CBA Record October 2017
1,200. They want articles that give business owners “actionable advice and takeaways.” The CBA Record breaks some of the rules here: our editorial board requests an entire article to be submitted rather than a query. Our Writers Guidelines can be found on the CBA website under Resources. Some publications even have style guides, others just assume you will submit a well-written article. Entrepreneur has a detailed style guide that covers everything from serial commas (don’t) to spaces after a period (single) to gender pronouns (bal- ance them) to how many sentences should be in an ideal paragraph (that might be a tad controlling). The CBA Record wants a journalistic style and no footnotes. Check the masthead or call to ensure you are sending the query to the right editor. Lead with a good hook and follow with a paragraph on article content. Include projected word count, sidebar availability (most publications will pay a bit extra for sidebars), and your bio informa- tion. The publication’s submission guidelines often state how long it will take to respond to your query. If it does not say, wait at The Publishing Contract As a final step, put your lawyer hat back on and read the contract. Entire articles can be written about publishing contracts, so here are just a few important considerations: • Clarify parameters of article content, due date, and fee. • Aim for selling“first serial rights”–the right for them to be the first periodical to publish the work, or “one-time rights”–published once but not necessarily first. • Try not to sell“all rights.”Youwill not be able to use that article again. • Clearly specify which electronic rights are included. • Be sure you can use the article on your own website and other marketing materials. • Rights should revert back to you if the article is not publishedwithin a reasonable amount of time, say six months.
BY AMY COOK RAISE YOUR PROFILE, BOOST YOUR BUSINESS Writing for Publication
W riting an article for a print or online publication is an excel- lent way to get your name and expertise in front of potential clients or other attorneys who may send business your way. While it can be difficult to take time away from your paid work–writing articles will most likely pay minimally–publishing is an effective form of marketing that can really pay off down the road. Here are some tips to get published. Reach the Right Audience There are two markets to target: writing directly to potential clients, or to other lawyers who might refer clients to you. Periodicals are divided into consumer magazines and trade journals. Both are good choices for attorneys to place articles. The larger, mass circulation magazines will, of course, be harder to break into. Consider submitting to the publica- tions you read to keep current in your area (as you will know their style and content well), and ask your existing clients what they read. Of course, you can spend some time just poking around on the internet in search of publications, or there are paid websites and books that list thousands of niche publications. Check out Writer’s Market books, which are published annually and available at most libraries, or their paid website Writersmarket.com ($6/monthly subscription; $40 for annual
subscription). From aviation to maritime to veterans, there’s a lid for every pot. Carefully study your intended publica- tions to make sure your article idea is in line with their scope, and check about six months of back issues to determine if they have recently covered your topic. (This is not necessarily a deal breaker if there are new developments or if you can bring a fresh take to the subject.) Do they usually publish “how-to”? In-depth profiles? Is the style journalistic, breezy, or technical? The Pitch Most publications do not expect you to submit the entire article; a query letter and perhaps the first paragraph or a link to some writing samples will suffice. In most cases, you will submit your query within the body of an email. Editors often will not open attachments from an unknown source. First and foremost: find their submis- sion guidelines and follow them! While this may seem obvious to many, there are always those who think the rules do not apply to them. If your, ahem, “friend” falls into the latter category, he or she will get a one-way ticket to the reject pile. Submis- sion guidelines are usually plainly labeled on their website, but occasionally you have to do some hunting under “contact us.” For instance, Today’s General Counsel wants articles on regulation, compliance and recent litigation of 1,700 words maximum “unless other arrangements are made.” They specify no footnotes or other academic-style references. They caution against “legalisms and jargon from any discipline.” Entrepreneur magazine wants pieces between 700-800 words; no more than
Amy Cook isManaging Editor of theCBARecordand runs a legal communications firm.
58 OCTOBER 2017
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