Monday, September 21, 2015

My First Non-Fiction Article in a Magazine

I'm happy to say that I wrote an article for the newest issue of Renaissance Magazine (#104). It's my first official publishing credit in a traditional market. I'm sure some people are wondering how I got an article accepted into a print magazine, so here's how the process works.

1. Write a Query/Pitch Letter 

When you write a novel, you don't write a query letter until your manuscript is written, edited, and polished. But writing non-fiction is the exact opposite. You start with a query letter on a potential topic, which you send to a magazine you think might be interested. I referred to this website while I was crafting my pitch, and there are tons of other sites for freelance writers that have other helpful tips. I chose a topic I'm familiar with and passionate about (Medieval Plainsong), as well as one that I knew would have plenty of good source material. The editor of Renaissance Magazine replied to my query with some helpful suggestions that he felt would make my article fit the magazine's audience. 

2. Research

Once my query was approved, I started researching my topic. Since I'm a musician who loves music history, I already had a few books with good information, but I also scoured my local library and bought another book on my kindle for more raw material. Depending on what your article is about, you may want to conduct interviews or reach out to experts for accurate information.

3. Write

Once I had enough information, I wrote outlined my ideas and started writing my article. I found the trickiest part was crafting an exciting opening hook. In this respect, writing non-fiction isn't so different than writing fiction; you still need gripping language. After all, you're still telling a story; it's just that this one happens to be true.

4. Edit

I edited my article careful and had multiple beta readers read it for me. They gave me plenty of good advice and helped me make sure my article didn't get too technical for a general audience. 

5.  Submit

One of the nice things about non-fiction is you know someone wants your article before you write it. In my case, the editor at Renaissance Magazine was very enthusiastic about my article when he read it, so I didn't have to make any major revisions. However, it's important to note that sometimes an editor might want you to change things, so be open-minded.

Renaissance Magazine is available at Barnes and Noble as well as online, if you'd like to check out the article I wrote, "Medieval Plainsong."

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