15 Things Every Beginner Magazine Writer Should Know

The first time I saw an issue in People magazine, I was in grade school. It was a hot summer day, and my mom had left the magazine on the kitchen table. 

I sat down to read it and couldn’t put it down not because there were so many photos of celebrities (there weren’t), but because there were so many stories that made me think about people like me. Maybe that’s why magazines have been around for so long: 

They tell stories about real people in a way that engages readers. If you’re looking to write for magazines, here are some tips for getting started:

Anatomy of a Magazine Layout Part 1 – 15 Terms and Definitions
1. Importance of understanding magazine business
2. Valuable tips from experienced writers
3. Breaking into freelance magazine writing
4. Building a successful magazine writing career
5. Expert advice for better magazine writing
6. Crafting and selling articles for magazines
7. Essential skills for a magazine journalist
8. Step-by-step guide to writing for magazines
9. Improving magazine writing skills
10. Pitching article ideas to magazines
11. Approaching editors for writing opportunities
12. Effective self-marketing as a freelance writer
13. Tailoring article ideas to the target audience
14. Showcasing writing samples to editors
15. Building a professional writing portfolio

Read Magazines Lots Of Them

If you’re just starting, the magazines that are most helpful to read are the ones that are aimed at people with similar experiences. For example, if you’re a beginner magazine writer who wants to be an entertainment writer, then it would make sense to read Entertainment Weekly. 

It’s also a good idea to explore titles on your terms if there’s something in one magazine that piques your interest, go ahead and check out others in the same category (or related categories).

But whatever type of writing you ultimately want to do once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt, there’s no better way to learn more about how magazines work than by reading them. 

The editors’ notes will give an insider look at what works for them and why; editorials from prominent writers will give insight into how they think about their subjects; interviews with celebrities will help show how these people think about themselves; reviews from different critics can help create new perspectives on old favorites and so much more!

When diving into the world of magazine writing, it’s essential to understand the intricacies of creating a successful business plan. Discover the 15 Secrets of the Best Business Plans to give your writing career a solid foundation.

Writing For Magazines Is More About Words And Less About Pictures

Don’t let the idea of writing for a magazine intimidate you! You don’t need to be an expert at any other medium before you start, because there are plenty of freelance writing jobs that don’t require previous experience. Make sure to read the job posting carefully, ask questions if necessary (and I recommend asking as many questions as possible), and write your best work.

Make Sure You Understand The Process Before You Pitch Your Story

Know what your story is about.

Know who your target audience is, and how much time they have to read it (their life circumstances).

Know what the editor wants: content that fits with the publication’s goals and values, as well as ideas for cover stories or other potential articles in the same issue/online series/etc., etc., etc…

Know what you want from them: money, exposure/new connections, respect — whatever gets you off on a Friday night!

Know why they should care about this particular pitch (as opposed to all those other pitches they get).

Looking back, I wish I had known these invaluable tips during my early days as a magazine writer. Explore Magazine Writing 101: Things I Wish I Knew Two Years Ago to learn from my experiences and make your journey smoother.

Make Sure You Understand The Process Before You Pitch Yourself Into It!

Learn what a query letter is, and how to write one.

A query letter is the first contact between a writer and an editor. It’s a cover letter and sales pitch all rolled into one. It’s the first step in getting your work published, so it’s important to know how to write one well from the get-go.

There are some rules you should follow when writing a query letter: Keep it short, sweet and to the point; don’t ramble on about yourself or your life story; 

Include information about which publications your work has been published in; don’t use “Dear Editor” or “To whom it may concern” (it could be anybody); remember that editors are busy people who get tons of emails every day so make sure yours stands out!

Find A Market Or Two Or Three Or Seven

You’ve got a great idea for a story. You’ve started to write it. Now what? To get your writing published, you’ll need to find the right market for it.

To help you figure out where your story might fit best, here are some things to consider:

What kind of magazine is this market? Is it a general interest magazine or one that focuses on a specific topic? If so, is there an editor who edits stories like yours?

Is this an online or print publication? Which do they prefer (this can vary even within the same company)? Also, keep in mind that some magazines’ websites receive less traffic than others do; therefore, if possible, try both avenues before submitting!

For example: Do they have an online presence at all? Or maybe they’re only in print format and are distributed primarily through newsstands rather than direct mailings from publishers’ offices around town and so on

Pay Attention To The Details

One of the first things you’ll learn as a magazine writer is that there are a lot of different rules and regulations that you must follow to make sure your magazine article is up to par. This includes making sure you don’t make any mistakes when writing your articles, which can be hard if you’re new at this but it’s possible!

Breaking into the world of freelance magazine writing can be daunting, but fear not! Our comprehensive guide on How to Break into Freelance Magazine Writing will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to kickstart your career.

To Help Get Started, Here Are Some Tips For Avoiding Common Errors:

Make sure there aren’t any spelling errors! This means double-checking everything before submitting an article for publication. You also want to make sure that no one else sees these mistakes so it doesn’t reflect poorly on them (or worse yet you).

Make sure there aren’t any grammatical errors! Grammar mistakes can ruin an article and hurt credibility with readers who may think less of the publication because of something like that happening. 

The easiest way I’ve found is just reading through several times before sending off anything; this helps catch anything missed previously by myself or others during the editing stage later down line (which happens more often than not). 

