51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2002
Before reading this book, I'd written and sold a couple of short fiction stories but had never tried nonfiction. I liked the idea of writing magazine articles but had no idea how to go about it. I picked up "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles" because I like their simplified approach to topics and because I'd read the other IDIOT'S GUIDE Sheree Bykofsky co-wrote (Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published).
The Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles gives you a no-nonsense approach from start to finish, covering things like studying the market, generating ideas, querying editors, assignments, conducting interviews, and actually writing the article, as well as some tips on book proposals, the life of a magazine writer (waiting/praying for checks), even taxes.
After I read "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles" I thought up a couple ideas, fired off some queries, and sold three articles the month after I bought the book. Now I'm working on assignment (not spec) writing a second piece for one of the magazines to which I sold an article last month.
If you can write and if you have something interesting to say, this book and a copy of "Writer's Market" are the twin pillars on which you can build a freelance career.
New Orleans, LA
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
If jokes and verbose trying-to-be-clever writing were advertising, this book would be Oprah Magazine. But more on that later--I just needed a lead as per chapter 19 "Hook 'Em Early, Hook 'Em Hard."
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles" is like an introduction 101 survey class to this topic. Among many other things, it covers the basics of the entire process from generating article ideas, to writing query letters to conducting interviews, writing basics, and even how freelance writers deal with taxes. Like a 101 class, this book provides breadth but not depth. Most beginning magazine writers will likely need more of the material on earlier parts of the process such as studying the market and writing query letters rather than dealing with taxes and contracts. However, as a survey course, they do have their place, with the exception of the chapter on writing books and book proposals. For an excellent, more in depth treatment of query letters, a topic a novice will definitely need, I recommend "How to Write Irresistible Query Letters" by Lisa Collier Cool.
Having published a handful of freelance pieces and knowing the basics of the process, I can tell you the information is provided is good, sound advice. My problem with the book is that you have to wade through so much verbose trying-to-be clever chatty writing to get to the basics you need as a freelance magazine writer. It's like the authors, unbridled from the tight word counts and no nonsense editing of magazines went nuts trying to be cute and clever. For one of many examples, there's a section called "Ratatatatat: Machine Gun Writing" which begins, "Do you feel like Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard' right about now? What the heck do we mean when we say machine gun writing?" Then there's another paragraph before they get to the definition. I think this book could have been edited by about 1/3 with no loss of content.
None-the-less, I appreciated the content in between the jokes, even though some of it was not in depth enough to my liking, such as the brief section on how to get clips. I especially liked the interviews with magazine editors discussing what writers need to do to break into writing for their publications. If you need an intro 101 survey of the career of freelance writing and don't mind wading through all the chatty wisecracking writing, this is the book for you.
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2001
I bought this book last September because it was the only book I could find that included Web writing and email queries. It has been an enormous help.
I also really liked the advice on finding a niche. Since I'm an accredited breastfeeding counselor, mine has turned out to be pregnancy, breastfeeding, and babies. I guess I'm doing something right, because I've sold three feature articles to ePregnancy.com, Breastfeeding Baby Steps and Best Foot Forward. Another will be posted soon.
In addition, I've gotten two article assignments from a local parenting magazine, one on swimming programs for young children and another on baby-wearing (slings, wraps, etc.).
I've been meaning to write a review for many weeks, but considering my young kids and my new writing career, I've been pleasantly busy. This has helped me get started with online publishing in a field I know well. I consider this a great book!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2004
Fabulous book! I picked up "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles", and after reading all of the wonderful advice and tips, I had the marvelous experience of having my very first submitted article (ever!) retained by a big national magazine (and they only accept 10 in 1,000 from freelancers).
I saw a few comments about the book being heavy on travel writing information, but I did not find that to be true at all. I also agree with the reviewer who said that a career in freelancing can begin with this book and a current copy of "Writers Market".
I highly recommend this book for those interested in magazine writing. A BIG *THANK YOU* to the authors of this helpful manual!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2003
I've always had a writing bug and I love to tell other people about neat things that I've done. So, at the beginning of 2003, I picked up the book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles."
First, I brainstormed about what to write. Then, I used the ideas in the book to determine which magazines to target first. I wrote several articles using the tips on writing effective articles. And, finally, I wrote a few query letters.
