Frequently asked questions about our Travel Magazine Database, pitching, and travel magazines:


 

Why do we analyze magazines?

One of the biggest complaints editors have about pitches they receive is that the writer is clearly not familiar with the magazine he or she is pitching.

There are the comical editor horror stories about someone pitching an article about hunting one’s first chicken to a vegan food magazine or a report on local archeological digs to an interior design magazine.

But more often than not, writers are pitching stories that sound—if you only know the title of a magazine—like they could be a fit, but if you took the time to dig into the tone and structure of a publication, would obviously be a little (or a lot) off of what the magazine actually covers.

In a pitch, showing an editor that you understand his or her publication and its audience is more important than the idea you are pitching or your background—it’s what inspires an editor to write you back and encourage you to send more pitches rather than write you off.

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How do we analyze magazines?

We’ve got a whole post on how we analyze magazines—and how we recommend you do it when you’re analyzing a magazine on your own—on our parent company site, Dream of Travel Writing.

For every full entry here on the database, we work from a full copy of the magazine and double check all of the advice we’re giving you against the most recent masthead (the list of editor’s names) and media kit on the magazine’s website.

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How many new entries are added to the database every month?

We add at least one new magazine to the database every day!

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How do I know if the information in the database is up-to-date?

Since our website is in its first year, you can be assured that everything in the database is quite fresh; however, publishing is a volatile business, so sometimes things change quickly. We’ve even found while working on the database that we may write a full breakdown of a magazine only to find out that it is ceasing publication the next month.

Whenever we find out updates like this, we incorporate them into the database, and we’re adding more ways to capture more updated information everyday.

For each magazine, we provide links to the magazine’s website (limited entries) or the magazine’s website and a full copy of the magazine (full entries), so that you can reconfirm what we’re telling you before you pitch. But you can always tell how current the overall information in any given entry is by looking at the entry’s publication date, which will tell you when we first performed the magazine breakdown.

We also have a member of our team dedicated to auditing the entries in the database for up-to-date-ness each month and uncovering:

  • edtors that have moved on or up
  • new editors that have joined a publication
  • email addresses that don’t work
  • magazine sections that have ceased to exist
  • magazine sections that have been added
  • magazine sections that were formerly written by editors and are now open to freelancers or visa versa
  • magazines that have significantly changed their formats and need to be re-written

Whenever we hear from a database user that has found an issue with the information in an entry, a member of our team investigates the issue, and then it is bumped to the top of the list for a full audit of the information in the entry.

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Why can’t I see all of the entries in the database?

There are two types of database memberships: limited and full.

If you have a limited access membership, you will only have access to limited entries.

If you have a full access membership however, you will see full entries for some magazines and limited entries for others. The limited entries you see are for magazines that don’t yet have a full breakdown, and the limited entries you don’t have access to correspond to magazines that have full entries, which you should be able to access.

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How do I know if I have a good story idea?

A “good” story idea is a completely moving target, but it always depends on one thing: that the idea exactly fits an existing hole in a magazine. There is no such thing as a good article idea independent of a place for it to be published.

Outside of that, several ways to know if you have a “good” article idea are that it is:

  • specific to a definable audience
  • addressable in the length of the article
  • addressing an issue of interest to the audience
  • addressing a topic relevant to the magazine
  • definable in a single sentence

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How should I structure my pitch email?

There is a tried and true formula for successful pitches:

  • draw the editor in and communicate why your idea is interesting and appropriate to his or her audience
  • articulate how your idea would fit in the magazine and what your article would cover
  • show the editor why you are the best person to write the story

It’s really that simple! But executing each of those things is not so simple. We’re got more resources on writing great pitches here:

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Why do we not list pay rates for many magazines?

There are two big reasons why you won’t see a specific pay rate listed on many of the full entries:

  • magazines are notoriously opaque about their rates, in part because…
  • magazines pay different writers different rates

We can go through databases in which freelance writers anonymously self-report what magazines have paid them and places where editors self-report what their rates are, but the unfortunate truth is that these things often have little relationship with the rate that any particular writer will get when receiving an assignment from a magazine, and even less to do with how much a writer who pushes for more money may receive.

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How can you tell how much a magazine pays?

