Breaking into Print Magazines:Where to submit an article or a feature.
By virtue of your experience in getting published your articles, as a writer in factoidz, you might have been emboldened to venture further to break into print magazines.
However, unlike on line writing, breaking into print magazines is more arduous and really an adventurous task. Before venturing to break into print magazines, you must know how to differentiate an article from a feature.
An article is generally informative in nature dealing with any subject and will have a long lasting effect when printed in a magazine; whereas a feature is based on a current and sensational topic that may lose its relevance in course of time. In other words, the impact of a feature is short lived, transitory and ephemeral.
Some editors of print magazines may prefer only articles that may have a long lasting effect, besides evoking a general interest covering a variety of subjects, to cater to the needs of their readers and to carry on the general nature and tradition of their magazine; whereas a feature is preferred by some editors so as to remain topical, current and trendy.
An article can be written by researching the available sources from books and other relevant sources on line. However, writing a feature on a current topic demands more research, interviews, illustrations through photographs so as to ensure accuracy on the given topic. While an article does not contain the verbatim accounts, a feature invariably contains the quotes from relevant persons. For example, a feature on currently very popular celebrity will have excerpts or quotes from the interviews, opinions or quotes from the die-hard fans of the celebrity etc.
Similarly, a feature on a recent fire accident in a school that killed more than 60 children, will have quotes from the parents of victims, general public regarding the lack of fire safety measures etc at the school are very relevant and of course very essential.
Therefore before submitting an article or a feature to a print magazine, thoroughly research the magazine. In fact, a few popular magazines published in India, such as India Today, by its very nature and as its name suggests, publishes mostly features on current topics of national and international importance in politics, economics and sports etc.You can always read a feature on the ongoing Asia Cup or the most recently concluded India-Australia test series or ODI series. But, as a writer you should also know that India Today has its own staff writers and editors making their own contributions to the magazine. But the Economist, yet another popular weekly magazine published in India is entirely a different magazine. Contrary to its name, the Economist publishes articles on a wide range of topics of general interest. Recently, I have read an article on cancer in the Economist! Similarly, the Indian National dailies such as the Hindu, the Times of India, the New Indian Express and the Deccan Chronicle etc have their own weekly magazines containing interesting general articles covering a wide range of topics such as book reviews, health related issues, sex problems, weight loss, culinary articles and articles on celebrities. Recently, in the Hindu, Sun day magazine,I read an article on a popular foot ball player. Besides, the Hindu offers open page on specific week days for contributions from writers on any topic of interest. But the article must be problem oriented.
Similarly, there are some magazines published fortnightly with features exclusively concentrating on investigative journalism such as ‘Kumudam Reporter’ ‘Junior Vikatan’ etc and the features are mostly based on recently reported political and social problems and issues.
Therefore knowing pretty well how to differentiate an article from a feature, you must study and research the print magazines for their nature of content. Once you have finished the research, you can proceed to either write an article or a feature for a print magazine. However, before submitting any article or a feature, it is always advisable to submit a query letter to the concerned editor of the magazine. Also, you should pay attention that your queries should be made well in advance to a relevant magazine with an outline of your article or a feature.
As a writer you should be studious, alert and constantly on the look out for openings and ever ready to grab the opportunities thrown open to you. Then you are sure to break into print magazines. To conclude with an inspiring quote from Lao Tse:“ Many a miles of long journey is begun only with a small step.”