I approached 2 magazines with 1 article in February and 2 other magazines with another article in March and April. The first article was rejected both times. The second article was rejected once in March, but some interest was expressed by the second magazine in April. After a month or so of back and forth communication, the second publication (Nuts & Volts, for electronic hobbyists) agreed to buy my article. My family and friends were quite impressed when they visited their local ...bookstores and saw that my article was the main, headliner article on the cover of the July 2003 issue!
What more can I say but, "the advise in this book works!"
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
I wish this had been the first book on writing magazine articles I had bought instead of number 60-something. There is information in this book that I'd never seen in other books.
I highly recommend this book, especially to those starting out
in their writing career. It covers practically everything the
new writer needs to know; I can't think of anything that was left out.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles," by Sheree Bykofsky, Jennifer Basye Sander, and Lynne Rominger, is a straightforward yet entertaining book about the world of freelance writing. In such a book you might expect to find the typical information on writers' guidelines, stamped self-addressed envelopes, query letters, and making sure you spell editors' names correctly--and you will find that here. However, you'll also find quite a few other, less expected things.
The authors do not assume familiarity with the industry. They walk you through the rewards of being a freelance writer, explain why magazines hire freelancers and what freelancers do for magazines, share some success stories from real freelancers, share information from editors on what they look for in a writer, and provide a "reality check" to help you decide if this is what you really want to do. This book is particularly good about pointing out all of the mistaken attitudes, inadvertent errors and inappropriate assumptions that can mess up your chances. And it does it without either coddling you or harshing on you.
This book came out in 2000, but it does a good job of covering the basics of online publication--better than I've seen in many other places, actually. It doesn't just cover online versions of print magazines or a brief discussion of electronic rights. Instead it goes in-depth into 'zines, content providers, building your own web site in order to attract editors to you, and so on. It also goes into the business side of writing: business filing, taxes and contracts. It discusses how you can choose and create a specialty for yourself, and how you can decide whether or not you should develop an article into a book proposal!
This is a fantastic book. It contains only a handful of typos of the wouldn't-be-caught-by-a-spell-checker variety (most people probably wouldn't even notice). The advice is helpful and encouraging yet practical and realistic. I've rarely seen an approach that so clearly manages to convey the things to watch out for when freelancing without becoming preachy, condescending or morose, and there's plenty of advice in here that I haven't seen repeated in a dozen other places.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2001
Publishing Magazine Articles encourages you to pursue your love of free-lance writing for magazines, newspapers, and online content. However, Chapter 5 gives you a reality check by giving you the "real scoop" on being a free-lance writer. In other words, you have to be able to be persistent and accept rejection without quitting. If you can get past Chapter 5 and say to yourself, "Yes, freelance writing is still for me!", then the rest of the book is your key to becoming a successful free-lance writer.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Over the last week or so, I've been reading The Complete Idiot's Guide To Publishing Magazine Articles by Sheree Bykofsky, Jennifer Basye Sander, and Lynne Rominger. If you're inclined to want to explore this area of freelance writing, I would readily recommend this book for you.
The authors take a topic with an abundance of material and present it in an entertaining, digestible fashion. They cover topics from what a freelance writer does, the basics of writing, and how the periodical industry works, to how to write an effective article and how to treat your writing as a business. When you finish, you'll be able to tell whether this is something you want to pursue, as well as how to get started.
For me, I learned some tips on writing style (which is always good). I also received some confirmation that steps I've taken already are leading me down the right path.
Bottom line... this is an excellent book to move you further along in the periodical freelancing area.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2001
As a freelance writer who has published fiction, poetry, and articles in over 100 different newspapers and magazines (including COSMOPOLITAN and WOMAN'S DAY), I am always looking for ways to improve my chances of turning every article I write into a lucrative sale. Reading this book has really made a valuable difference in the way I market my magazine articles. The authors (Sheree Bykofsky, Jennifer Basye Sander, and Lynne Rominger) have the background and experience to impart all kinds of juicy nuggets of knowledge to both the beginning writer and the seasoned professional.
Two of my favorite sections in the book are "Setting Up Your Business" and "Taxes and the Writer." I have never known a writer (myself included) savvy enough to be able to completely master the nuts and bolts of freelancing, to the writer's greatest financial benefit. For me, buying this book was worth it just for the invaluable advice in those two chapters alone.
You won't regret buying this book and reading it cover-to-cover, then reading it again and again and again. The knowledge you gain from these pages just might give a major boost to YOUR writing career.