The thought of getting your fish / face in a fishing magazine has a certain amount of appeal to it, not only for stoking your own ego and helping push your fishing superiority over your mates, but also for the satisfaction of seeing your knowledge or experience shared with others.
The thought of writing the article to achieve the above can be daunting though. How do I go about it? Who do I speak to? I can't spell! Thoughts like this can easily put a person off taking that first step. This article provides pointers on how to go about how to take the step to put your words on paper and get them printed.
Whatever your idea for an article is it pays to run it by the editor of the magazine first. In most cases their details can be found on the magazine's website or within the first few pages of the magazine. It's no use putting in the time to prepare an article to find out it's not the magazine's style or that they just featured an article of that nature the previous month.
While online have a look to see if any contributor guidelines are available. These guidelines can explain the types of articles the magazine is looking for, preferred article lengths, requirements for photographs and payment rates. This is valuable information to be aware of as it can further help you to decide whether it is worth starting to tap away on your keyboard as well as notifying you of the magazine's expectations prior to contacting the editor.
TYPES OF ARTICLES
Preferences for article types differ between magazines. Some favour technical content, some like a good story and others look for both.
Technical articles focus on the passing on of knowledge more than on a yarn. They are a what, when, where, how, why type of article. These articles explain the best tide, time and lures for targeting land based bream in the local river / estuary - on an overcast day in September and why that is the case. It will discuss the movement and feeding patterns of pink snapper schools through the year and what that means for targeting them of the metro coastline. Or it may consider ways to clean, maintain and store your tackle to improve its life and functionality. Whatever it discusses it provides information to help improve the finesse of the reader's angling skills.
|Share the buzz - if you've just tested a new Ajiking Samson-Z or jigged up one of Perth's samsonfish, write about it!
These types of articles should walk the line between explaining how something works without burying the reader in jargon or making oversized assumptions in a reader's knowledge, unless it's for a niche magazine providing specifically for that type of market. Keeping concepts simple, using illustrations or photographs to help explanations and relating your discussion to the experiences of inexperienced people can help get your message and ideas across.
Articles that focus on a story are as straight forward as the name suggests - we went to a location, we camped, we caught tailor casting lures near the reef in the evening and there were small bream in the river.
Sometimes the article may feature information gleaned from the trip which blends technical information with the story. Travel articles work particularly well in this style because they excite readers with the location and at the same time explain how to fish there. Try to use descriptive words and sentences in these types of articles. You want readers to be carried away when they read the article - to taste the salt on their lips, feel the ache in their shoulders and feel the adrenaline rush of 50 metres of Lemax braid peeling off their reel as they stand helpless waiting for it to stop. The more a reader is involved in a story the better.
STRUCTURE, SPELLING AND OTHER ISSUES
When it comes to the structure of the article keep it logical and simple in its format. Depending on the content the use of headings to break the text into blocks of information can help you keep the flow of the article and will help the reader follow what you're trying to say.
Try to keep paragraph lengths to a few sentences and use them to break up ideas under a heading further, as an example notice how the above paragraph deals with structure and this paragraph has now moved on to discuss paragraph lengths. Larger paragraphs can be used and are sometimes necessary to assist your description, just try not to cram too many ideas or points into the paragraph.
Short paragraphs can help make a point.
A lack of self belief in spelling and grammar use is an area that scares a lot of people out of writing articles but with the ease of clicking spell-check and that most magazines have their own proof reader it's really not much to worry about.
While some magazines alter the price they are willing to pay for an article based on the amount of editing they need to make this isn't something to be discouraged by. Always run a spell-check but also, try giving the article to your partner, kids or mates to read as well and you will significantly reduce the amount of errors in the document. Leave the rest to the editor. If you haven't done much writing before having another pair of eyes run over the document can be extremely beneficial. It's easy to become so immersed in drafting the article that you don't notice you've jumped a piece of information or changed topics. Someone else reading the final document will help pick up those leaps forward.
The other way to increase your chances of picking this or any other mistake up is to leave it for 24 hours, and then print and reread it. A fresh head makes a big difference.
Once you've written your first article it only gets easier. It's one of those things that once you are familiar with what the task involves you can think less about how to do it and more about doing it. So don't be afraid to get out and give it a go. If can put a few extra lures in your tackle-box, get your face in a magazine and as well as that it helps contribute to the body of knowledge always circulating regarding this fantastic sport of ours.
This article was written for Seabreeze courtesy of the Lemax Red Sword - click here for more information