Thursday, April 30, 2015


How-to - Unless a publication is primarily inspirational, they will likely be open to how-to articles. However, not every writer is good at this kind of piece. How-to writers tend to be well-organized and logical thinkers. You need to be able to take what might be a long and confusing process for doing something and turn it into small, logical steps that will lead the reader to a successful conclusion. Most how-tos tend to be related to one (or more) of the basic human interests: self, money, health, family, leisure time, romance, job, or spirituality.

Some how-tos will be written in a Step 1, step 2, step 3 kind of format. Others simple describe the procedure in paragraph form. Often this is the preference of the editor, so know what type your target publication prefers. A how-to can be a short tip for use in a Tips Column or as a filler, or it can be a full-length article. Again the editor’s preference or magazine’s style prevails. A query is usually preferable with a longer article, but tips and fillers can be sent as complete manuscripts. Sidebars are often used with how-to to give sources for supplies, tips for success, or other material
that will be awkward in the body of the article. Some how-tos will require step-by-step photographs or sketches (find out what your target publication requires). Before submitting the piece, have someone unfamiliar with the process read the article and/or
follow the steps see if it makes sense or if you have left out critical information.

Depending on the target audience, it is best to write how-tos with the idea that your reader is not familiar with the vocabulary or technical jargon associated with the topic.When looking for ideas for how-to articles, focus on or write down all the things you know how to do. The list is likely long. Determine who might want to
know how to do each thing—that will be your target audience. Then decide which publications will reach that audience—that will be your market. Examples: How to get the most out of your Bible study; how to teach your child to pray; how to have a spiritual impact on your community; or how to make a macramé birdhouse.

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