The hardest thing I’ve had to do so far is to assemble a market list.  A market list contains the magazines you want to query with your article idea.  Going through the Writer’s Market, I reviewed many publications that at first glance seemed like they would work.  But little by little, you have to put a strong list together, with mags that pay on acceptanceat the top of the list.  This makes a lot of sense, since you don’t want to query a magazine editor, get the go ahead for the article, write it, submit it, and wait until it is actually published to get paid.  That could be a year or more.  Magazines that pay when the article is actually published are referred to as pay on publication.  This is important, since a market list needs to have the best paying, most compatible magazine at the top of the list.  You would want to send the query letter to the first magazine and wait for acceptance or rejection.  If necessary, you would send your query to the next magazine on the list and wait for acceptance or rejection.  Just keep doing that until someone (an editor) says they want to see your article or you run out of magazines to query!

After your article has been published, you are free to resell the article to magazines that buy reprint rights.  You can sell an article many times as a reprint and make a pretty decent amount of money this way.  So the attractive thing about travel writing is that there are many opportunities to sell an article once you’ve been in print.

There are also sales to newspapers.  You can send out an article to many newspapers and you will hope to sell many copies to regional newspapers.  The are some rules to follow here, so be sure to do your research to avoid running into problems.

Constructing the List

I used a spreadsheet to build a market list.  I started with an empty column, then the title of the magazine in the next column, then in the next columns I listed how the magazine pays (on acceptance or on publication), and the percentage of freelance articles bought by the magazine.  The next columns had the number of words the magazine usually buys for feature articles, columns and departments.  I followed that up with the amount the magazine pays.  The last two columns were the “category” of the article (travel, history, family, etc.) and then if it was available, I copied the URL of the magazine’s guidelines to the last column so I could click it and review that particular pub’s guidelines quickly.  Once I have all of this information, I can copy and paste it into a new spreadsheet when I want to build a new market list for the next article idea.

The first column mentioned above was initially left blank.  As I did more research on the magazines, I assigned a number to each one.  When I had gone through all of the magazines and ranked them, I sorted the data and the #1 magazine appears at the top.  It’s easy to order the list this way when the research is done.  You can construct your list any way that works for you.

Here’s what the finished list looks like: One thing that is missing is the name of the editor and their email address.  I’ll add that info as I get it for future reference.

I’m nearly finished with my query letter and I’ll be sending it in the next few days.  I had to make some changes to it, but now I’m ready to move forward.  Wish me luck!

I’m anxious to hear from any writers out there who have been through this process.  What can you add to the mix?

If you want to get an expert’s guidance on how to successfully sell your articles, please consider purchasing a copy of Gordon Burgett’s excellent book titled The Travel Writer’s Guide.  This is the best book on the mechanics of selling your work to magazines I’ve ever come across.  It has given me the confidence and encouragement I needed to start working toward my writing goals.

How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days
Test Your Niche Book First!
Travel Writer’s Guide (Trade Paperback Book)

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