The rub is that most would-be authors get pretty shabby results.
They conclude that they can't write, or that submitting articles
isn't an effective means of promotion. At least not unless you're
a "big name."
Almost anyone can write articles of acceptable quality to be
published online. You needn't be a literary wizard, nor
well-known. It's simply that like most things in life, there's a
right, and a wrong way to do it.
Below are several easy ways you can get an editor to trash your
article – EVEN if they LIKE what you say!
* Don't Check Spelling And Grammar Thoroughly
Even with electronic spell checkers, this is still a killer. Be
particularly careful with words that sound alike but have
different meanings (homophones). Should that be "there" or
"their"? "Your" or "you're"?
Another trouble spot is the apostrophe ('). An apostrophe should
be used to indicate possession (John's car), dropped letters
(don't) and characters/words mentioned as themselves (ID's). And
remember, "it's" means "it is."
Most editors don't expect you to be perfect. However, a piece
littered with obvious errors is unlikely to be published.
* Write In Long, Dense Paragraphs
Long, unbroken runs of text are visually unappealing, and act as
a subconscious block to reading (looks like too much hard work).
People are in a hurry, so information needs to be presented in a
way they can scan for points of interest.
* Ramble And Use Wordy Sentences
Providing great information is not enough. People read to learn,
but also seek excitement. Instant gratification. They lack the
time to be patient, so stick to the point.
When you've finished writing, start deleting. Cut unnecessary
sentences. Look for superfluous 'filler' words and repetitions.
Delete them. Add more punch and drive by killing adjectives.
* Use Gratuitous Self Promotion
There's no greater turn-off than an article that proclaims the
author or their product wonderful. People want to discover your
qualities for themselves. Your article is the medium.
If you want to sell yourself; display your knowledge, innovative
thinking, character. To promote a product, talk about a common
problem or need, educate, perhaps tell a story. Provide
interesting information. Only mention the product subtly, or not
at all, leaving it for your by-line.
* Over-indulge On Your Resource Box
It's generally accepted that your resource box, or "About the
author" by-line should be no more than 6 lines in length. Many
publishers will object to anything longer, and unless your
article is particularly exceptional, they'll bin it.
* Don't Use The Standard Format
Most ezine editors expect your article to be in this format:
Plain text, hard wrapped at 60-65 characters per line.
It's the only way to guarantee the piece appears as intended.
Anything else creates extra work for the editor, either
reformatting, deleting HTML code, or fixing incorrectly printing
characters. To save time, such articles are passed over.
* Send Your Article As An Attachment.
Attachments require opening, something that may be put off and
forgotten about. Worse still, the legitimate fear of virus
infection means many people delete them on sight. Paste your
article into the body of the email, so editors can scan through
* Send Multiple Copies
It's tiresome to have to delete 2 or 3 copies of your article
each time you make a submission. And it tells the recipient you
don't value their time. A source of annoyance, your article will
lose points in comparison to other articles of equal merit: The
subconscious mind is a powerful thing!
Check your submission list for duplicate domains. Those from free
email accounts are usually obvious, but if you're unsure, check.
It takes less than a minute to paste a domain name into a browser
and load the site. How much money would you make if your article
was published? Worth a minute?
* Say How Wonderful Your Article Is
All too often I receive article submissions that start something
"Hi! Here's a great new article for your ezine that your
subscribers will love!"
Few ezine editors will appreciate YOU telling them your work is
great. Or that THEIR subscribers will love it, especially when
it's obvious you don't even know the editor's name, nor the title
of their ezine. This tactic might work on a new publisher, but
will lead many of the more seasoned to ignore you.
Most of the articles an editor receives are passed over for one
reason or another. The secret is to stack the odds in YOUR favor.
Give editors what they want and you WILL be rewarded!
About the Author
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