Originally Posted by Savoir Faire
There's some misinformation in this post.
Hardly anyone requires you to send via regular mail and most definitely no magazines charge a "reading fee." Reading fees are mostly associated with agents and are SCAMS.
Second, if you really only submit to one place at a time, good luck selling that. You can submit to 10, hear back from 4 (after pestering) and only 1 will accept.
And, no, they don't always jump on an idea they like. I've had things get assigned SEVEN MONTHS after initial submission, multiple times.
I would agree with this. Most editors are very open to accepting query letters by e-mail. Also, you don't have to write your article and send it in; you can query your idea, showing the editor you have a solid idea of what angle you plan to take and whom you plan to use as sources. (The exception to this would be if you are submitting a personal essay or column. Then, paste the whole thing into the body of the e-mail query.)
I agree about submitting to more than one place. By all means, submit to more than one place -- but if you get your piece accepted by one magazine, you should
call the others and withdraw your query because magazines don't want the same piece running in competing publications.
I'm just getting started in this business, too, but that's what I've learned from my limited experience, talking to more successful freelancers and reading books. (I highly recommend this one