When Should You Send Holiday-Themed Queries?

Magazines are always looking for holiday-themed articles. But if you pitch your idea too late, you won't get it published. Here's what you need to know when querying magazine editors your holiday-themed articles.
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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

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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.

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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 bookOh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

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