How-To articles can open a door to your first publication.
When my friend from California visited this past weekend, I showed her the scarves I am currently knitting for a craft group. I taught her, but, she still insisted on written directions to take home.
How-To articles are always in demand – how to make, build, or be. Read the Table of Contents of most magazines and you are sure to find How-To articles. My first and only sale to Family Circle consisted of 350 words on how to create a successful church craft fund raiser. Teach others a basic skill you take for granted, use your expertise, write what you know, and sell the same idea over and over.
From that first sale of a How-To article use the same information for related pieces. An article on how to gold leaf a picture frame can be slanted to upscale, middle income, and senior magazines. Begin each with a different lead and write with the dissimilar audiences in mind.
Types of How-To vary. The “hands on” teaches things like crafts, sewing, roofing, while the psychological or self-help gives information like fund-raising, packing light, or how to mix and match to get the most from your wardrobe.
Each How-To article needs the following:
1. Where to buy materials, how much to buy, and an estimated cost, i.e. under $10 or $20.
2. Clear step-by-step instructions.
3. Illustrations or photos.
4. Checked and rechecked instructions.
5. The fun and sense of accomplishment from doing it yourself.
Consider yourself a teacher, only you have no students to ask questions for clarity. So, be sure you check your steps.
On looking back over my sales records, I discover I’ve sold many How-To articles. Try it – you’ll like it.