Anyway, I started my writing career, writing short stories for the national Women's Magazines and feature articles for County Magazines. I had quite a bit of success doing this and learnt a lot. One of the most important lessons I learnt was before you write anything you should do your market research.
When writing for the magazine market it is so important you know who your audience is and what they want. One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I first started out was by Iain Patterson who told me to get hold of the contributor's guidelines. These are often available online.
Well, to be honest, when I first started out I found market research extremely difficult. But, the more I tried to do it the better I got. I now automatically pick up a magazine and look at the adverts, the letters page and the way the stories and articles are written, to get an idea of who the readership the magazine is aimed at, are.
I ask myself questions like:
- Whose viewpoint is it from?
- How long are the sentences?
- How long are the paragraphs?
- Is it in first or third person?
- What tense is it written in?
- How much dialogue is used?
- Is slang used?
- Is compression used (i.e. i'll, we've)?
- Are there any sentences beginning with And and But?
- Are there any swear words?
I beleive this was excellent training and has helped me to launch my career in to writing teacher resources because, although the writing and market is different you still need to consider who the target audience is and whether you are meeting the requirements of the in-house style.
So my advice is to anyone who wants to get published, whether it is in writing for children, adults, your publisher , or a specific ediitor - do your market research. Know who you are writing for.