Q: I have some articles I'd like to write. How do I go about getting them published? Do I just write them and send them around? Do I post them on my blog and try to get publishers interested? Help!
A: The *one thing* you need to do to break into magazine publications is to study key magazines completely and then tailor a unique article to fit their readers/needs/tone/style. Let me explain why you should do this, instead of trying what you suggested.
I tell my students that when most people approach article writing they do it as a knitter who is making a sweater. The knitter gets a pattern, picks out the yarn, and creates a perfectly beautiful sweater. After it's finished, the knitter decides she wants to sell it. So she sends it around to one hundred different people to try out. The truth is that even though the sweater is great, it doesn't fit 75% of the people. And of the 25% of the people it does fit, they don't really like the style. If by chance it fits someone and they like the style, there is always the problem of color. Out of the 100 people, there might be one in which the fit, style, and color is perfect ... and they might buy it. The problem is the 99 other rejections often wound the knitter's ego, and she's off to say ... crochet.
Better yet is to get Sally Stuart's Market Guide--or The Writer's Market--and target interesting publications. After picking your favorites, study those pubs until you know their unique fit, style, and color. Only then do you query the publication concerning article ideas. And ... once you have them hooked ... only then do you craft a sweater (or article!) that fits their needs.
This takes a lot of work at first, but out of the 1,000 knitters ... err writers ... who approached the pub, they will love you and come back to you again!