When I first started out I found market research extremely difficult. But, the more I tried to do it the better I got. I have been published in several national magazines.
The ones below are just a small selection. I now automatically pick up a magazine and look at the adverts, the letters page and the way the stories and articles are written, to get an idea of who the readership the magazine is aimed at, are.
I ask myself questions like:
- Whose viewpoint is it from?
- How long are the sentences?
- How long are the paragraphs?
- Is it in first or third person?
- What tense is it written in?
- How much dialogue is used?
- Is slang used?
- Is compression used (i.e. i’ll, we’ve)?
- Are there any sentences beginning with And and But?
- Are there any swear words?
I believe this was excellent training and has helped me to launch my career into writing for children because, although the writing and market is different you still need to consider who the target audience is and whether you are meeting the requirements of the in-house style.
So my advice is to anyone who wants to get published, whether it is in writing for magazines, writing for children, adults, your publisher, or a specific editor – do your market research. Know who you are writing for.
If you are interested in writing for magazines, get hold of the contributor’s guidelines. These are often available online.