All publications - online, print, trade, glossy, international - all run smoothly thanks to the great invention that is the editorial calendar. Almost all publications will have their editorial calendar displayed on their website and some reference might be made to it on their print editions as well. As a writer, whether you want to write for glossies, trade mags or otherwise, this is a great tool for pitching articles. Most websites will have this information in their About Us section or in the Contribute section. You can see what broader topics they will address during the year as well as any specific interest areas they are keen to focus on. If this happens to be an interest area for you as a writer, then this is your job half done. All you need to do is formulate a few article ideas based on the editorial calendar and shoot them out to the editor. They will definitely reply if the pitch is on-target.
If this is a topic you don't know much about but are willing to write on, send in a query to the editor and see if they have any specific stories they'd like to assign you. If you don't see an editorial calendar on the website then go ahead and inquire with the magazine - they probably have one they don't share, have not updated the latest calendar online, or have all their stories assigned and don't need more writers. Many magazines prepare for issues 3-6 months in advance so it might help to check with the editor which issue you can pitch for.
In my experience, working with an editorial calendar has been the best. If I am pitching to a new magazine, then I look for the calendar on their site. If I find it, then I write in to the editor highlighting the stories I'd be interested in and checking which months I should pitch for. If I don't find it, I write in asking if there is one and if it could be shared so I can pitch. I have never had someone reply saying no! Many magazines, especially the new up and coming ones, are always looking for writers and are very happy when you reach out to them for assignments.
That said, here are the links to editorial calendars for a few magazines. Maybe you will find some ideas here and an opportunity to write:
1. Buckhaven Lifestyle
2. Computer World
3. Architectural Record
5. Mother Earth News
The last I remember this was a fairly easy process. You set up an account on Yahoo to contribute to their growing number of articles. You can choose to write your own topics and have the editors review for publication. Or you can check on the assignment desk and see what types of articles they are looking for, and submit content in keeping with their requirements. Most times this is something very easy and requires just your personal experience or some very basic searching online. The articles almost always get published right away unless you did something terribly wrong and did not follow all instructions. Sometimes they can even get rejected or sent back for corrections but most times they get approved right away. Some of them you get paid for on publication and some you get paid for based on views - either ways once the article is published, there is infinite opportunity for it to be viewed and read so it is always fun when out of the blue, you get a few dollars deposited in your account for performance pays for these articles you submitted long long ago. All you need is an active PayPal account and this could be an additional course of surprise income for you :) Read my latest here or see other articles I have written and sign up for your own account.
You know every once in a while how you are puffing and panting to get a project out, then you second guess yourself like a few million times and keep cussing as to why you have these brilliant ideas in the first place, but then know that this is one of those projects you will be really pleased with once it comes to fruition? Well, today is one of those days for me! Big sigh of relief. PHEW! Seriously. Was all worked up over this one piece that I was the one that pitched it in the first place but knew it would be great once it was published but had to work so hard on it since it was my first piece with this specific outlet and so finally managed to give it all my TLC and submitted it so now begins the thumb-twiddling to know if it is accepted or not 'cos seriously the last thing I want is to have a re-edit on my head with this on. So. now. I. wait...
I read a few different websites and articles everyday pertaining to my writing, editing and proofreading services. I am not saying any of those sources are right or wrong but they always provide some food for thought. I get new ideas to work on, or maybe there is something I am forgetting or overlooking in my work that I am reminded of. So here is one such website that I hop on over to read up every once in a while - let me know what you think? Are there other helpful websites you would like to share?
A few articles in and most of us have figured out what is the best manner for us to query or pitch an article to a prospective publisher, be that print or online. Of course, some media outlets are very specific in their accepted formats for query letters and article pitches. But I believe most are laid back enough to be at the receiving end of an email that is addressed to the appropriate contact on staff, and clearly states what the article idea is, what the story will cover, who the sources will be or where information will be gathered from. In my experience, I have just mailed in to a publication asking if I can write for them. If the answer is yes, then I proceed with poking around their website and ideating on possible stories I can do for them. I have not written for too many publications but for the few that I have, I have never been asked to provide a query or pitch in a particular pre-specified manner. I would definitely be interested in knowing how you query or pitch for your articles, and what methods have proved successful or futile. Please share them here as comments to my blog post.
I began writing for Associated Content, now Yahoo Voices, out of the sheer need to write and see my work online in the days of 'when I was unemployed'. It felt nice to jump on their article suggestions and submit work which they accepted...I even got pay per view money so why not?! I continue to write articles there ranging from Atlanta attractions to small business, vacation and travel to going green, networking even. Here is a link to my latest article -
My Green New Year's Resolution - Say no to Plastics!