Writing Submissions for Magazines: How to Submit Writing to a Magazine

In this post, we look at how to handle writing submissions for magazines. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, learn how to submit writing to a magazine.

Submitting to magazines is a great way to break into the publishing world. For starters, magazine credits lend writers credibility, whether they’re publishing short stories, poems, or nonfiction articles on a subject. Beyond that, it can be a nice way to earn some money as well.
While all magazines have specific needs and guidelines, there are some universal truths that can help writers find more success. For instance, editors expect queries in certain circumstances, but they handle submissions on spec in another way.
(When should writers write on spec?)
Let’s look at how writers can find more success when submitting to magazines.

In this workshop, you will work with a published article writer to develop, research and write two articles suitable for publication in magazines you’ve identified as appropriate markets. You will get feedback from your instructor on your first and second draft of both your articles.
Click to continue.

Writing Submissions for Magazines
The first step in knowing how to approach submissions to magazines is to identify what you’re writing. That is, are you writing poetry, fiction, or nonfiction? If you’re writing nonfiction, are you writing creative or literary nonfiction, or are you writing how-to articles, informative articles, and/or profiles? Believe it or not, what you intend to write plays a huge role in how you submit.
(How to write better titles.)
So let’s look at some of the major categories:

Fiction. When it comes to fiction, magazines expect writers to submit the complete manuscript with a cover letter or note (more on that below). Most short stories run 1,500 to 5,000 words. Anything shorter is usually considered flash fiction or short short stories; some places do accept longer works, but it gets more difficult to find markets.
Poetry. The expectation with poetry is also to submit the complete manuscript with a cover letter. However, most magazines like poets to submit a grouping of poems—most commonly three to five poems in a submission.
Nonfiction. Nonfiction is a little more complicated, because it depends what type of nonfiction you’re writing on how you submit. Creative and literary nonfiction, including personal essays, is usually handled in the same way as fiction submissions. That is, submit the complete manuscript with a cover letter. However, articles that teach a skill, deliver information, and/or profile a person, place, or thing often are handled with the query letter (more on that below).

How to Submit a Complete Manuscript
When editors ask for writers to submit complete manuscripts, it usually means that they’re going to use the manuscript you submit to make their decisions on acceptance. As such, you need to make sure that manuscript is polished as much you’re able.
(Tips for self-editing.)
But what about that cover letter or note, I hear you ask. That part of your submission package is not completely irrelevant. In fact, it can sometimes be tie-breaker when two or more pieces are in competition for one publishing slot.
Here are a few tips on handling the cover letter:

Address the editor by name if available. If you can’t find the appropriate contact name, “Dear Editor” will suffice. Avoid phrases like “To whom it may concern” and “Dear gentlemen.” Also, don’t take liberties with editors’ names. Anyone who addresses me as “Bob” in their submission receives an automatic hole to dig their selves out of the rest of the submission.
Include the title(s) of your manuscript(s). I added the (s), because editors sometimes wish writers to submit multiple poems or flash fiction stories at once.
Include the genre of your submission. Since the lines can blur at times (especially if you get into prose poetry), make it obvious to the editor what you’re submitting: Poetry, Fiction, and/or Nonfiction.
Share publication credits and/or awards. If you’ve been previously published, share a few of the highlights. And by highlights, I mean three to five publications at most. Same thing with awards. If your work is accepted for publication, you can beef up your bio then, but an editor doesn’t need a list of every publication credit you’ve ever received.
Be honest without raising red flags. If you haven’t been published before, that’s fine. Don’t hide that fact, but also don’t call attention to it. That is, avoid writing a sentence or paragraph about how you’ve never been published before, or how you might be too young (or too old) to get published, or whatever other insecurity you might have. Not trying to downplay insecurities, because we all have them. Just don’t include them in your cover letter. It’s better to brief and understated than offering several reasons for an editor to think working with you might turn into a headache.

For most editors, the cover letter is something they’ll view after liking your manuscript enough to want to learn more about the writer. So a brief cover letter is not going to hurt you in that respect.
Sample Basic Cover Letter
Here’s a really basic sample cover letter to a fictional publication for someone with no previous publication credits:
Dear Editor,
Please consider my 2,000-word short fiction, “The Martian in Love.”
I’m a writer living in Suwanee, Georgia.
Thank you for your consideration,
Robert Lee Brewer
For submissions of multiple poems, don’t worry about word count. Just list the titles after your “Please consider my poems, …”
How to Submit Using a Query Letter
While a cover letter is basically a “more information” correspondence, a query is essentially a sales letter. And you’re selling yourself and your ideas. A query is a call to action in which you hope the editor will act to assign you an article to write.
Here are the basic elements of a query letter:

