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Monday, April 1, 2013

The Sell-Your-First-Article Series: The Final Steps


Welcome back to the Sell-your-First-Article series. (You'll find step 1steps 2 through 5, step 6  and steps 7 and 8 here. At this stage, you've done most of the heavy lifting--the article has been pitched, sold, researched, and written. So what happens next?

Step 8: Turn the story in.
I turned in the story along with Dr. Jensen’s contact information and a copy of the study itself. This is called “backup,” or “fact-checking” material. Some publications don’t require backup, but I suggest you always have it on hand just in case. That will include the names and contact information of anyone you interview; copies of journal articles; Websites that you pulled information from (e.g., a page from the Centers for Disease Control that you cite in the article.) For longer stories that include more than one source, you typically turn in an additional, annotated copy of the story that indicates which sources provided the information in the story. 

Step 9: Get paid!
In this case, my editor was happy with the piece, so I didn’t need to do any revisions, which eliminated the need to rewrite/rework the piece (normally step #10). She put payment through without needing an invoice (normally step #11), and I received my check for $225 (normally step #13) four weeks later.

Step 10: The final step. Get the clip and notify my sources.
Five months later, the piece ran in Fitness. I made a copy for my portfolio, and notified Dr. Jensen about the piece, thanking him again for his help. If it would have appeared in a trade or custom publication that’s hard to locate, I would have sent him a copy of the article, but in this case, I simply told him the name and issue of the magazine, and the page number of the story (and his quote). Usually this will be step #14, but every story is different, and some require fewer steps to complete. 

Get the idea? A short piece like this isn’t complicated to pitch, research, and write—once you understand the steps to take. 
***Have you found this series of posts helpful? They were drawn from Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets. You'll find real-life examples of another eleven articles pitched, researched, and written for markets to make it easy for you to launch your own article-writing career as well.