Another tip might be having someone else read through first; sometimes people notice something different than what’s written which could lead someone else to notice something small.

But significant enough to change how the story reads overall to much-needed attention sooner rather than later.-also remember science fiction writers tend more often to write nonfiction-style works meaning they’re meant factual representation of real-world events happening right now around us…and don’t forget journalism 101 rule number 3 never tell lie ever!”

Learn To Love Rejection (And Rejection Slips)

When you’re starting, you’ll probably be rejected a lot. Some magazines will never even give your work a chance. Others will accept it and then reject it after editing or at the last minute because of changes in editorial direction.

It’s important to realize that rejection is an inevitable part of the process and it’s also a good thing! Rejection slips are excellent ways for writers to learn what they can do better next time around. They should be viewed as constructive opportunities rather than personal slights (though sometimes they might be those).

Be Professional In All Your Dealings With Editors, Publishers, And Other Writers. It’s What They Expect

It’s important to be professional in all your dealings with editors, publishers, and other writers. It’s what they expect. They don’t want to work with prima donnas who are afraid of criticism or rejection.

They also expect you to have a thick skin when it comes to the business side of things which is where I’d like to focus this section on how you can become an effective magazine writer as a beginner:

Aspiring to become a successful magazine writer? Follow these 10 Tips on How to Build a Career as a Magazine Writer and take a step closer to turning your passion into a fulfilling profession.

Learn Everything You Can About The Publishing Industry

The publishing industry is changing at a rapid pace, and you can’t afford to be left behind. Here are some things to know:

The publishing industry is a business

The publishing industry has its language (for example, “cover lines” instead of “headlines”)

The publishing industry has its economy (for example, book advances)

The publishing industry has its politics (for example, the New York Times Bestsellers list)

The publishing industry has its standards (for example, the Oxford comma).

Read The Writer’s Market Guide

This is an invaluable resource that will tell you what’s out there, what’s available, and what your potential customers are looking for. 

It will also help you get a sense of which writing niches may be best suited to your skill set and interests, for instance, if you’re interested in writing about health topics but don’t know anything about medicine or nutrition, then you might want to think twice before pitching yourself as an expert on those topics.

Write For The Reader, Not For Yourself, Or For Your Mother, Or For Your High School English Teacher

Write for the reader, not for yourself or your mother, or your high school English teacher.

When you start writing, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of what you’re doing. You might think that you’re writing a great piece and everyone’s going to love it but if they don’t care about the story, they won’t read it! And if they don’t finish reading it (and therefore don’t care), then they certainly won’t share it with their friends.

So before we get into specifics about what makes a good article, let’s talk about why you should write at all: Because someone needs this information and will benefit from having access to it! You can write about anything under the sun but please make sure that whatever topic(s) drive your interest is something people want/need/can use from you!

To elevate your magazine writing skills, it’s crucial to learn from seasoned professionals. Uncover 15 Tips for Better Magazine Writing and take your writing to the next level with expert advice and techniques.

Get An E-Mail Address That Reflects Your Professionalism As A Writer (Unless It’s Only Used To Promote A Blog Because That’s Different)

It should be easy to remember.

It should be easy to spell.

It should be easy to type.

If you’re submitting content for publication, people may be able to find your contact info by Googling the address or checking the “About Us” page on the website you submitted it on, so make sure there are no typos or misspellings in it! (For example, if your name is “Jadyn,” don’t use “Jaydyn” or “Jadine.”)


We hope you find these tips helpful in your quest to become a successful magazine writer. Remember, this is just the beginning of your journey. The more you learn, the better you’ll get at writing and pitching ideas that editors will want to publish. 

It’s a lot of fun, but it can also be hard work! Good luck on your journey and keep us posted on all the great things coming down the road for you!

Further Reading

How to Write and Sell Articles for Magazines Learn valuable insights from Nichola Meyer on the art of crafting and selling articles for magazines.

Magazine Journalist Skills Discover essential skills required to excel as a magazine journalist with practical advice and tips.

Write for Magazines: A Step-by-Step Guide Dive into a step-by-step guide on how to write for magazines and get your work published.


How can I improve my magazine writing skills?

Enhancing your magazine writing skills involves consistent practice, seeking feedback, and studying successful magazine articles. Consider taking writing courses, reading widely, and experimenting with different writing styles.

What are the key skills needed to become a successful magazine journalist?

To excel as a magazine journalist, you should possess strong writing and storytelling skills, a keen eye for detail, excellent research abilities, adaptability, and the capacity to meet tight deadlines.

How do I pitch my article ideas to magazines?

When pitching article ideas to magazines, make sure your ideas are tailored to the publication’s audience and align with their editorial style. Craft a compelling pitch letter that succinctly presents your idea and highlights its unique angle and relevance.

How do I approach editors for potential writing opportunities?

When approaching editors for writing opportunities, be professional, concise, and respectful of their time. Introduce yourself, showcase your relevant writing samples, and express genuine interest in contributing to their publication.

How can I effectively market myself as a freelance magazine writer?

To market yourself as a freelance magazine writer, create a professional portfolio showcasing your best work, establish an online presence through a website or social media, network with industry professionals, and consistently deliver high-quality content to build a strong reputation.