There are a few freelance markets I regularly consider, and WOW! Women-on-Writing is one of my favorites. So when I read about the topic for an upcoming issue, I let it rumble around in my brain for a while.
And my brain eventually spit out a couple ideas for an article. But my brain also spit out a “Not so fast, sister.”
Sometimes, a query idea may be really great—except when it’s not great enough. Which sounds a little crazy so I’ll try to explain.
If you’ve ever read the submission guidelines for WOW!, then you’ll know exactly what the editors look for in an article. You know important details like word count and fonts and where to pitch the idea. But there’s another step that is just as important as reading submission guidelines, and that’s reading the market.
Reading the market where you want your idea/article to find a home is absolutely necessary. It gives you the depth, as well as the edge you need to catch an editor’s eye. Think of when you meet someone for the first time. You can see whether she’s short or tall, or if her eyes are green or blue. But when you talk to her, you find out the really interesting stuff, the juicy details that you remember much longer than how she wore her hair.
Your submission guidelines are like that first meeting; they give you the facts. But reading the market content is like getting to know someone better; you get details like style and tone, and what an editor likes.
So when I came up with my splendiferous WOW! ideas, I knew they fit the topic, but I wasn’t so sure they’d work for the ezine. One didn’t have enough take-away information (a big plus if you want your query accepted at WOW!) and the other idea was much more suitable as an essay rather than an article.
Still, I’d written down plenty of notes about those ideas. One might be sent off to Chicken Soup for the Soul. Another might morph into a children’s poem. And one might even show up here at The Muffin.
Because I never waste a great idea. Including the one about when a great idea for a market isn’t great enough.