Monday, August 13, 2012

The Submission Process, Part 1

There is one great truth in writing for publication. You will not be published if you don’t submit your work. Submitting is step one. Sounds easy, doesn’t it, but in reality a writer must have a few items in her internal tote bag to help in the process.

First and foremost, she’ll need the courage to send her work to an editor. And don’t kid yourself--it does take courage to send your baby out into the publishing sea. The waters are deep, and the sharks numerous. Other authors have sent their precious words to the same editor. Which one is going to survive? There’s no way to tell, but if you don’t submit, you’ll never know if your words will be the ones to swim right into the publication process. Take a chance and send your work along with whatever is required in the writers’ guidelines. The rejections may outweigh the acceptances, but that’s what this business is all about. Statistics tell us that writers receive more rejections than acceptances, so toughen your hide and send your work to an appropriate publication. If it comes back, send it to another publication.

The best way to match your story, essay, or article with the right magazine, newspaper or ezine is to study market guides. There are several guides published annually that offer complete information about hundreds of publications. They list address, phone numbers, editors’ names, requirements, payment and sometimes list current needs. Guides exist for novel writers, magazines, playwrights, poets, and song lyric writers. It is to the writer’s advantage to study the guide that pertains to her particular type of work. Most library reference sections have copies of the market guides. A writer can spend hours in the library taking notes, but she can also go online to find market guides or websites of specific publications, or visit a bookstore and purchase a copy. Keep in mind that they become outdated in a hurry.

It’s also possible to use an internet search engine for writers’ guidelines. Use keywords to narrow the search. If you have written an article about building a backyard pond, look for garden magazines or How-To publications. If there is a particular magazine that interests you, put the name in a search engine and look for the guidelines. Ask yourself if your article, story or essay would be a good fit. It’s a waste of time to submit to them if you feel your work is way off base for that publication. 

Part 2 tomorrow...

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