Writing a feature article
So you've chosen your subject matter and the magazine you're looking to submit to. You've also done your research and found a new spin to develop - your working theme and the crux of your article which you can sum up in a sentence or two...
And you've found out the Editor's name...
What happens next?
Before you put the meat of your article together, draft a query letter. This is the equivalent of a sales pitch and should contain these five key ingredients:
Write a paragraph introducing yourself and introducing your subject matter.
The second paragraph focuses on the Editor's needs. This is some basic detail about your article based on the general editorial policy of the magazine and the target readership.
Paragraph three briefly outlines the content and appropriateness of your article and why the publication’s readers would want this information.
The fourth paragraph explains why you are qualified to write this piece. Your credentials and your knowledge of not only the subject matter, but the magazine as well.
This final paragraph is very short. Think of it as your action statement telling the Editor what you plan to do next. Indicate you will call to follow up and state when. Unless specifically requested, don't wait for the Editor to call you.
Whilst you wait to follow up, keep researching. If you get a rejection, you'll be best placed to re-work the article for another magazine with a quick turn-around.
After the research has taken place, organise it all. Make the time to do this. Many writers don't.
When you've taken a deep breath, or two, now is the time to piece the article together and write it. If you've ordered your research, this process will be a dream. Draw up a quick outline first: Intro, three main points and a conclusion. Keep it simple. Depending on the article length, I'll add more main points if the word count demands it. Write a grabbing intro that makes the point of your subject matter, use your main points to prove it and then wrap up all the detail of the article in your conclusion.
Finally, revise and edit your work. Look for typos, grammatical errors, repetitive words and awkward phrasing. Get someone else to proof for you if your eye keeps missing things. Another technique is to read the piece aloud.
All of this hard work and careful prep will pay off when the Editor requests to see the finished article. If you follow my advice above, you will get to this stage.
GOOD LUCK & HAPPY WRITING!
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