Hook. This can be a fascinating statistic tied to your story. Or a concise, but compelling, anecdote. Even a rhetorical question can work as a hook. The main purpose of this opening sentence is to pique the editor’s interest.
Pitch. This explains what it is you want to write. For instance, you may want to write a 1,200-word article titled “10 Easy Stretches to Avoid Hiking Injuries” that fits within a special section of a hiking magazine—or a regional magazine in the Rocky Mountains or Appalachians. Keep it concise, focused, and easy to understand and visualize. Don’t load this down with details.
More Information. This is where you can include more details and information about what your article would cover, why it’s a great fit for the magazine’s audience, and anything else that’s relevant to the article. While this is technically the “more information” section, try to keep it down to one or two paragraphs (or 50 to 200 words).
About You. As with the cover letter, keep this short and touch on highlights only. Publication credits can be relevant to showing your writing expertise. However, if your article is on parenting, a day job as a child psychologist—or, you know, being a parent—could be relevant to showing your subject expertise.

Bonus tip: Include an extra idea or two at the end of your query. Sometimes I don’t assign an article, because I’ve already got coverage or recently published something similar. However, smart freelancers include an extra idea or two at the end of their queries that they don’t flesh out. But those ideas have been known to prompt me to let a freelancer know I’m passing on the original pitch, but could you tell me more about this other idea.
Final Thoughts on How to Submit Writing to a Magazine
If you plan to get serious with submitting to magazines, then I think you should put a little thought into organization. That is, keep records of where you submit, what you submit, when you submitted it, when you received a response (if you received a response), what that response is, and any other information related to the submission.
(How to track magazine query letters and follow ups.)
Also, remember that these are good general guidelines of how to submit to magazines, but always make sure to check specific submission guidelines before submitting to a magazine or online publication. Editors know what they want and how they want it. So follow those guidelines to the letter, whether that’s a query or cover letter.
Writing Submissions for Magazines: How to Submit Writing to a Magazine by Robert Lee Brewer appeared first on Writer's Digest.




Bonnie Tsui: Author Spotlight

Bonnie Tsui, author of the new book Why We Swim, shares the patience required to write a book about living people and why she chose the publisher she did.

Bonnie Tsui (c) Lynsay Skiba
Name (byline): Bonnie Tsui
Literary agent (if one): Danielle Svetcov, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary
Book title: Why We Swim
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Expected release date: April 14, 2020
Genre/category: Nonfiction
Elevator pitch for the book (1-2 sentence pitch): A cultural and scientific exploration of our human relationship with water and swimming
Previous titles (if any) by the author: American Chinatown
What prompted you to write this book?
There are so many books about running, from the mechanics of it to the evolutionary biology of it—I think about Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run as the gold standard for a narrative book that tells a great yarn, and also a larger story about our human relationship with something essential. I’m a lifelong swimmer—my parents met in a swimming pool in Hong Kong!—and I wanted that kind of a book about swimming. I wanted to create a really interesting read with compelling characters that worked on a story level and also engaged at the 30,000-foot level with ideas that were big and satisfying.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process? 
Holy smokes yes. I thought about the book for years—I wrote an essay about swimming six years ago that people really responded to, and I thought, OK, maybe this is something I’ll really try to do. I started gathering intriguing stories about swimming about five years ago, in a back-burner sort of way, but I had a lot of trouble figuring out the structure and organizing principle of the book. It wasn’t until three years ago that a really smart editor friend of mine looked at the material I’d collected and said, Why don’t you just call it something like Why We Swim? And then all the pieces fell into place—the stories fell into five different ways of answering that question: for survival, well-being, community, competition, flow. My agent sold the book on proposal a few months later, and then I started reporting and writing in earnest. And here we are.
[Read our previous author spotlight with Maisy Card here.]
Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 
I learned from my previous experience with American Chinatown that I didn’t want to be with a big publishing house. I didn’t want to be one of a thousand books coming out in the same month, fighting for air and then forgotten. I wanted a more intimate working relationship with an editor and publishing team, so I went with Algonquin. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have been astounded every day by how amazing and engaged the team is, every step of the way, and how much they love books, on a personal, human level. I adore everyone there.
Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? 
Waiting is not easy, and this book taught me how important it is to be patient. There’s a central character in the book who was a real wild card, in that for the longest time I wasn’t sure if I’d get to talk with or meet with him. We wrote to each other for a year before I finally flew to Iceland to see him in person. Up until the day we met, I wasn’t sure he would agree to it. I’m very glad he did.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
A sense of immersion and wonder. And the desire—even if you don’t think of yourself as a swimmer!—to get in the water.
If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?
Books are hard and they take an obscenely long time (even my seven-year-old knows this by now!). But if you find that you can’t stop thinking about a particular book idea, even on your downtime and in your dreams, it’s time to write it.

