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How To Optimize Your Market Search
by Kathleen Ewing
When you are searching for the perfect market to query for the
article you plan to write, what do you do with the markets you pass
over along the way? If you simply file them for later, you are not
being frugal with your time management. You have already studied
the market once. You have a fair idea of what the editor wants and
you know what the market pays. Why would you squander your valuable
time by going through that same process every time you have an article
on your drawing board?
- While you're looking for that ideal market, identify secondary
markets for your article just in case your primary target passes
on your query. Make a list of these markets and shuffle them around
in the order you will send queries to them while you still have
the information close at hand. Better yet, create a standardized
submission form for your article and list these markets on it
in correct order so you won't have to transpose the information
later. The fewer times you write something, the more time (translation:
money) you save.
- During you search, be on the lookout for markets for other
articles you may have in the hopper. If you find a likely match
or an idea pops up unexpectedly, don't assume you will remember
at a later date what you had in mind when you first studied the
market. When you save the market to your files, make a notation
designed to jog your memory. (Ex: Indoor herb gardens; bonsai
for stress relief.) It won't do you much good if you come across
the market in six months and find yourself asking, "Why on
earth did I save that market?"
- If you find a market that will work for a reprint piece from
your published inventory, print a copy of that market and set
it in your to-do basket for the first thing tomorrow morning.
Again, make a notation about what article to send the editor,
so you'll remember if you get side-tracked by an unexpected assignment.
If you are making these notations in longhand, make them legible.
Print, if you must. Remember you need to be able to decipher your
notes in the future.
- Another possibility is that you might come across a market
for a subject that you have never written about. It might be a
topic you've been chomping at the bit to explore or simply a market
that pays those elusive big bucks. You can save it to your miscellaneous
file or your to-do basket with a note to pursue a specific train
of thought in the future.
- Once you find that perfect market for your existing article,
consider what else the editor might like to see from you. That
way, if you receive a rejection on your existing article, you
can follow it up immediately with another query while your name
is still fresh in the editor's mind.
- Enter a date at the top of every market you save. You don't
want to waste time submitting a query or an article to a market
that is no longer current or has ceased publication. A lot can
change in the publishing industry in a few months. If the date
is over six months old when you re-visit your market, update the
listing for your files before you proceed.
- Be especially cautious about sending your article to a market
with information you gleaned from a secondary source such as a
writer's website, a market book or another publication. Before
saving a market to your files, always check the guidelines information
directly at its primary source, whether it is online or print.
This is the best way to assure that it remains a viable market
and that the publisher hasn't changed the policy regarding freelance
By practicing these time-saving techniques during your next market
search, you can save yourself that most valuable of commodities
- time. Time to do what a professional writer does best—write.
© Copyright 2008, Kathleen Ewing
Kathleen Ewing is an award-winning freelance writer headquartered in Central Arizonas high country. Among her credits are feature articles for Art Calendar, American Falconry, Bend of the River, TrailBlazer and Hobby Farms magazines. Visit her blog at www.rodeowriter.blogspot.com
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