I recently attended a question-and-answer session with writer/editors who work for two prominent magazines you’ve definitely heard of—one online and one print—and they both had this advice, which was their best advice for writers hoping to break into journalism:
- Before you pitch your idea to a magazine, research the sh*t out of it. Read the magazine every day for a month (if it’s online) and get back issues if it’s monthly. Find out why your idea is perfect for that magazine and show the editors that you care when you pitch them.
- Contrary to popular belief, editors are always looking for pitches from smart writers with unique voices. But apparently, somewhere around 90 percent of all pitches they receive are generic, copied-and-pasted crap that shows little interest in the publication or an understanding of how that idea would fit with its voice and style.
- Fortunately, social media makes caring about a publication very easy to do; find the publication you want to write for and “follow” it religiously on Facebook, Twitter, etc., so that you can get a feel for its packaging and approach to content.
Personally, I’m not particularly interested in journalism or creative nonfiction. This is probably because I don’t care a whole lot about popular culture.
However, I recognize that some people are interested in journalism and perhaps do care a lot about popular culture. There is a good intersection here for you, if so—good luck!