It’s always painful when we spend time writing up articles only to have them rejected, time and again. However, a simple technique can turn your rejection emails in to payments. You just need to think outside the normal boxes and appeal to a different audience.
Let me set the scene. Walking, hiking and backpacking are where I draw most of my inspiration for my writing. I planned a weekend trip to a ‘mountain bothy’, a small mountain shelter that is free to use and is a great place to spend an overnight in the wild. They are little more than brick built tents. On my return, I pitched an article to several magazines specialising in hiking and mountaineering. However, they all rejected me. Feeling a bit lost and dejected, I flicked through the long list of magazines accepting submissions.
After spending some time reworking the article, I submitted to a completely different genre. Living in the city of London and then spending time in the mountains of Wales, I had the chance to see more of the stars and the heavens than I had ever seen before. Reflecting on this, I decided that it would be good to rewrite the article for a Christian magazine. After all, I am a practising Christian, and enjoy reading about others experiences so why not share my own? I spent some time considering Bible quotations and rewriting the article to reflect how the experience could bring other people closer to God. As the article was for a non-specialist magazine, I need to adapt the language and add explanations that would be required for readers to understand the context of the article. The experience of rewriting was extremely useful, not just to be published, but also to find errors and to tidy up my original article.
I pitched to the editor and almost immediately received a response, requesting some images and examples of my previous writing. The article went to features meeting where it was accepted and so I sent the final article with the photographs that I had taken on my trip. The editor was impressed with the uniqueness of the article, especially for his magazine, which led to getting the article published. Having photographs helped too, as this meant that the editor had a complete package and did not need to spend money on stock photography.
Magazines that specialise in the outdoors will undoubtedly be inundated with lots of articles on the topic of spending a night in a bothy, so to stand out and have a chance of being published you need to provide a unique angle. Whereas a publication that has a different focus might be more willing to publish as you have a different angle. Try it with one of your own rejected article pitches. Where else could you submit it? Perhaps you could rewrite the news feature for a specialist magazine into an article for a local newspaper. Or maybe a local interest story that was covered by a staff writer could be written for a national publication by you. Try different outlets for your writing, but don’t get tunnel vision into thinking it is for a specific type of publication.
My tips for turning rejections to payments:
· Try rewriting the article for a different market
· Look beyond the obvious sources of income, who else might be interested
· Find a different angle for your article
· Try to include photographs and images as editors prefer a complete packaged (you may be paid more for it!)
Nicholas Taylor is a freelance writer, working in London. Nicholas enjoys life in the outdoors, especially walking, climbing and mountain biking and draws much of his inspiration from this. He is a member of the Long Distance Walkers Association. Nicholas’ first book, ‘Tube Walks: 12 Countryside Walks from London’s Tube Stations’, is out now, available from www.lulu.com/spotlight/NickWalks. He blogs about the outdoors at http://nickhikes.wordpress.com