If you discovered that you really love writing, and are quite good at it, why not expand your journalistic aspirations beyond the blog? By expanding your reach to a different audience and platform, namely, a print format, can prove to be good for your site and personal writing career. Since I made the move in the opposite direction, from print to online, I have a few tips to impart that can help you to get started in making the leap to this new territory.
Work on Expanding The Length of Your Features
When you write exclusively for online, the mentality is that briefer, shorter bursts of posts is better- not to exceed 500 words. In print however, you will most likely experience writing longer features, which also means rearranging the way you create an introduction, conclusion, and fill in the rest with content, quotes, and research. Start practicing on your blog, or just in Word document, writing lengthier pieces; work on hitting the 1000 word marker, however, without feeling like you just filled the piece with fluff. If you publish a longer piece to your blog, interject images, and if using WordPress the “More” option, so that it isn't a long, scrolling piece on the homepage, and readers can click through to continue reading.
Do Your Homework When Pitching Articles
As you are no longer your own editor and copyeditor making all of the editorial decisions, you've got to pitch potential feature ideas to an editor. This can be time-consuming and tedious procerss, but totally worth it when you land that first article! The best way to make use of the editor's, and your, time, is by doing your homework beforehand. This means: 1) being familiar with the publication you are pitching 2) pitching to a particular section 3) making sure your pitch is appropriate for that section, and nothing exactly like it has run recently 4) making sure your pitch is similar, yet slightly different/original to what has run before in that section, and 5) contacting the proper editor/assistant for that section with your pitch.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is, but there are some tools out there to help you; use ed2010's list of publishers and magazines to find a bunch of publications in one place, and use Mediabistro's How to Pitch section (you must sign up with the site first) as a springboard into pitching, and you may even find the publication you have in mind readily available with tips and contact info!
Brush Up on Your Writing
You can take a course through Mediabistro (in person, or online), or refresh your writing skills on your own using texts and exercises, such as the AP Stylebook and Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies,
and Writing for the Fashion Business, so that you remember certain writing rules, accepted spellings of words for print, and get better at catching your mistakes before you submit your final draft to an editor. Part of the beauty of writing for online is that you can be more lax and informal with your writing style and even typos, correcting in a split second when published and discovered that something is wrong, but for print, you've got to become more disciplined in the final, well-checked, submitted piece, as the less an editor has to correct, the more they will want to work with you!
What tips would you recommend for moving from online to print writing?
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