I have an article I have been working on that would be great for a bridal magazine, however I am not sure where to find writer/submission guidelines for any of them. I have tried finding them online. Do you know of a resource to find magazine markets?
This seemingly simple question raises a whole slew of smaller questions that I want to address. The first of them covers writers' guidelines. Okay, now, just like I told you before, in terms of emailing agents, I'm going to tell you to toss writers' guidelines out the window. (Pause for the collective gasp of readers.) Yes, really. I know of very few established freelance writers who read them, much less seek them out. The true guidelines for most magazines are these: write a great query, email it to the appropriate editor (check the masthead for the correct name and dept), then follow-up a few weeks later. If they don't want to use it, they won't. WGs are often written to weed out the riff-raff (a word I've now used twice in one week, which has to be some sort of record). Don't know if the section you're interested in takes freelancers? Check the articles: if there's a byline there that doesn't match up with an editor's name on the masthead, it's probably freelanced. And even if it's not, so what? You sent a query, and if they can't use it, no real loss.
Before you complain that you don't know how to find email addys for editors, I'll tell you two things: 1) what makes a great freelance writer is not only his or her ability to write, but to research. This information is out there, it's up to you to find it. One great place to start is mastheads.org. Another is at the magazine's parent company's website, such as Conde Nast or Hearst. You can often track down the generic forumla somewhere on there (check the press releases or media kits), and then just plug in the name of the editor. 2) Because you're faithfully reading my blog, I'll make it a little easier for you. Here are some formulas for major publishing companies:
American Media: email@example.com
Conde Nast: firstname.lastname@example.org
Love me yet?
Writers Market is obviously another way to find new markets. A word of caution, however. Many of their listings are outdated. And many of them aren't entirely accurate. For example, they'll give you a generic email address or tell you to snail mail your query or whatever. Again, riff? Meet raff. Whomever submits this info to WM figures that a lot of beginners are using WM, and they're simply trying to weed you out from the get-go. You are MUCH likelier to have success if you contact someone with a real name and real email address, rather than a general email inbox (or snailed address). I do think that WM is a good place to research potential new markets, especially when you've exhausted all of the ones you can think of on your own, but google might work just as well.
The other thing that your question brings up is the bridal market. I think that wedding writing is a wonderful, wonderful way to break into regional and online magazines. There are SO many out there: everything from, I dunno, Northern California Winery Brides (I made that up) to The Knot to a gazillion in between, and I know a lot of writers who happily toil for these mags and sites. They're a great way to build reputable clips and have some fun. I actually got my first national clip from Bride's, and I'll forever be indebted to my wonderful editor there for allowing me a shot at the big time.
Does anyone use writers' guidelines anymore? Care to prove me wrong?