Doug Johnson (Blue Skunk Blog) shares in Where to Start as a Writer for Professional Publications some advice:

Twice in the past week or so, I’ve been asked how one can become a Professional Published Author and make millions of dollars in royalties and article sales.
I am afraid writing for professional publication is not the most lucrative endeavor. On an hourly basis, being a Wal-Mart greeter probably pays better (and is more respectable)…

Oh, I always write the article first and then send it to publishers rather than contact publishers to see what they want.  Aim for about 1500-2500 words. Most magazines have some sort of editorial guidelines if you look for them

We need fresh voices in the field and print is a good way to reach many who don’t read much online. And I still think there is some degree of gravitas that accompanies publication in an edited, print publication.

 I still remember the excitement I felt from my first publication in a national magazine, the thrill (and indignation) from getting a check for $200, even though my article was trimmed down, the lead re-written, and the title changed. Over the years, I’ve cranked out a few articles, and done it for fun and, yes, for the same reason Doug mentions above (bold).

The more bloggers come online, though, the less value I see in print publications. For example, my Download a la Mode column which ran for a few years, off and on, is now easily overshadowed by the wealth of DAILY updated, awesomely written and illustrated content. That column is now worthless except as a way to point people to online resources.

Of course, wisdom remains in short supply as does the ability to share what you have done, successfully or not, to the benefit of others who must follow the path you have stumbled on. I’m inspired by this excerpt from The Bridge-Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole…

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near ,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide– Why build you the bridge at the eventide?

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;

Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

For me, writing articles for publications helps reach a wide audience of learners, people I might never reach with my blog. As a result, I’m grateful when an editor somewhere deems my writing worthy enough by HIS/HER criteria to pay me for my writing ($250 to $700) but I write whether I have an editor or not, a publisher or not. It is an amazing idea that the work that I value, others find value in. Yet, would knowing that Download a la Mode articles would not be as helpful stopped me from doing the learning necessary to write them? Not at all!

After all, just as Doug built that bridge for me, so do I labor for the learners with youthful attributes that must follow…and just because someone else has done it, no reason why I can’t, too.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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