To help with the fact that most magazines simply won’t be clear about their pay range because they want to get articles for at the low end of their pay range as much as possible, we have created a handy (though a little sneaky) metric for ballparking how much a magazine pays writers and whether it is worth your time.

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I wrote to a magazine listed in the database and they wrote back and said they don’t use freelancers (at all or for that section). Why do you say that they do?

We go through magazines and check each byline against the masthead to see if any are staff members. Names which aren’t on the masthead could be freelancers.

To be sure, we check each person’s LinkedIn, social media platforms, and websites to verify that they are freelancers and don’t work for the magazine full time.

We check at least two issues, often more, to verify that the sections are definitely open to freelancers and this isn’t a one-off and that one freelancer doesn’t write the same section each month.

That means, that if an editor has told you they don’t use freelancers (at all or for the specific section you’re pitching), either:

  1. The magazine has changed (if it’s just been posted by us in the last week or month, that’s unlikely)
  2. The editor is lying, because they don’t want to work with you based on something you said in your pitch that rubbed him or her the wrong and can’t own up to coming right out and saying it. They’re mostly responding to you at all just to keep you from following up (again if they’ve responded to the follow up) or sending new ideas.

We know the second item above does sound more far-fetched than the first, but, unfortuntaely, we have seen some writers forward us emails that are clearly of this nature in 2018 (it seems to be a new trend).

How do we know this is what’s going on? In these emails, the editors are saying this that, while sound professional, are subtly mocking things from the writers’ pitches.

It’s really not cool, and editors at top-tier, amazing publications that we know personally would never do such a thing and find it just as appalling as we do, but unfortunately, this has become a real issue, so you should be aware it’s out there, and make sure you are sending the absolutely best pitches you possibly can.

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I wrote to a magazine listed in the database and the email bounced immediately or came back later as undelivered. Can you fix it?

Yes! If this happens to you, please write to us immediately (or, if you wouldn’t mind, forward the email you received as this can be very helpful in investigating the issue).

We have a member of our team dedicated to auditing the entries in the database for up-to-date-ness each month and uncovering:

  • edtors that have moved on or up
  • new editors that have joined a publication
  • email addresses that don’t work
  • magazine sections that have ceased to exist
  • magazine sections that have been added
  • magazine sections that were formerly written by editors and are now open to freelancers or visa versa
  • magazines that have significantly changed their formats and need to be re-written

Whenever we hear about an issue with an entry from a database user, we bump that up to the top of the list for review.

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Check out our handy pay rate estimator trick here.

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How can you tell which editor to pitch?

This is a tricky one. In our full entries, in which we list all of the folks on the editorial staff that might be useful to you in your pitches, we don’t say exactly who to pitch for which stories. This is for two reasons:

  • it often changes over time, and often frequently
  • there is no rhyme or reason to which editorial titles correspond with various positions

In small magazines, with an editorial staff of four or fewer, the editor-in-chief is often the one accepting pitches. In huge newsstand magazines, like Travel + Leisure, there is absolutely no point in writing to the editor-in-chief and often several levels below him or her as well. You’ll need to go to an assistant editor or section editor with your pitch.

Mid-sized magazines use titles in unpredictable ways, sometimes having an assistant editor, associate editor, editorial director, and editor-in-chief with the assistant editor functioning more like an editorial assistant (i.e. no decision making power), and the editorial director handling projects but not necessary magazine assignments.

Across the board, the people that we list in the “contact” info tab are ones that you should try reaching out to. If you have a good pitch and it simply goes to the wrong (but not *super* wrong) person, editors typically just forward it to where it needs to be. You won’t see us list the following positions, even if they’re on the masthead under editorial, because these are positions that don’t assign articles:

  • editorial assistants (more assistant than editor)
  • copy editors (more proofreader than editor)
  • contributing editor (a freelancer who writes frequently but doesn’t assign)
  • publishers (unless they are the only person on the masthead, they don’t assign)

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What are trade, consumer, and custom magazines?

One of the fields in our main magazine overview classifies magazines as trade, consumer or custom.

Trade magazines are not available to buy on the newsstand or online. They are delivered to a qualified circulation of people who work in a particular industry. In travel, there are many different areas of trade magazines, from magazines for travel agents to people who run hotels to people who plan group tours.

