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Every article you write should be as perfect as you can make it if you plan to sell the article. If you are not going to sell the article but instead put it out on the Internet for public display, what should the standard be?

Look at it this way. You are a landscape painter of good reputation. You sell your landscapes for up to $3500 each. You work hard on these paintings trying to use the best available subject, the best quality canvasses and paints, and the best skills you can muster. When a painting is finished you sign it which says, "I Joe Blow painted this landscape."

If your reputation as an artist is good, there will always be a demand for your paintings. Would you jeopardize your reputation by putting out a series of paintings with poor subject selection, inferior canvas and paints, and sloppy skills?

Of course not!

So think the same way about your writing.

As some of you know, I will write on any subject from ?aardvarks? to ?zeppelins.? Most writers focus on certain related subject areas like medicine, marketing, or snowmobiling.

When you choose a subject you choose an audience. The reverse should also be true. If you choose an audience you must choose a subject in which that audience is interested.

Let's pretend that you want to sell an article to a magazine that focuses on a particular audience. Let's say the audience is people who raise fish as a hobby but only in salt water. The magazine is called Salt Water Fish Monthly.

You have written a dandy article on raising guppies. Would you send that to Salt Water Fish Monthly?

Answer: No! Guppies are fresh water fish. Also they are so common that even fresh-water fish hobby magazines would show no interest unless you had developed a new strain of guppy purple in color with pink poke-a-dots.

Also, don't send that article on detecting prostate cancer early to Salt Water Fish Monthly.

So that brings up a new area for discussion, doesn't it? Your article should be original and fresh and up-to-date.

I write many articles for the Internet. I don't think too much about the topic. I will write on anything because I'm writing for fun.

I try to find a category for my finished article in the category list of www.ezinearticles.com.

That listing is limited and is still in a state of flux as the editor adds new topics.

For example: If I write an article on a history subject, where do I put it?

There is no history category under Education and Reference. I study the article and decide the closest fit. I may just put it under the broad heading Education and Reference. Often, I put such articles under ?Kids and Teens.? I put my UFO articles there also as there is no science fiction category.

I don't expect the editor to study my titles and add categories just for me. He has over 12000 writers to deal with. But I am one of the top writers in terms of volume, so maybe I will get some consideration for future categories.

When searching for an article on the Internet, what do you do?

Answer: You type in keywords.

We www.ezinearticles.com writers are allowed to place a limited number of keywords for each article. I generally would like to add more keywords than are allowed, so I have to edit my keywords carefully.

And now I will tell you a secret. Knowing the keyword population being used on the Internet is a valuable asset for an Internet writer. Marilyn Monroe visited our unit in Korea. The article I wrote on the subject is very popular. Why? Her name is a top listed Internet keyword.

My most popular article Ten Reasons David Letterman Wears White Sox is popular because David Letterman is popular. This article was a very slow starter but then took off and continues to rush by my other articles in terms of number of readers. It just passed Bed Bug Bites or Chicken Pox: A Definitive Analysis.

Bed bugs are back so there is a big audience for bed bugs.

Here are some considerations for your article:

1. Does it have broad interest (BI) or a limited special interest (LSI)?

2. If it has LSI, submit it to a publication that you have studied (more than one issue) that focuses on the exact audience you want to reach. You might query the publication first and receive their author guidelines.

3. An editor may want you to modify your LSI article. Just do it! Don't argue with editors. You will generally lose. If you really don't want to change your little jewel, then withdraw the article, cutting off your pay check.

4. When you write your article I suggest you just start writing. When you come to an areas that you have little knowledge, don't stop writing. Just put a bunch of dashes where the missing information will go.

When you finish the draft, see if there is some kind of order that can be pursued. Write an outline to follow.

Now do some research to fill in the blanks.

Try to find fresh up-to-date data for your article.

Put your thoughts in your article. It's your canvas, isn't it?

5. Keep sending the article out to one magazine at a time until you sell it. If an editor gives comments or suggestion, consider rewriting the article and submitting it again to that editor.

I've published hundreds of articles in magazines and journals. When I retired from industry, a trade magazine hired me as editor. The reason was that I had written engineering articles on a monthly basis for the magazine for many years.

Know This: Editors will bend over backwards to help you get an article published in their magazines if its focus is the same as the magazines.

Magazines work on a publication plan that dictates the types of articles it will publish in a certain monthly issue. You should ask them to give you the list of articles desired for a particular issue. Then write an article for that issue making sure it gets to the editor several months before the publication date of the issue.

Here are some rules for article writing:

1. Don't over edit your article cutting out subject matter that the editor might want to include.

It's better to send in a longer article than one that is so short it becomes trite. You can shorten rather than cut.

Be careful!

I suggest that if you are going to cover a subject make sure the coverage is comprehensive.

The editor has a pencil.

If the article is too broad, change it to a series of articles each covering a major point of interest.

Editors love to run series. Why? Because a series of articles will take up space that the editor will not have to fill for the next few issues.

2. Use short sentences but vary sentence length and use words known to the reader.

Use headings where appropriate to break up the test.

Properly place footnotes as endnotes. Follow your Style Manual.

3. Never send an editor copy that is not clean and neat.

That means when Magazine A returns your article, you don't send that same copy to Magazine B unless it is still in excellent condition.

There were no coffee stains on the back were there?

4. Send a letter with your article submission. Tell the editor who you are and why you wrote the article.

Don't say that you wrote the article so that you could sell it and make money.

Instead, say that the article was written to address a particular problem or issue. Tell him that the article takes an original approach to the problem.

Well, say something! The editor wants to know you.

Include a SASE if you want your article back on rejection.

5. Have your article on disk or be ready to email a copy that the editor can edit.

Editors like to work from a computer disk or email (attachment) copy so that the article does not have to be retyped.

Scanning an article is possible but some editors won't want to do that.

I frequently had articles submitted to me on disk only.

I always required a disk.

Always remember to check your article for:

1. Clarity 2. Focus 3. Appeal 4. Grammar and Style 5. Timeliness 6. Spelling

Make sure you watch for homonyms. There instead of their, wear instead of ware, than instead of then (not exactly homonyms), while instead of wile. I use my ?find and replace function? to check for such.

Here's another hint: If you can't get started writing using your computer keyboard, switch to pen and paper.

There is a connection between hand writing and the brain that will help you get going.

I don't know what that connection is.

Hey! That sounds like another article.

Happy Writing!

The End

John T. Jones, Ph.D. ([email protected], a retired VP of R&D for Lenox China, is author of detective & western novels, nonfiction (business, scientific, engineering, humor), poetry, etc. Former editor of Ceramic Industry Magazine. He is Executive Representative of IWS sellers of Tyler Hicks wealth-success books and kits. He also sells TopFlight flagpoles. He calls himself "Taylor Jones, the hack writer." More info: http://www.tjbooks.com Business web site: http://www.aaaflagpoles.com




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