Naturally, readers of our magazine want to write for us and the best sections to target are our news pages, letters pages and any columns where we actively call for contributions.
The main features we publish are from established freelances and authors, often involved in writing education or the publishing industry. If you are a novice, it will be far more useful for you to use the advice and information in the magazine to gain freelancing experience in the wider world - writing about writing is a very narrow career with limited opportunities.
Our articles contain up-to-date market information or present good writing advice in a new and interesting way. In your submission it is important to explain what will make your article stand out.
Avoid areas covered by regular contributors in their columns, such as 'Where I Write'. It's always better to read a few issues of a magazine before submitting ideas.
Is it an article or a letter?
Our articles are not personal opinion. If you are simply offering your views on writing, or your experiences so far as a novice, then keep it brief and send it to our letters page (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Writing letters is good for your motivation and an excellent way to practice key skills such as structure and focus. But remember that editors see them as being written by readers not writers. They should not be listed on your writing CV, but are a helpful step on the road to publication.
In almost all instances, articles should show research of current markets or issues affecting writers, and include quotes from relevant experts.
Space is limited and articles that try to cover too much will not be able to explain any part in detail. Stick to one topic, but make it one that will be of interest to enough readers.
We feature one author interview each month. Simply put, the more famous the author, the more likely it is your interview will be accepted. However -
Author interviews should concentrate solely on the process of writing and getting published – ie they should be for writers not fans. Do not keep praising the author, or let your own opinions intrude, but do state reported facts, such as 'bestselling', 'controversial' or 'prize-winning'.
We prefer masterclasses told in the first person which cover a specific technique or style. The content of books, plots and characters should only be discussed in those terms; as examples to illustrate a piece of advice.
Personal success stories
If you are writing about your recent success in getting a book published, pick out aspects that make your story unique or interesting. Everyone knows they should keep going and not give up, but how did you do it?
Tell your story chronologically and stick to your own experience, eg 'This is what happened to me and this is what I would do next time.' Don't presume to speak for all writers, or lecture the readers on what they should do. Let them decide which parts of your story are useful.
It may be better to write a short letter containing useful advice or a news item, rather than offering a full article. Your book will still be mentioned (we can also feature a cover image) and it is much more likely to be used.
We are inundated with stories from readers who have self-published a book. It is usually easier to get your book mentioned in the magazine if you write a letter with a quick bit of advice, an interesting observation or an amusing anecdote based on your experiences, rather than offering a full article.
Remember that Writers' Forum is a trade magazine, not a literary review. The language should be kept simple and all jargon explained in passing. Save any literary flourishes for your creative writing. Be informative, accurate and, just as importantly, entertaining.
Nuts and bolts
How to suggest ideas
All ideas should be sent in the body of an email to email@example.com. Briefly describe the proposal in the subject line to make it stand out. Be as concise as possible but explain the aim and scope of the article. Add a few words about your writing experience.
How to send copy
Once agreed, articles should be sent attached as a Word document preferably (.doc or .docx) or as a Rich Text File (.rtf).
Use a single plain font at 12pt or 14pt. Bold and italics are fine but keep it simple. Please do not format the text with tabs, borders, colour, images, headers and footers etc.
There's no need for a cover sheet but make sure your contact details are in your email and at the top of the copy on the first page (not in a header).
As a rough guide, an article should be about 1200 to 1500 words to fit a spread, depending on photos, book covers etc. We edit all articles on the page and it is easier for us to cut material than to add it.
How to send images
Mention any available images in your submission but you needn't send them until requested. You should source images of anyone interviewed – we prefer normal colour photos to arty black and white 'author' shots. If necessary, you must seek the consent of the copyright holder and supply a credit.
Electronic images must be print quality – 300 dot per inch (dpi) at a decent size. Web images at 72dpi will not reproduce well unless they are four times the size they will be used in the magazine (ie a 20cm square web image at 72dpi will be only 5cm square when printed at 300dpi).
Give them filenames that are brief captions,