A trade magazine is a magazine written for members an organization or a particular industry or trade.
In contrast, consumer magazines are much more broadly focused and have a potentially much larger audience.
For example, you won’t find a magazine aimed at the plumbing industry at the newsstand in your local supermarket, although you might find articles about plumbing in several magazines there.
The difference is that Plumbing and Mechanical, one of several plumbing-related trade magazines, addresses the how-to of the plumbing business and other issues of interest to plumbers and those who run plumbing businesses.
In a similar vein, there are many consumer magazines that address hair styles; trade magazines for the hair styling industry help those who work in and own beauty salons run their businesses more efficiently and make more money.
Why Write For Trades
The reason to write for trade magazines is two-fold:
For the most part they are more open to new writers than consumer magazines.
And trade magazines often pay at least as well, and sometimes more as many consumer magazines.
Plumbing and airplanes not your thing? How about horses, or hospital, or houses or… chances are if you can think of it there’s at least one trade magazine for it.
How To Find Trade Magazines
Writer’s Market lists literally hundreds of trade magazines. In fact it has a whole category called Trade Magazines.
Another approach is to simply google trade magazines. That search will bring up various directories of the publications. Some are better than others, but looking at some of the directories will give you a feel for the wide variety of trade magazines available.
It also works to search for a specific industry or topic. I tried trade magazines for cats and found magazines both for people like vets and pet store owners and for consumers. Searching on trade magazines consumer finance le’s me see all sorts of publications that might be open to an article or even a column for me if I had those credentials.
You can also find trades by asking for them where you shop. Yes, there are trades for supermarkets, specialty markets, coffee, tea, gifts, retail, clothing – the lists just go on.
How To Approach Trade Magazines
If you find a trade you’re interested in through a market listing there will probably be instructions on how to get a sample copy. Many trade publishers will be happy to send you an issue or two for free. Just pick up the phone and ask. You’ve got to get at least one copy or you’ll not be clear on what the magazine wants.
As usual, if you find a current market listing follow the instructions about queries and submissions.
However, there are a ton of trades out there without market listings. In that case, send a query by email or snail mail. If you’re idea is accepted make sure your clear on how much you’ll be paid and when you’ll be paid before you accept the assignment. Not all trades pay or pay well and most of them don’t have market listings. You may be able to find out if they pay and roughly how much on the magazine’s website, but often you’ll have to ask. Again, you can pick up the phone or you can take time to go through the query process. It’s up to you to make sure your relationship with the magazine is clear.
You don’t have to be an expert in the field to successfully sell to a trade magazine. You will have to figure out something to say to the readers, but an article on what a consumer really wants from her plumber could work. Read at least one issue of the magazine and let your mind soar.
Not so by the way, credits in trade magazines are golden. It’s not unusual at all for a writer to move from trade to consumer.
If you want to write for publications, trades are a great way to go. Here is a list of 11 trade magazines to get you started.
What trade magazines are you aware of? Have you written for any of them?
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