Follow these important guidelines to increase the odds of having your article published.
* Thoroughly Check Spelling And Grammar
Even with electronic spell checkers, this is still a killer. Be especially careful with words that sound alike but have different meanings (homophones). Should that be "there" or "their"? "Your" or "you're"?
Another trouble spot is the apostrophe ('). An apostrophe should be used to indicate possession (John's car), dropped letters (don't) and characters/words mentioned as themselves (ID's). And remember, "it's" means "it is."
* Don't Write In Long, Dense Paragraphs
Long, unbroken runs of text are visually unappealing, and act as a subconscious block to reading (looks like too much hard work). People are in a hurry, so information needs to be presented in a way they can scan for points of interest.
* Don't Ramble Or Use Wordy Sentences
Providing great information is not enough. People read to learn, but also seek excitement. Instant gratification. They lack the time to be patient, so stick to the point.
When you've finished writing, start deleting. Cut unnecessary sentences. Look for superfluous 'filler' words and repetitions. Delete them. Add more punch and drive by killing adjectives.
* Don't Employ Gratuitous Self Promotion
There's no greater turn-off than an article that proclaims the author or their product wonderful. People want to discover your qualities for themselves. Your article is the medium.
If you want to sell yourself; display your knowledge, innovative thinking, character. To promote a product, talk about a common problem or need, educate, perhaps tell a story. Provide interesting information. Only mention the product subtly, or not at all, leaving it for your by-line.
* Don't Over-indulge On Your Resource Box
It's generally accepted that your resource box, or "About the author" by-line should be no more than 6 lines in length. Many publishers will object to anything longer, and unless your article is particularly exceptional, they'll bin it.
* Use The Standard Format
Most ezine editors expect your article to be in this format:
Plain text, hard wrapped at 60-65 characters per line.
It's the only way to guarantee the piece appears as intended. Anything else creates extra work for editors, either reformatting, deleting HTML code, or fixing incorrectly printing characters. To save time, such articles are passed over.
* Don't Send Your Article As An Attachment.
Attachments require opening, something that may be put off and forgotten about. Worse still, the legitimate fear of virus infection means many people delete them on sight. Paste your article into the body of the email, so editors can scan through it immediately.
* Don't Send Multiple Copies
It's tiresome to have to delete 2 or 3 copies of your article each time you make a submission. And it tells the recipient you don't value their time. A source of annoyance, your article will lose points in comparison to other articles of equal merit: The subconscious mind is a powerful thing!
Check your submission list for duplicate domains. Those from free email accounts are usually obvious, but if you're unsure, check. It takes less than a minute to paste a domain name into a browser and load the site. How much money would you make if your article was published? Worth a minute?
* Don't Say How Wonderful Your Article Is
All too often I receive article submissions that start something like this:
"Hi! Here's a great new article for your ezine that your subscribers will love!"
Few ezine editors will appreciate YOU telling them your work is great. Or that THEIR subscribers will love it, especially when it's obvious you don't even know the editor's name, nor the title of their ezine.
Save this article (now, before you forget!) and refer to it the next time you write one of your own. Most submissions an editor receives are passed over for one reason or another. The secret is to stack the odds in YOUR favor. Give editors what they want and you WILL be rewarded!
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