I’ve started to master the idea generation. The part that gets me stuck is finding homes for my ideas. I get as far as:
Idea X… good for a family mag.
Idea Y… good for a business publication.
Then, I start looking and get so overwhelmed at the forest that I can’t find a tree.
What is the best way you have found to identify potential markets for a particular story? (Besides the obvious Writer’s Market).
Carry Schmeck in comments
I don’t know that there is a single best way “to identify potential markets for a particular story.” And I find Writer’s Market invaluable, but pretty overwhelming at times.
That said, here’s roughly what I’d do with an idea that I thought was perfect for a family magazine:
- I’d make a short list, maybe at the top of the page where I was going to write the query or the article, of the magazines I know without looking up anything that might be a fit. In this case I’d probably list:
- Family Circle
- Woman’s Day
Another approach I sometimes use is to go browse a good newsstand, one with lots of magazines. I’d be looking for a family magazine or two I wasn’t familiar with. First, usingWriter’s Market or googling, I’d determine if they were open to freelance writers and if the pay was good.
Finally, if I really have trouble finding a market for an idea I google, adding magazine orpublisher or some such to the search term.
I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time doing any of this except on the query or over-the-transom submission because I’d want to move quickly on to the next idea and the next market.
I think the sense of overwhelm you speak of comes from having some idealized idea of a ‘perfect’ market for an idea. There’s no such thing. You’ll submit ideas that will sell and you will submit ideas that don’t sell. With practice it gets easier to hit the right market, but there are far too many variables you have no control over to worry about perfection. This is a great place to just do it – find a market you think will work and fire off your query or article, then turn right around and do the same thing with the next idea, and so on.
How do you find markets for your ideas?
Have you got a question you’d like answered? Contact me with Q&A in the subject line and I’ll probably answer it here.