Writer’s Digest, the No. 1 magazine for writers, celebrates the writing life and what it means to be a writer in today’s publishing environment. Through the voices of bestselling authors, buzz-worthy newcomers and seasoned editors, we offer everything writers need to stay inspired, to improve their craft, to understand the unique challenges of publishing today and to get their work noticed. Our pages are filled with advice and real-life experiences that go beyond the ordinary and delve deeply into what’s important to writers today. Whether they write fiction, nonfiction, poetry, articles or scripts, our readers will walk away from every issue inspired and ready to write, satisfied in the knowledge that we get it, that we all share this passion for writing, and we’re all part of a grand literary tradition. And that’s worth celebrating.
Writer’s Digest is published eight times a year for those who want to write better, get published and participate in the vibrant culture of writers. We strive to inform, instruct and inspire our readers. Our readers look to us for specific ideas and tips that will help them succeed, whether success means getting into print, finding personal fulfillment through writing or building and maintaining a thriving writing career and network.
Our style is confident, authoritative yet conversational. Our voice is that of one publishing industry insider speaking to another—your trusted friend in the business. Keeping informed on industry trends is essential to our readers’ success, so it’s essential for our editorial to address timely issues in publishing. Our goal is to provide readers with the inspiration, how-to instruction and culturally relevant information they need to fulfill their writing goals and be a part of the larger community of writers.
We’re an eight-times-a-year publication founded in 1920 with a circulation of 110,000. Our readers include men and women of all ages and varying levels of writing skill and success. We have a worldwide readership, but the majority of our readers live in the U.S. and Canada.
How to Submit
We consider completed manuscripts on spec as well as queries. A query should include a thorough outline that introduces your article proposal and highlights each of the points you intend to make. Your query should discuss how the article will benefit our readers, why the topic is timely and why you’re the appropriate writer to discuss the topic.
Although we welcome the work of new writers, we believe the established writer can better instruct our reader. Please include your publishing credentials related to your topic with your submission.
Send email queries to our Acquisitions Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t send attachments. If you have clips available online, please include links.
Please realize that we receive hundreds of queries a month, so allow 2–4 months for a response. Each submission must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address.
Accepted freelance articles must be submitted in electronic form, in text-only or Microsoft Word. We expect writers to thoroughly check all facts in their stories and to submit documentation to support the information included in their stories.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- We don’t accept or respond to queries via snail mail, phone or fax.
- We don’t buy newspaper clippings.
- We don’t buy reprints of articles previously published in other writing magazines.
- WD Interviews (our signature cover Q&A series) are almost always written in house.
Payment and General Terms
For manuscripts, we pay 30–50 cents per word, on acceptance, for first world rights for one-time print use and perpetual electronic use. Should we want to reprint anything we’ve purchased from you in anything other than electronic format, we’ll pay you 25% of the original purchase price per use. Contributor copies are sent to writers and artists whose work appears in that issue.
What to Pitch
This upfront section of the magazine is the best place for new writers to break in. Each Inkwell features an 800-900–word lead story that kicks off the magazine. The article ranges in style and tone every issue, but often takes the form of an opinion-based piece, weaving a narrative and drawing out tips for readers. It can be a great place to discuss theoretical or timely concepts. Inkwell also features short pieces of 300–600 words (how-tos, trends, humor, insight on news that will still be relevant when our next issue hits stores, weird and intriguing tidbits about the writing world). Traditional queries are accepted for Inkwell, but on-spec submissions are preferred. Please note that all product and book reviews are handled in house—as are the Top Shelf, Poetic Asides, and Questions & Quandaries columns. Include “Inkwell:” and the name of your piece in the subject line of your query.
This recurring column features 600-word essay reflections on the writing life. While 5-Minute Memoir is a diverse spot in which we want a writer’s individual style and voice to come through, the essays we love most are those with a strong narrative element, relaying an experience and its subsequent wisdoms and takeaways for writers. Please include “5-Minute Memoir:” and the name of your piece in the subject line of your submission.
These are profiles of prominent, specialized or lesser-known authors, and can include both debut and veteran writers. They generally run at 800–2,000 words and must have a strong, unique angle of interest to writers. Please don’t pitch profiles on authors who’ve been recently featured in our magazine or other writing magazines.
Writing Technique Articles
These features highlight a writing method and detail how to use it successfully. Examples include how to write an effective lead, how to use dialogue to establish character, how to write a modern-day romance heroine, etc. They typically run at 1,000–2,400 words.
Articles may cover fiction, nonfiction, poetry or scriptwriting techniques. Writers must have published successfully in the area they’re writing about. Every piece will need to:
- Define the technique and its importance.
- Break the technique down into distinct parts and deal with each part individually. When appropriate, use step-by-step explanation.
- Give relevant examples of its usage. Using examples is a vital part of technique articles. Illustrate points with examples—either from your own writing or from well-known works (preferably both). Avoid relying on movie plots for examples.
These are market reports highlighting publishing trends in a particular market. Genre reports detail what’s changing or hot in a particular segment of the industry: fantasy, mystery or romance, for example.
There are several essential elements in market reports. Anecdotes, specific examples and quotes are important here, too. Interview and quote relevant sources. Describe the market including its target readership. Explain how to find ideas for the market. Point out how writers can generate salable ideas and provide tips on matching ideas to publications.
Also detail how to write for the market and describe the process of turning ideas into salable stories. What are the special requirements of writing for this market? Point out common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Please see our editorial calendar for upcoming topics. Query only if you feel you are the best person to write on each topic, and be sure to explain why.
Reject a Hit
This back-page feature is a humorous fake rejection letter of 300 words or fewer, spoof-rejecting a classic or beloved book. As the intro to the feature goes, “Let’s step once again into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some or our favorite hit books have had to endure?” Winning submissions generally focus on books a broad base of readers would be familiar with, and poke fun at a short-sighted or absurd editor—not the original author of the featured book. For Reject a Hit, we accept on-spec submissions only. Please include “Reject a Hit:” and the title of the book you’re rejecting in the subject line of your submission.