To most car lovers no job sounds more glamorous than that of an automotive journalist. They dream of testing out the latest cars, following their favorite racers, and writing about the most exciting innovations in the industry. In order to become an automotive journalist, though, individuals have to do a bit more than just obsess about the sleek and stylish cars on the road. They have to put in a lot of hard work, often starting out at the bottom of a sometimes thankless job.
Learn Everything about the Industry
The first thing aspiring automotive journalists must do is learn everything they can about cars, driving, the automotive industry, and the sport of racing. They should subscribe to every car and driving magazine they can get their hands on and get a feel for the style of writing, the types of articles, and the level of detail that each article includes. They should carefully research whether those outlets employ fulltime writers or if they prefer to hire freelance journalists and how they accept or designate submissions and assignments. Some magazines that accept freelancers include Drive Magazine, Road King, and American Road.
Gaining Writing Experience
Automotive journalists make their living by writing. They must learn and master the craft and mechanics of writing to succeed. The ways to do this are many. Most individuals pursue a degree in writing or journalism, though a journalism degree is by no means a requirement. Almost any level college education will equip individuals with the writing skills they will need to succeed. Individuals can also seek out internships with local publications, write freelance pieces for submission to small market publishers, or they can simply write for a personal blog. The important thing is to get in the habit of writing constantly and writing well.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
Once they have some experience writing, aspiring automotive journalists should begin looking for publication opportunities. They may already have some small articles under the belt at local or small magazines, or they may have no publications at all. The important thing at this juncture is to get real work out there. Freelancers should begin pitching their best ideas and querying their favorite publications for small blurbs. Though most of these pitches will be met with rejection at first, every small item put into print can go into the journalist’s portfolio. After the journalist has built up enough clips, he or she may want to begin applying for staff positions with magazines for whom they’ve written.
Many of the best automotive journalists got to where they are by sheer perseverance. They sought out every opportunity for publication, and they built longstanding relationships with editors and publishers. Only after years of hard work did they turn a passion for cars into a stable and lucrative career as an automotive journalist. Those who want to write about cars for a living can do so, but only if they put in the hard work and take advantage of every opportunity.