How To Ensure Your Article Is NOT Published

    March 4, 2004

I bet you’ve heard that submitting articles for publication in ezines is an excellent, low-cost means of promotion.

And it’s true.

There are hundreds of thousands of ezines and newsletters. Most rely on contributed content, giving you a wonderful opportunity to connect with an endless ocean of prospects for free!

The rub is that most would-be authors get pretty shabby results. They conclude that they can’t write, or that submitting articles isn’t an effective means of promotion. At least not unless you’re a “big name.”


Almost anyone can write articles of acceptable quality to be published online. You needn’t be a literary wizard, nor well-known. It’s simply that like most things in life, there’s a right, and a wrong way to do it.

Below are several easy ways you can get an editor to trash your article – EVEN if they LIKE what you say!

* Don’t Check Spelling And Grammar Thoroughly

Even with electronic spell checkers, this is still a killer. Be particularly 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.”

Most editors don’t expect you to be perfect. However, a piece littered with obvious errors is unlikely to be published.

* 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.

* Ramble And 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.

* Use 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.

* 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.

* Don’t 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 the editor, either reformatting, deleting HTML code, or fixing incorrectly printing characters. To save time, such articles are passed over.

* 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.

* 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?

* 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. This tactic might work on a new publisher, but will lead many of the more seasoned to ignore you.

Most of the articles 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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