If you are researching your family history or recalling memories of the past or if you are a local/social history researcher you probably read and/or subscribe to one or more of the magazines that specialise in genres such as family history, genealogy, ancestry, local/social history, nostalgia etc.. But as an aspiring writer would you like to write for niche magazines to give yourself the opportunity to share your own stories and experience?
Although the majority of the content in these niche magazines is written by staff writers or professional writers, some do have opportunities for contributions from amateur writers. So, if you are keen to share some of your stories or you feel you could offer practical advice based on your own research experience, then this is an area/market worth investigating.
To find which magazines are most suited to your interests and areas of expertise, do an internet search or visit your local newsagent. Once you have narrowed your search down to the most relevant magazines, check whether they consider proposals from non-staff/non-professional writers and if so whether they accept general proposals and/or whether they are looking for contributions that fit into in a specific area or genre.
For example, Best of British magazine has a regular section called Yesterday Remembered which includes six pages of readers’ memories. They also invite letters and photos about readers’ experiences, anecdotes and memories of the past. Check out their Media Pack for more details. Family Tree magazine welcomes queries from writers looking to contribute to their magazine and/or website. Before you approach the editor read their writer’s guidelines and take a look at the content of the magazine to get a feel for the type of material they publish. Historic UK also welcomes guest articles for its History Magazine. They accept almost anything related to British History but they say “think coffee table reading!” Their articles attempt to enlighten and educate, and, with equal importance, to entertain. Before you submit your article read their Write for Historic UK page. For Yorkshire dwellers and/or aficionados, Down You Way shares nostalgic and social history stories from the past and they welcome submissions from readers.
Although most in-depth articles and ‘how to’ articles are written by professionals, if you have a very specific area of expertise it is worth approaching an editor to see if they are interested.
Approaching an editor
If you have an idea for an article or story that fits in with the style and content of a particular magazine send your proposal directly to the editor (contact details are usually available online or printed in the magazine). If you are not familiar with the magazine, do read at least three or four issues to get a feel for what the editor wants before submitting any ideas or proposals.
Before you make a proposal to a magazine editor also make you sure you know and understand what their requirements are. For example, some editors might only be interested in contributions that fit into in a specific area or genre (this could include letters to the editor) while others might give preference to article proposals which are accompanied by photos/pictures. Also take a look at or request the writing guidelines for the publication (some magazines publish their writing guidelines online). Note that editors will only be interested in articles that are original and previously unpublished.
Society and group magazines
If you are not ready to approach the national magazines then you could consider the smaller-circulation magazines produced by family history societies, genealogy groups, local history groups, etc.. These magazines not only keep their members/readers up-to-date with the latest news and events but they also often offer the opportunity for people to share their own stories and experience. Filling all of the pages of a group or society magazine can be a challenge and so many editors would welcome ideas for articles/stories. Once again do a search online to find out what opportunities there are out there.