There’s one thing we should get straight. If you’re looking to learn all those geek-speak emoticon hieroglyphic winkey-smiley code symbols, you’ve come to the wrong article. This is not about cyber-centric parlance. There will be no 12-letter acronyms in lieu of conversational phrases. There will be no obscure technical references ending with three exclamation points denoting excitement about said obscure technical references.
Sure, there are some Net users who communicate almost exclusively in this cryptic high-tech vernacular. But they’re a minority. An astute little space-alien minority.
Point is: Most online editors and writers aren’t techies writing for techies about techie things. We’re just opportunists who’ve tapped a new market—374 million online readers strong, according to eTForecasts, and growing faster than any other mass medium. For us, technology is a means, not an end. We’ve supplemented our newsstand options with the Net, but we’re still writing and selling the same cultural/comical/whatever-ical pieces we’ve been writing for traditional media.
Not exactly the same. The same topics, yes. But writing for the Internet and the Internet’s audience does have its distinct nuances, and knowing these nuances will help you sell articles online. Here are some tips, traps and tricks (try saying that ten times fast) that I’ve learned from being on both sides of the online magazine query letter for the last nine years.
Know Your Readers
Online readers are really whoever you want them to be. With personal Net access costing less than $20 per month, and free access being provided by everyone from public and private schools to public libraries and employers, there are just so many different people online—people of all ages, all academic backgrounds, all incomes, all cultures—that you can easily find readers interested in topics that interest you, as well as online magazines catering to those interests.
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