The freelance writer will naturally focus on these two things:
There are two additional concerns that the writer must embrace:
To forget the audience is to forget the people to whom we are writing. Without readers, we do not have a job. To forget the editor and the needs of his/her publication is to forget that editors are not interested in promoting the arts or your career! Editors are interested in making money. They need a large circulation in order to attract the big advertising dollars. To attract a large circulation, editors need writers to be knowledgeable of the magazine's style, interest, audience, and format.
Nearly every magazine has a published set of requirements for writers to follow. These requirements or guidelines include information about the content of the magazine, the target audience of the publication, and the specific formatting required by the editor. Failure to follow these guidelines minimizes your chances of having your material selected for publication. Many editors have between 1200 and 1800 manuscripts submitted EACH month. From these , they may publish less than one percent! Obviously, writers who do not follow the guidelines and meet the needs of an editor seriously limit their own opportunities.
Writer's Market publishes each year the definitive list of active publications. Most entries contain the contact information required to obtain a copy of the writer's guidelines for that particular publication.
You may obtain a copy of a magazine's guidelines by writing the editor of the publication and requesting a copy. Include two envelopes:
Keep your request letter short, following something like this:
Place both the request letter and the SASE separately inside the outer envelope. Do not place the request letter inside the SASE!
NOTE: If you only have #9 envelopes, you may use them, but you will have to tri-fold the inner envelope. Again, it will not look as nice, but will work the same.