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Stay InspiredEAA is your guide to getting the most out of the world of flight and giving your passion room to grow.
Writing About Aviation — My Story
By Mike Davenport, EAA 89102, Langley, BC
January 2022 – Fourth and Final Part – For the past three months, we’ve talked about writing and publishing a book about aviation. You don’t have enough material for a book? No problem. Write your own blog, contribute to your club newsletter, or to Bits and Pieces. I know that Ian Brown welcomes contributions. (Yes, please - Ed.). Besides, it’s darn good practice. The more you do something, including writing stories, the easier it gets. Another option that you have is to see if your favourite magazine likes what you do. Do check their website and locate their contributor’s guidelines. This will help you to lay out your article in a form that their editors like to see
Writing for magazine publication is a whole lot different. Think about their point of view. First, you have to have something that will interest their faithful readers and the only way to find out what that is, is to buy several copies of the publication and get a read on what articles they currently buy. Secondly, make sure that they have not recently printed something similar to what you are writing before sending in your query. Once you have done those things and have written your article with photos to support it, send the finished product to the senior editor of the magazine. However, don’t bother to write captions for your photos yet. Wait until the editor decides which ones he wants to use. (I hate writing captions). The appropriate editor’s name can be found near the front of the magazine. Be patient as sometimes it takes a while to hear back. In the case of EAA’s publications, please use the forms available at EAA.org/Submissions - Ed.
If you don’t hear back in two to three weeks, send a reminder and start to consider a new query to another magazine. I have found that if the editor doesn’t like or need your story, it just gets placed into the holding pile with no response either way.
Some magazines pay for stories and/or photos, while others may rely more on volunteer submissions. Regardless, magazines that pay for content will likely only do so by prior arrangement, so make sure you’ve addressed that before submitting a full story.
Well, that just about wraps up my story as an aviation writer. I'll keep submitting articles to Bits and Pieces and I hope you do too!