It is so hard to get the attentions of an agent these days, anything you can do to help yourself should be pursued. One thing that is frequently recommended is selling articles to magazines to convince your agent that you actually have the skills to write at a high enough level to be published.
I took a webinar recently on this subject. Perhaps the most important thing that was said was this simple little question: WHY? Why do you want to pitch to a magazine? Is it for money? Or to meet interesting people? Or to get more work?
Here are some tips for how to get out of the slush pile:
- Write to the Managing Editor or Acquisitions Editor, and if you can find their names on the masthead of the magazine, use them.
- Ask for small assignments first. Assume that you’ll be writing the 300-word fillers until they get to know you better.
- Don’t sign a contract before checking out the magazine. Use Google, Preditors & Editors, and Mr. Magazine.
- Take some time to find out how to write a good query letter. You could do worse than look at The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters.
- Last but not least, have fun! Write about things that you enjoy doing.
–Cynthia Haggard writes novels. She is currently seeking representation for HE MUST BE SOMEONE, a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.
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