I’m working in a migraine fog this morning, so I’m a little late in getting this posted. Hope you’re all having a wonderful Thursday. The weather is simply gorgeous in South Carolina today.
If you’re a writer, you want to be published! No secret formula exists for publication, but certain things will improve and hasten your chances of seeing your name in print.
Topping the list is good writing. This means impeccable copy—your best work. Nothing else is acceptable. You can kiss your chances good-bye, if you don’t live by this market standard.
Your goals shouldn’t be set so high that only a book with your name on the cover adorning the shelves of Books a Million will satisfy. Start small. Even if you have an idea for a book, seek publication with magazine articles and short stories first.
An essential writing tool at this stage is Writer’s Market Guide or, for Christian writers, Christian Writer’s Market Guide. Both books are available in bookstores and online. Writer’s Market also publishes more targeted category guides for short stories and poems. These guides are published annually and can be obtained used for reasonable prices.
A magazine subscription to Writer’s Digest is a valuable resource. A subscription is reasonably priced, but if you don’t want to pay, their website has tons of articles archived to learn from.
Search for small magazines and online writing opportunities. If you’re a Christian writer, the Sunday School take home paper is an excellent break-in opportunity. These listings are in the guides above.
Don’t limit yourself to paying markets.
The objective is to get your name in print to build your credentials and improve your craft. We’ve discussed before that writing is more than talent. Even the most talented writer has to hone their skills. Smaller, non-paying markets are an excellent place to build your resume.
I can’t stress enough the value of attending writer’s conferences. For a new writer, the price may seem hard to justify to family members who try to reconcile the cost with your lack of income in the field. But it’s like attending college. The costs come first, the payoff later. Writer’s conferences jumpstart your writing career like nothing else. They often shorten the length of time to publication because of the opportunities to meet with agents, editors, and other writers who will form your network to get you there.
The bottom line is—there’s no secret or magic formula to getting published, except learning what you don’t know. Seems like a very basic concept, but when starting out, it’s the unknowns that work against you. The resources I’ve listed above will help.
Good, old-fashioned hard work and persevering in daily writing will get you published one day. Believe in yourself and the talent God blessed you with.
Please leave a comment, if you have a question you’d like answered or if you have a piece of advice to add to the above. I’d love to hear experiences about attending writer’s conferences, as well.