What Magazine Should I Pitch?

When you begin trying to turn an idea into an article, part of the process involves determining what publication you will pitch. With all of the magazines out there, how can you choose the right one?

Actually, early in my career I heard a great piece of advice that I would like to pass along to you...start with magazines that you already read.

If you have a few magazine subscriptions, flip through the pages and begin looking at them as a writer instead of a reader. Think about what kinds of articles they usually run. Is there something you could write for them?

You have an advantage doing this because you are already familiar with the magazine and the subject matter that they cover. You know what the reader is looking for--because you are one of them. Although this doesn't guarantee that you will get a query accepted, it does up your chances a bit. It offers a good starting place.

Another good tip is to choose a magazine that matches your tone as a writer. For example, I tend to be a fairly straightforward writer; not given to using trendy language or an overly casual tone. For me, trying to get published in a magazine that has a "pop culture" feel to it would be an uphill battle. While it isn't totally impossible, I will probably up my chances if I select a magazine that matches my general "voice".

Consider a trade magazineif you have an area of expertise. People often overlook these publications as a way to break into print, but they typically are less competitive and some of them pay well. When I first began writing I did a lot of articles for Dance Teacher, since I came from a 20+ year background in the art form. It's a great way to begin building some clips. (More on trade mags later in the series)

If you have gotten a piece published in a magazine, pitch another one to the same editor. I'm not quite sure why, but some writers will get something accepted, get paid, and then start looking for another market to conquer (I was actually guilty of doing this myself when I started out). If you already have an "in" with a particular magazine, by all means, use it.

A few suggestions about what not to do...

  • Don't pitch a magazine that you haven't studied. There is nothing worse than getting a note back from an editor that says they love your idea but just ran an article on it last month. It really makes you look like an amateur.
  • Don't hesitate to pitch a big magazine if you have a good idea. My first two credits in print were for pretty large publications.
  • Don't overlook smaller, local publications that are distributed in the area where you live.

Deciding what magazine to send a query to is a very important part of the process. Be sure you are maximizing your chances by following the guidelines above. If you have something to share that might be helpful for other writers, please don't hesitate to leave a comment...

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2 thoughts on “What Magazine Should I Pitch?”

  1. Great suggestions, Catherine. Up to this point, all of my print articles have been through my ghostwriting, which I love, but I have been thinking about marketing for articles under my byline. So, your post is very timely.


  2. Thank you for the suggestions. I just pitched an article to Entrepreneur.com (Entrepreneur Magazine), and I’m working on a few other pitches. I found a magazine for my other pitch about pets and romantic relationships, but I need to find publications for my pitches on education and teens, leadership/HR, and spirituality. I’ll conduct a Google search and see what comes up.


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