Writing is one thing – finding someone to publish your work is another.
Totally a novice in this area, I went to the book store and spent hours looking through books with similar formats as what I envisioned my work would eventually become. I took notes. Then, I purchased my favorites. At home, I compared the content, texts, and layouts. I tried to determine what made articles saleable and books marketable. After all, publishers are looking to make money and they want material they can sell.
With that in mind, I sat down and began to organize my thoughts and years of notes that I had compiled for writing a submission. I didn’t copy someone else’s format or ideas, but I did use the general patterns that I saw in the magazines and books I had purchased to help me design what I thought was a saleable product for today’s market.
Then I purchased several of the books that listed publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Some of these are Writer’s Market by Kirsten Holm and Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market by Alice Pope. I also gathered up several magazines and books that were similar to what I wanted to publish and copied down those publishers’ addresses as well.
One by one, I packaged up a brown manila 9X12 and mailed off my samples. Where email submissions were allowed, I copied and pasted, keeping in mind that editors often do not open attachments for reasons of time constraints in downloading or for fear of viruses. I received many many rejection letters. But I just kept believing that the key was numbers. In other words, I kept on mailing samples. I felt like statistically, one day, one of those submissions would end up in the right place at the right time.
Finally, it happened – my first break. The first publisher who was interested in my work asked me to write a sample on a certain subject and meet a deadline. I did and have been writing for him ever since. I learned from that and now when I query for new work, I always offer to write a trial
Even if I’ve never done that kind of work before, publishers will sometimes give me a chance to try it one time. If they like the product I turn out, they will often let me have the assignment. I got my first online magazine column by asking to do the column as a trial. The editor liked my work and I got the column long-term. And, of course, each new thing that I do adds something else to my resume and makes me more marketable as a versatile writer.
Every week, I trawl the Internet for freelance writing jobs. Good places to look are:
- writers write
- Creative Freelancers
I also subscribe to writing magazines and journals. Job opportunities and writing contests are usually listed in the backs of these publications.
The bottom line is that you must actively pursue a publisher. Be committed not just to the writing but to the marketing of your product. It is tempting to just sit and write. But you don’t get published that way.The bottom line