worry too much about catchy subject lines. Graham says he is more likely to open an email that doesn’t have a subject line at all.
- Pretend you’re friends. You’re writing a letter to someone you don’t know, but don’t act that way. Write the letter as if you were trying to get your friends excited about the subject. The first sentence should say something like, “Hey, Tyler, I have an awesome idea . . .” Who wouldn’t read that?
- Pitch a few ideas. If you have a great new idea, and you’ve researched everything the magazine has done before and you have the perfect pitch, you might want to include a few supplementary story ideas. This gives the editor some options if the initial pitch falls flat. Just make sure the other ideas follow the same general theme, such as exercise or nutrition.