You are a Writer
First I’d like to say that if you love to write, you can call yourself a writer. It doesn't matter whether or not you’ve been published! And if you enjoy blogging, you’re definitely a writer (and a little crazy too!—in a pleasant sort of way!)
The gift of writing manifests itself in different ways. You could be an excellent letter writer, or great at writing grants for your company. One friend of mine writes great birthday card verses. Her family loves receiving the customized cards.
If you'd like to send your work to an editor, for possible publishing, its helpful to remember that every editor has a different personality and preference. Some will like your piece and some will not. Another factor to consider when trying to get the attention of an editor, is trying to find out what that editor is looking for. All magazines and publishing companies have different (and changing!) needs. Trying to match what an editor wants can be a little tricky. But it’s possible!
Find Out What Publishers Need
For instance, you could submit an excellent article to a kids magazine about giraffes. But if they are looking for articles on sea life, you won’t get published. So do not take it personally if you get that dreaded rejection letter. Just try to study the magazine more closely—or the types of books they publish. Need some help with this? Read on...
Most of us don’t have a bundle of money to lay down to purchase all the back issues of magazines, in order to “study” them. Instead, go to a publisher’s website. They should have their current issue up—or current books they have published. For the magazines…click on some of the articles. Let’s say, for example, you wanted to write an article about prayer. Has this magazine recently published several articles on prayer? Give them something else. What haven’t they done? Note: Yet keep in mind that magazines are always looking for a new spin on an old topic.
In addition to the Writer’s Guidelines, many magazines will make available to you a “theme list”. For example, children’s periodicals often have theme lists. The month of May might be “Making New Friends”, and June might be “Summer Craft Projects”. In your big Writer’s Market book (see last Wednesday’s post) look up a particular publisher and see if a theme list is available. If it is, follow the instructions for obtaining one. If the instructions are unclear (often the case) it’s okay to call the publisher and ask how to obtain their theme list.
Most of my publishing experience has been in writing articles for magazines. But I hope those who are writing books will find these writing hints useful. If you are writing a book, ask yourself…can these chapters be broken down—or tailored into an article? If you manage to get an article or two published--relating to your book manuscript, it will do you good. Publisher's may look at your book more seriously! But remember: Not all books will have chapters that make good articles...so use your head on this! You may find your fiction novel chapter may be a little challenging to change into an article!
Have a great day! And I’ll see you next week for Wednesday Writer’s Club! Drop me a comment, if you have time. I’d love to say hello to you and hear about your writing!