I’m often asked if we accept unsolicited queries. We do. We just haven’t had the submission guidelines posted on the web site for the last couple of years – and now we do.
Every issue includes at least a couple of articles from freelance writers, many of which started out as unsolicited queries. In fact, we rarely assign projects or techniques to freelancers; we’d much rather have folks tell us about what they’re interested in writing, rather than trying to tell them in what they ought to be interested. A personal connection to the subject comes through on the page – and that usually makes for a better read.
And we’d love to get some new “voices” into our pages. And a contemporary project or three.
So if you have an query you’ve been eager to submit, take a look at the submission guidelines (where you’ll also find a sample query).
But first, a few hints (also known as a look at my pet peeves as an editor):
• I beg you – before submitting your work to us for consideration – read the last couple of issues (at least) of PWM. Use what you see and read therein to honestly assess whether your project or technique is right for us. Do you have the best-ever “How to Design & Build the Perfect Backyard Deck” article? Congratulations (and I’d love to be invited to your barbecue party) – but I don’t care if it indeed achieves the platonic ideal of “deck”; we’re highly unlikely to consider it. Have you built “The Ultimate Router Table?” (So has everyone else. In every woodworking magazine.) If it is indeed the ne plus ultra of router tables, it’s possible we might route it amongst the editors for consideration…but that is a slim possibility indeed. And I don’t care if you’ve achieved the very apogee of wooden yard art – we are not going to consider it for publication (though it might amuse me).
• In addition to reading the last couple of issues, give an at least cursory glance to the contents from the last two years’ worth of issues (you’ll find that information on the Online Extras pages: popularwoodworking.com/feb13 … /apr13 … /oct13 … etc). Do you notice a published article that seems an awful lot like your idea? If so, we’re unlikely to consider yours.
• Also take a look at the other woodworking magazines (I understand there are one or two). If you see a similar build or technique article in the last year therein, we’re unlikely to consider your query. (It could happen…but your approach/design would have to be in some way significantly better.)
• Actually follow the submission guidelines. Unless you and your work are incredibly well-known, we need the information requested in the guidelines to make an informed decision.
• Do not spell my name incorrectly. Do not spell Glen’s name incorrectly. The title of the magazine is Popular Woodworking, not Poplar Woodworking. And, for the love of cheese, do not use a different magazine’s title in your query. (Note that we may be inclined to overlook these types of errors if your query is otherwise stellar, but you’re not helping your case.)
The above reads a lot like one of my old composition syllabi. (#sorry/not sorry)
So, with the many persnickety caveats above in mind, we truly do welcome your queries.
p.s. You’ll find a permanent link to the Submission Guidelines in the footer on every page of the site.