I am struggling to find markets or magazines to write for. Can you give me some pointers please?
This came in from a student tackling her second assignment, and at this stage of the course I always say two words:
When you start the non-fiction assignments, many of you just see those magazines on the newsagents shelves as things to read. In the past, whenever you have flicked through the pages of a magazine, however glossy they may be, you've been looking through them AS A READER. Now, we're trying to train you to look through them AS A WRITER.
So if you don't know which magazines to write for, my first suggestion is to look at the magazines that you already buy as a reader. These magazines are great because as a regular reader, you're already carrying out that market analysis on a regular basis. Although you probably don't realise it, you do actually know what you enjoy reading in the magazine as a reader. You therefore know which ideas may work, and which won't. My very first magazine successes were with publications that I was a regular subscriber to.
If you don't subscribe or buy magazines on a regular basis, then write a list of all the other hobbies that you have. Do you enjoy gardening? What about walking? Got an interest in researching family history or travelling to exotic places? Make a list and then take it with you to the largest newsagents you can find in your area. Buy a couple of magazines on those subjects and then read them as you would read any magazine. When you've done that, now go through them again using your new analytical skills to look at where the writing opportunities may lie. The great thing about flicking through the magazines like this, is that a published article may well inspire an idea of your own.
The important point to remember is that when you're writing about something, if it's a subject that you enjoy, this enjoyment will show through in your writing. If you're not interested in a subject, then readers will be able to spot this quickly. So when looking for new markets, always begin by looking for subjects tackling actitivies that you personally enjoy doing.