Tips for Writers
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on January 30, 2015 at 1:30 PM|
First things first, before you send your work out to potential publishers, make sure it's polished—and dare I say, error free. The last thing a writer wants to do is earn a reputation for sending drafted or sloppy work that isn't ready for publication. Sure, even the most seasoned writers and grammar nerds miss things. I'm not talking about the horror of your piece having a missed copyedit item or two. I'm talking about writing that hasn't gone through sessions of revision and editing (self and/or other eyes) because it's new, or it's an oldie-but-goodie that you just pulled back out, or you, the busy writer, somehow think it's the publishing editor's job to catch these things—because, doggone it, your stuff is worth the effort. For the love of dedicated writers everywhere, don't be this type of submitter.
That out of the way, let’s talk shop. I’ve found social media invaluable when looking for submissions opps. Both Facebook and Twitter are great networks where literary journals and magazines—of all sizes and print venues—share their open submissions calls and contests. I know there are other social networks you can utilize this way: LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, even Myspace are places I see creative types connecting and sharing insider information. It’s as easy as friending, following, or liking their pages and just like that, their posts show up when you’re mindlessly—or intentionally—scrolling your newsfeeds. Connecting with such sites on social networks also keeps you up-to-date on other industry related deets, like new publications by aspiring, emerging, and well-known writers; upcoming readings, workshops, and seminars; and insider tips and other writer resources.
Staying connected to writers’ resources organizations and networks via email and newsletter subscriptions are also great ways to learn about submission opps, contests, workshop and seminar events, writing resources, and job openings in the industry. Duotrope (duotrope.com), Winning Writers (winningwriters.com), and Yahoo’s Creative Writers Opportunity List (CRWOPPS-B Yahoo groups) are all accessible outlets for writers of all levels to connect with. Many nonprofits, writing programs, teachers, and writers are also passionate about seeing writers succeed. So bookmark these pages and sites when you find them, and follow or subscribe to them when possible.
A NOTE BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR WORK: Do your homework on the publication. Otherwise, you’re most likely wasting your AND the publication’s time—time all parties could have used to do something productive. In this fast-paced existence, technology makes it easy to figure out if potential lit mags and journals may be interested in your work. Read the publication’s vision and work it’s published already. Then send work that you feel fits their vision and audience. And brace yourself for the rejections as, even with well-published writers, these will greatly outnumber the acceptance letters. Rejection sometimes means the work you sent just doesn’t fit the issue under development, not that the work isn’t publishable. So pay attention to rejection letters that contain side notes and comments that encourage you to send more work. As for rebounding from rejection letter overload: keep finding places to submit and never lose sight that you will find homes for your writing. Consider sending to small, medium, and larger publications simultaneously. And while you’re growing your publication portfolio, share work you’re proud of, and not concerned about using that first publication right, on your own sites. This is a great way to grow a readership and interest in your writing.