Consumer magazines are available in the bookstore, airport, and other newsstands, and these are the travel magazines you are probably most familiar with. They include major titles like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler as well as smaller regional pubs like Edible Columbus and New York Family.

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Should I pitch a story before I’ve traveled to a destination?

This depends on one thing (how sure you are that you will be able to deliver the story you’ve pitched), which in turn depends on three things:

  • how experienced you are
  • how much prior research you’ve done
  • how much control you have over your own schedule

If that made you nervous just reading the phrase “how sure you are that you will be able to deliver,” the answer is probably no, but we’ve got a whole post about when you should and shouldn’t pitch before your trip.

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Should I pitch the same story to more than one magazine at a time?

Yes! Absolutely. But not the exact same wording. Magazine editors need to know that you understand their publication and audience, so you should reslant each pitch you send to make sure that your pitch resonates with each editor.

And when your story gets accepted, make sure to let the other editors you reached out to know that the story has been picked up elsewhere.

The only time I don’t advise doing this is when you already have a relationship with a magazine. Let that editor have priority and follow up before you submit the idea elsewhere.

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What about when a magazine says it doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts?

There is a difference between an unsolicited manuscript and an unsolicited pitch. An unsolicited manuscript submission is when a writer sends in an entire story that is already written with a “pitch” that more or less says, “Here’s a story. Would you like it?”

A pitch, on the other hand, says something more like, “Here’s a story that I could write for your magazine. This is what it would be about. And I would write it in this format.” Then the editor has the chance to say, “I already have a story just like that, but could you make it a profile instead of a narrative piece?” or “I don’t have anymore feature spots, but could you do that as a round-up as five places for this section in the front of the magazine?”

Being flexible in this way not only shows the editor you are a professional, but also gives you more of a chance of being published.

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How do I change my password?

You can change your password in two places. In the menu on the right side of the page, mouse over “Your Membership” and then click on “Edit Your Profile.”

You also have a lot of different options regarding passwords, log-ins, and managing what devices you are signed in from by going into your WordPress user backend by clicking on your user photo (or the grey blank face if you don’t have a user photo) in the upper lefthand corner of your screen where it says, “Howdy, [your name].”

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How do I cancel my membership?

You can cancel your subscription to the Travel Magazine Database at any time in the following manner:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. If you do not know your password, make sure to use the lost password function so you are not locked out from too many erroneous log-ins.
  3. Go to the “Your Membership” page (https://travelmagazinedatabase.com/register/your-membership/)
  4. Select the option to cancel your account.

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Help! I’ve gotten locked out of my account from enterting the wrong password too many times. Can you let me back in?

If you enter an incorrect password more than three times when attempting to log in to the Travel Magazine Database, your IP address will be locked from accessing the database for two hours.

This happens automatically, not manually, and there are several paths to avoid or work around this issue that you can pursue if this happens to you or feels like it’s about to:

  1. If you don’t know your username, that’s not a problem. Try to log in with the email address your account is connected to instead. We’ve see accounts set up with some incredibly creative (and hard-to-remember-looking!) usernames, but you can avoid having to remember your user name by logging in with your email instead.
  2. Make sure you are using the correct email address to access your account. The email address connected to your account is the one you originally received you receipt. We know many people have a plethora of email addresses these days, and we’ve seen people get locked out and unable to use the “Lost Password” function simply because they are trying to access their account with a different email address.
  3. Make sure you have received a receipt for your original database purchase. We have seen individuals input the characters of their email address incorrectly, so when they try to log in with their actual email address, it doesn’t work, because their email address is mispelled in their Travel Magazine Database account. If this is the case, email us and we will correct the email address in your file.
  4. If you’ve enterted the incorrect password twice, immediately use the “Lost Password” link to reset your password rather than try again and potentially lock out your IP address.
  5. If you’ve hit the lockout limit, the IP address you previously used will be restricted from logging into the Travel Magazine Database for two hours. That means that you can try again from a different IP address right away if you have an editor’s email address or magazine section you need to see right away. We recommend accessing the site from your phone (on the cell network as opposed to Wi-Fi, as your Wi-Fi IP address is what is affected by the lock out, and doing an immediate “Lost Password” reset.

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