In his interview below, agent Jim Donovan of Jim Donovan Literary stressed that writers who want to sell a nonfiction book would do well to have several (or, better yet, many) articles published in magazines. Writing for magazines, as well as newspapers, will help a writer better their craft—and it will also prove to an agent that you can write.
So how do you get published in magazines to help your chance of getting an agent? I could spend hours on this (and many smarter people have written books on it). A simple option is to pick up a book on how to sell magazine articles; there are good books on this subject published by Writer's Digest Books and good books published by other houses. However, the must-have book is easily Writer's Market; the book is essentially a gigantic directory of magazines that accept freelance material from writers.
So now you know about WM. But what else can you do? Well, if you're a new writer, then you'll want to seek out new magazines. The reasoning is simple: New magazines do not have a stable of freelance writers, and these magazines usually do not pay as well as bigger publications. Because of these reasons, new magazines are more likely to buy articles from writers—and that's music to a new scribe's ears.
Here's three sites offering free newsletters that notify writers of new magazines:
- Absolute Markets, www.absolutemarkets.com
- Writer Gazette, www.writergazette.com
- Writer's Market, www.writersmarket.com