Order your copy of Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui today.
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[WD uses affiliate links.]
Bonnie Tsui: Author Spotlight by Amy Jones appeared first on Writer's Digest.




Dear Diary

Characters reading letters or diary entries is a great way to reveal backstory and a character’s thoughts. Some books, such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, have been told entirely in the format.

Creative Writing Prompt: Dear Diary
Write a diary entry or a letter from your character’s point of view. Are they re-discovering events from the past, or recording today’s events so they don’t forget? Do they have a unique perspective? Who are they writing to and why?
Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.
Dear Diary by Cassandra Lipp appeared first on Writer's Digest.




Designing A Sustainable Future

Social responsibility, a notion that in modern times became limited to the wider reaches of the pure at heart, has slowly seen a resurgence back into the limelight and finds itself again in general public discourse. Individuals, companies and organizations are no longer seeing themselves as islands, but as partners in a circle of civic responsibility encompassing the people around them.
In his wildly popular book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, Charles Montgomery outlines how urban design and the emerging science of happiness are coming together to dynamically change how citizens benefit and interact with their surroundings.
“The places we build, they change the way we move,” Montgomery said.
“They change the way we feel. They change the way we treat other people, in ways that most of us don’t even imagine.”
They also have the power to change your lifespan, with studies indicating that those who live socially integrated lives can live up to 15 years longer than their isolated counterparts.
Forward-thinking, holistic 21st century architects aren’t just making buildings and houses, they’re building the infrastructure and foundations to make our lives happier and healthier, with easier mobility, connectivity, accessibility and room for social interactions.
Students looking for urban design inclusivity, courses focused on creating living sustainability, and ethical principles driving the ethos of institutions and their faculty might be interested in these future-facing architecture Masters programs:
Alvar Aalto, the godfather of modern Finnish architecture, once said: “Architecture and its details are in some way all part of biology,” like a salmon born upstream needing to travel hundreds of miles, there’s a journey we take before getting to a crystalized idea.
At the world’s northern-most architectural design school, their ethos isn’t just focused on being environmentally adaptable, inventive and steeped in Finland’s own concept of sisu (resilience), it also teaches its students about social responsibility, creating smart cities, and how to be conscientious architects for a better world.
“The teachers here are all very respectful people,” said Master’s student Albanor Krasniqi, from Kosovo.

“Our school is quite small, every class has only 30-40 people. We’re like family here,” he describes.
Oulu’s programme is a two-year long Masters course, with students having previously undertaken topics that include adaptive urban lighting, building sustainable winter cities, and urban planning for good health in cold climates. Using its cold Nordic climate as a backdrop, students are tasked with incorporating environmental light into their design, collaborating in projects with a host of multi-cultural classmates, in an international and holistic-minded setting.
Students starting their first year at the University of Bath’s MA in Architecture will dive right into the practical side of the course, with a semester-long placement at an architectural practice.
Getting hands-on experience, combined with the department’s philosophical tradition of critical rationalism, students are expected to not just design, but to create a discourse with their environment, critiquing and analysing as they go along.
Combining practical work and classroom theory, fledgling architects learn as much about principles as they do with everyday management. Moving into their second year, students explore specific areas of interest to them in studio and group work, focusing on sustainable building and urban design solutions, and eventually getting tasked with picking a city of their choice and fulfilling a design brief.
Humanist principles provide the foundation at Politecnico di Milano’s Architecture and Urban Design Masters programme, at Italy’s largest polytechnical institution, where their coursework marries theory, art and design. MA students are encouraged to tap into their own innovation when looking for pragmatic solutions to urban design and traditional housing, applying building techniques grounded in environmental sustainability.

Boasting of illustrious alumni that includes Vittorio Gregotti, the world-renown architect who redesigned Barcelona’s Montjuic Stadium for the 1992 Olympics, the course includes some his guiding principles, including architectural preservation and the history of contemporary architecture.
Adapting design and solutions to sundry spaces, students are encouraged to tackle and solve complex problems with the professional responsibility they owe to the world around them.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of Switzerland’s picturesque Medieval city of Lucerne, nestled between the Swiss Alps and the glistening lake sharing its namesake, Lucerne UAS teaches Masters students from around the world how to navigate the increasingly nebulous world of technology and context.
Design courses focus on four main areas: structure, energy, material and the practical implementation of these elements. With classes taught in both English and German, students have the option of spending a third semester abroad at a partner university. At Lucerne UAS, would-be architects are encouraged to mix theory and research in a dynamic setting.
*Some of the institutions featured on this article are commercial partners of Study International
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Making+Meaning: Spark creativity with a crash course in architecture and design
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Designing A Sustainable Future




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