Do You Really Want to Get Published?
Write for Trade Magazines!
by Mary Anne Hahn
Have you been repeatedly snubbed by consumer magazines?
Do you have little to show for your research and querying
efforts other than a folder of form rejection letters?
If your writing dream includes earning a halfway decent
to excellent income writing magazine articles, there are
editors at thousands and thousands of publications worldwide
who would open their doors (and their wallets) to work
with you. You've probably never heard of most of them,
but they have loyal readerships. They're called "trade
Trade magazines are periodicals that are published for
and read by members of specific trade groups, occupations,
and/or persons involved in particular types of business.
From nurses to building contractors, electrical engineers
to restaurant owners, there's a magazine (and sometimes
several) that is produced with their interests, needs
and issues in mind. Most are available by subscription
only, or as a premium for membership in an organization
or association. They range from award-winning glossies
to modest, staple-bound publications.
And many of them would love to hear from, and work with,
reliable writers. Moreover, most of them pay--some of
them, very well.
But how do you get started writing for trade magazines?
What qualifications do you need to write for them, what
types of articles do they need, and where do you find
them? Let's look at each of these questions separately.
1. Getting Started
My personal experience in writing for trade magazines
came after examining my own career background. What did
I know about, what jobs had I held, with what industries
was I familiar? I listed everything, from my high school
and college job as a supermarket cashier to my experiences
as a trainer and supervisor. I then decided to focus initially
on the occupation that most interested me, supervision,
and began to brainstorm article ideas and search for potential
markets revolved around that.
This isn't the only way to break into writing for trades,
however. Are there occupations or businesses you would
love to learn and write about, but have no work experience
in? Do you know people who do them, or could you go through
a local Chamber of Commerce or trade association chapter
to meet such people? You can also conduct a search for
professionals in nearly every field online, via such sites
as http://www2.profnet.com or http://www.experts.com (typing
"find an expert" into the Google search box
will provide you with a plethora of similar sites).
Once you find your "experts," ask questions
and listen. What are their work days like? What tools
and skills do they use to do their job? What challenges
do they face? What would make their jobs easier, faster,
of higher quality, and/or more cost effective? What kinds
of information, products or services would make them more
successful? The answers to these questions will lead you
to all sorts of possible article ideas.
2. What qualifications do you need to write for trade
While it may help immensely to have an education or background
in a particular trade or industry to break into writing
for its trade magazines, it's not essential. As with querying
consumer magazines, showing that you have done, or can
do, research on the topic, and mentioning the sources
you'll tap when writing the actual article, will go a
long way in piquing an editor's interest.
3. What types of articles do trade magazines carry?
Except for the fact that trade publications have a narrower
focus than their consumer cousins, the types of articles
they carry fall into familiar categories:
As stated above, use your own experience as a springboard
or your interviews with people in the field to generate
article ideas appropriate to the magazine's readership
that you are targeting.
- news items specific to the magazine's occupation
or industry focus
- products and trends
- how-to articles
- personal/professional experience articles (e.g.,
case histories, company and professional profiles,
4. Where can you find or learn about available trade magazines?
You can obtain fre^e one-year subscriptions to hundreds
of different trade magazines at TradePub (http://i.nl03.net/ltr0/?
_m=01.009i.2f.mfm.2f ). From "Today's Chemist at
Work" to "Poultry International," from
"Beverage World" to "Diesel Progress,"
you'll find a bountiful garden of potential markets that
can keep you in writing business for years to come.
You'll also find Kendall Hanson's book, "Writing
for Trade Magazines" (http://tinyurl.com/yqher) enormously
helpful. In it, he includes information on many of the
major publishers in the trade magazine industry, as well
as many additional tips on breaking in.
Finally, just keep your eyes and ears open--trade magazines
lie in waiting rooms everywhere, from doctor's offices
to automobile repair shops. And don't hesitate to ask
your friendly neighborhood plumber, hair stylist, CEO,
salesperson or pet shop owner if they receive any magazines
specific to their industries, and whether or not they
have back copies they could lend to you.
While writing for "Aqua" (the pool and spa trade
magazine), "Equipment Today" or "Sign Builder
Illustrated" may not sound as glamorous as getting
published in, say, "Glamour," you'll find these
markets immensely more accommodating, their editors more
accessible, and the bylines and paychecks satisfying.
Plus, you can always use your clips to make the leap into
better known magazines, or re-slant your trade articles
for consumer publications.
No matter how you look at it, writing for trade magazines
is an excellent way to get published, and get paid for
About The Author
Mary Anne Hahn publishes WriteSuccess, the free biweekly
ezine that helps writers pursue *successful* writing careers.
Subscribe today by visiting http://writesuccess.com.