BBC radio 2

Did you hear our how to guides on Simon Mayo's Radio 2 Drivetime show?

You may have read about Howopia in The Telegraph?

How To Approach A Magazine Editor

Your rating: None
Most writers begin their careers by submitting material to magazines, and providing we comply with all the submission guidelines, it is easy to build up a good working relationship with an editor that can often continue for many years. Editors are always looking for new talent and, with the exception of the monthly glossies that generally have a large in-house team for generating regular features, will usually respond favourably to a freelance enquiry.
Study several current back issues to get to know what is called ‘the house-style’ before sending anything to the magazine.
Websites often feature samples of back issues for a year or more, and this will tell you whether anything similar to your idea has recently been published. There is little point an editor repeating what has gone before, and often a really good article will be rejected purely for that reason.
Send a covering letter outlining the subject matter, approach and the reason why you are ‘qualified’ to write about it.
Although an email enquiry is usually fine in the first instance, do not submit material by email unless the writers’ guidelines state this is acceptable.
Editors of magazines are more likely to give words of encouragement on the rejection slip and, if they like your work, will usually say so. If this happens, it’s advisable to submit something else as quickly as possible.
Always enclose a stamped-addressed envelope with your submission but if the editor doesn’t respond within four weeks, revise the material and submit to another magazine without delay.
Lastly, always make a point of mentioning a fee when submitting, i.e. “I enclose my article for consideration at your usual fee …” This tells the editor that you expect to be paid for your work.
Every magazine has its own style and a writer needs to be mindful of the subtle differences that make a reader prefer one weekly magazine to another. An article tailored for and rejected by one publication will need some tinkering before it is sent off to another – although on first reading both magazines appear to be almost identical. And do resist the urge to carpet-bomb all the women’s magazine with the same article – it doesn’t work that way.
Seasonal material (i.e. Christmas, Easter, summer holidays, etc.,) needs to be submitted a year in advance of the publication date.
Never submit material without an accurate word count.
If an editor likes your work and you write for them regularly, don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Keep sending material to other outlets because you never know when there will be a change of editor - and the new one might want to make changes that don’t include you!


Post new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Featured writers

We have had a chat with a couple of our more experienced writers.

Find out more about their experiences and why they contribute to Howopia.

Spotlight on two writers.

Share this

How To guides

Howopia is a new website dedicated to bringing together a community of experts to create the most useful 'How To' guides, to help you to achieve almost anything.

Related links