Q: I’d like to publish some holiday stories in magazines. I know magazines typically work on issues months in advance, so if I wanted to submit a proposal for a Christmas-themed story, when should I send it?—Cheryl Heil
A: All magazines work on different timetables—some work three months in advance, while others map out an entire year’s worth of articles in January. Market books and online resources, like Writer’s Market, have listings for most magazines that include the average length of time between manuscript acceptance and when it actually gets printed.
No matter what timeframe a magazine’s guidelines give you, always query a month or two before the suggested date to give the editors time to consider, fine-tune and accept your idea. For example, Sports Illustrated for Kids states that it publishes manuscripts an average of three months after acceptance. If you’re looking to write “Elves in the Outfield,” it’s best to query in July for the December issue. Some magazines actually request that you send seasonal material one year in advance, so you really have to plan ahead.
And when in complete doubt, just submit your idea when your query letter has been perfected. It’s better to be too early than too late.
Come Join Me (& Other Writer’s Digest Staffers)!
As the online editor of Writer’s Digest (and a published author) I speak at writing events all the time to help others get published. Here’s a list of upcoming events where either I or another Writer’s Digest staffer will offer instruction to help you achieve your writing goals. Come join me!
- Feb. 11-14, 2016: The San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- March 31-April 2: The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (Dayton, OH)
- April 30, 2016: Write Now! Conference (Raleigh, NC)
- Aug. 12-14, 2016: Writer’s Digest Conference (New York, NY)
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Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.