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The Secret to Successful & Profitable Writing

Updated on May 1, 2011

Improve your chances of getting published - just add images

Submitting articles - the complete package. There is one sure-fire way of getting an editor’s extra attention when your latest carefully crafted masterpiece lands on his or hers desk. It might be the best feature in the world, which you have spent many hours burning the midnight oil over, perfecting in every detail. Yet, this is only half of the story. In this image rich environment that we live in, the editor also needs to illustrate the article too. Headlines grab our attention, then the first few lines suck us right in, but a picture or two really gives any feature a powerful edge. Headlines sell, but so does the right pictures.

Although the editor might love your feature to death, and want to publish it right away in the next issue, they are left with a big problem - suitable images. Many a good article has fell by the wayside because the editor has failed to find any suitable pictures to illustrate your piece. As we all know, time is at a premium in the publishing industry. The editor has only a limited amount of time to allocate to each feature. To help the editor, and yourself get published, where ever possible supply the complete package of words and pictures. This will improve your chance of getting published greatly.

Planning the Complete Package

As you plan and start to write your new feature you need to be in the mind set as to what images would best illustrate your article. Of course, you can always ask family or friends to take them for you if your photography experience is limited. The last resort however, is to get a professional to take them for you as this is going to cost you money, and ultimately it will be taken off any profit you gain from your published article.

However, in this age of digital cameras, most people can take virtually fool proof photographs. All you have to do is point and shoot and the camera does all the rest. It is not too hard either to produce a set of suitable images to go with your feature that the editor will love by following a few very simple rules of photography.

1) Composition - keep it simple, keep it relevant, and watch what is in the background too.

2) Lighting - think about the light, the angle of the sun, and what is in and out of shadow.

3) Sharpness - nothing worse than a fuzzy picture. Use a tripod and the camera’s timer for ultimate sharpness.

Get all three right and you are well on your way to producing great images.

Digital cameras are great as you can practice, practice, practice until you get it right without costing you a fortune. Editors tend to prefer higher megapixel images for publication, so buy a digital camera with quite a high megapixel count. You don’t need to splash out a fortune on a full DSLR camera and lens as many compact cameras are more than capable these days of producing publishable material. Although, try and steer clear of budget cameras as the lens tend not to be as good and may affect the image quality. Top names are the best such as Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Olympus. Mobile phone cameras are not quite there yet in terms of the megapixel count, although the new iPhone 4 is very close and can produce some great images.

Now you have taken some pictures to illustrate your feature, pick five you like the best and several you think are just okay too. Don’t send your editor hundreds of images to trawl through. This usually puts them right off from the start. The best way to send the images is to burn them on to a CD-ROM and send it with your manuscript. Save the images as JPG format as this is universally recognised and easiest to open.

Correctly Named JPGs

If possible, change the file name of the image from the normal camera format such as IMG_0057.jpg to something more suitable. Your initials, the date and brief subject title is perhaps the best format: i.e. DLJ_061210_WinterDucks.jpg. Also to help the editor, print off a sheet of thumbnails of the images and included this with your submission along with suitable captions too. Keep the captions fairly brief with a simple what, where, and when. Finally, mark up the CD-ROM with your name and contact details and name of the article just in case it gets lost in the office.

E-mails : Small Attachments are Key

For e-mail submissions, its best to send smaller versions of the images first as an attachment with your manuscript as a huge e-mail with lots of big images quite often blows the e-mail system up. Think small and offer to send the high resolution versions of the pictures if the editor requires them.

Final tip is to try and keep people out of your pictures if at all possible. People in pictures often make the image, but it also highlights another problem with a legal perspective. When necessary, obtain model releases before publishing photographs of people. Many editors will not publish the pictures without a model release.

Is Your Article Half Dressed?

Don’t send your next article off to the publishers half dressed, include some suitable photographs as well. This will help the editor greatly and possibly increase your chance of publication too.

Author David Lloyd-Jones has had over 250 articles published using this method.

Adding some suitable images you have taken yourself can great increase you chances of publication.  Lighthouse on Douglas Head, Isle of Man.
Adding some suitable images you have taken yourself can great increase you chances of publication. Lighthouse on Douglas Head, Isle of Man. | Source

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