Last week I received an email from someone who had read an article of mine. She writes poetry and her goal is to be a published author. In preparation for the meeting, I printed out an article from the Internet and compiled this list. Our meeting went well and she identified the tips she was going to work on first.
1. Write ezine articles. This is one of the best ways to get published and garner publicty. Authors write the articles for free and anyone may publish them for free (electronic and print) as long as they follow the publishing guidelines.
2. Write for online support groups. Many groups and foundations offer reliable support. Find one that matches your interests and write for it. You may choose to write for several groups.
3. Submit work to magazines. Many journals and magazines do not pay for submissions and your “pay” is the publicity you receve. This writing helps you garner name recognition and often leads to additional work.
4. Write for your religious community newsletter. This will help you to sharpen your skills and garner more name recognition. If you are adventurous, you may offer to edit the newsletter.
5. Join a writing group. Learn about the group before you join. Log onto the website and talk with some of the members. Make sure your writing is a match for the group.
6. Join a specialized group. Specialized groups understand your work, provide customized tips, resources, and conferences. Think of the dues as an investment in yourself.
7. Invest in writing resources. I have found the “Associated Press Style Book and Libel Manuel” to be extremely helpful. “Writer’s Digest” books have helped me as well. Over the years, I have put together a small library of writing resources and use them all the time.
8. Learn how to write a query letter. Many books offer tips on this skill. Good query letters take lots of time and practice. Personally, I do not think a query letter should be longer than one page.
9. Learn how to write a book proposal. This skill also takes time and practice. Your proposal should be concise, neat, and meet the submission guidelines.
10. Beef up your resume. If you have not written a resume before, find out how to do it. Stick to the facts and leave out the hype. Revise your resume regularly to see the progress you have made.
11. Learn about potential publishers. Before you send anything to a potential publisher, learn about the books they publish, best sellers, and any awards they have received. Keep a file folder on all of your submissions, when you made them, and the responses you received.
12. Challenge yourself. Keep a running list of article and book ideas. Pick a promising idea and start working on it.
Breaking into the publishing business is not easy, especially in this economy. A logical, organized approach may tilt the publishing odds in your favor.
Copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson