In their article, Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet outline a simple, but effective way to maximize your opportunities to be published. Summarized in a single phrase, their advice, echoing the advice of many others is:
Simply put, to optimize your chances for being published, you must write for a particular magazine. This is even more true today than in the past. Today, there are literally hundreds of specialized magazines, each catering to a very specialized segment of the population. To be published in one of these magazines, you must meet the peculiar needs of the magizine and the specific expectations of its readers. This is not new advice, as Hal and Charlie point out in their article:
Even William Faulkner, who would go on to win a Nobel Prize, used such market study in the 1920s. Determined to break into the "slicks," he collected them for a decade, read them voraciously, and noted their fascination with death and the grotesque. As a result, he deliberately fashioned such a story and published in The Forum "A Rose for Emily." From that point on, Saturday Evening Post and Scribner's paid him very well.
"The SALE technique is nothing more than a simplified method of market analysis applied specifically to magazines. It involves four steps:
Sampling what you like, then, precedes that godfather of all creative cliches--write abaout what you know....Pick up a copy of Writer's Market and scan your favorite category, whether it be juvenile or Jewish, regional or religious, to see what's available. Get hold of a few issues....No matter what field you're attracted to, read as much in that area as possibloe. Then select one magazine you'd enjoy writing for.
If you want to cut the odds against you even further, verify your chart with secondary aids. Basic sourcebooks such as Fiction Writer's Market, Writer's Market, and Magazine Industry Market Place provide helpful, though brief, synopses of most magazines' specific needs. To stay more current, scan periodical such as Writer's Digest, Publishers Weekly, Folio, The Press, Impact, and New York Times Review of Books, paying particular attention to market reports and interviews with editors.
There is no secret to getting your material published. You must: