When a would-be writer starts writing he is initially interested in writing what he feels he can write about. Any problem? Well, it may be a good starting point if it’s going to be a hobby. But it’d be a whole different thing if the aim is to write for publications.
You want to be a freelancer. You know you can write, Ok? You are done with a nice article, well structured, well researched and very topical. You have high hopes. You send it out only to receive a diplomatic regret note saying “The editor has read it with much interest, but regrets he cannot use it.” Not a pleasant situation, isn’t it? Those who’ve been through it know very well what this means. A huge number of articles are rejected this way; often with no explanation at all. That’s even worse. You are disappointed; you shake your head with a big “WHY?”
If you sit back and reflect you’ll definitely find the answer. Either the publication you’ve sent your work to is not the right one, or your subject is not right, or even if it is you’ve adopted the wrong angle. You haven’t done your homework properly.
A good homework before writing is vital if you want to minimize rejections. That’s what makes the difference between beginners and professionals in writing.
A beginner will look for the article idea first, write it down and send it to the publication with the hope that it’ll get through. He’ll send it to any publication at hand without any analysis.
A professional on the other hand will carefully plan his writing. First he’ll decide for which publication he’s going to write. He’ll make what is called a publication analysis and compile a reader profile. He’ll get all the details of the publication, like its frequency of issue; what the guidelines say. Is it a paying market? What kind of article it features, who are the readers, what is their social status, things like that which will help him decide whether to write for it or not. It is only if he decides to give it a go that he’ll develop the idea for an article and query the editor before writing the article. He’ll target mainly the specialist publications, which value competent writers. He thus stands a better chance.
The above is only a glimpse of some of the aspects you need to consider before settling for writing, especially as a freelancer. Of course there’s a lot more and beyond the scope of this article. Anyway if you want to write for publications look for what the editor wants. You’ll then have a greater chance of acceptance and save your article being binned.
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].