Sample Copies -- Your
By Suzan L.
© 2006, Suzan L. Wiener
(A previous version was published in
The Writer's Ezine)
you ever wonder why other writers know what to send to editors and their
work gets accepted when yours doesn't? The reason is a simple one. It's
because they have done their homework and invested in sample copies of the
publications they submit to. This way, writers know what the editors of the
publications want and can gear their article or story to get an acceptance.
They also know the issues the publications address, and whether or not the
issues they want to write about have been done already. No matter how great
an article is, an editor won't accept it if they have already published
something too similar.
When you send for magazine guidelines, do you try to lower the expense by
not getting a sample copy? It's definitely not a good idea. The editor may
even change the focus of their magazine, making the guidelines outdated by
the time you get them.
Often, having just one copy of the publication isn't enough. You need at
least three or four current issues to make sure you're on top of what type
of articles are being accepted. I get many more acceptances if I know the
magazine or e-zine thoroughly. It reflects in my writing and the editor
knows it, too.
you have a copy of the publication you want to submit to, you won't waste
your time writing a piece like one the editor has already used. And, the
editor won't look at your work thinking you're a beginner. Don't forget,
editors receive lots of manuscripts every week. Doing your homework is
definitely a plus.
is amazing how fast editors will change the type of articles and stories
they use. It's not easy for writers to keep up, but they must if they want
to get that most-welcomed acceptance letter and check. Editors appreciate
articles that are geared exactly to their audience; it doesn't even matter
if they come from the slush pile. An editor will happily accept your work
and use your material again and again -- if you know their publication well.
you can't afford to buy individual sample copies, inquire about a discounted
subscription rate. It is often less expensive to become a subscriber than to
pay for individual sample copies. Many publications offer special
Also, check your local library to see which publications are available
there. If you can't check one out, simply photocopy the pages you want to
keep. There is often a photo copier at the library you can use with a
nominal fee. Check with your writing friends to see if you can trade
publications, too. I have saved a lot of money doing this.
Editors don't have to know that you are a beginner; your work will be viewed
like that of a seasoned writer -- if you do your homework first. You will be
glad you did.