Friday, March 23, 2012

How to Get Published, Part 3: Where to Start

There are many hundreds of publishers, and thousands of magazines. Where should you start sending your work?

The best place to start is with the publications that you read. What are the magazines and publishers that really interest you? Think of how you would describe the work that they publish. Does that description also sound like your work? If so, which pieces that you’ve written would go best in which publications or with which publishers? You might want to make a list of publications to send work to, and map that against all the pieces of your writing that are complete and ready to send out. Unless a publication specifies that they do not consider multiple submissions, send your work to all the magazines that seem to match well with it.

There are also publications that pride themselves on discovering new writers. Those might also be another good place to begin. Publications with sections of work by first-time authors include Zyzzyva, The Last Word: West Coast Writing & Artists (only for writers on the West Coast, but that means San Diego to Alaska). I hear that Glimmer Train prides itself on paying at least one third of their honoraria to new or emerging writers. According to my friend Catherine Segurson, Poetry magazine showcases new poets in every issue. They also pay all their contributors.

But one tried and true way to get published is through a personal connection. It helps enormously to meet writers, publishers, and editors. Go to readings where magazines are launching their new issues, or where publishers are presenting their new books. Introduce yourself to the editors. Give them a business card with your name and email and website. Try to get a name and email or address of a person to send your work to directly, and follow up with that person by name, if possible.  

Meet as many people in the literary world as you can. For one thing, they tend to be interesting people! Keep your ears open about information on where to publish. Don’t be afraid to put your work forward, once it’s ready for publication.

Other recent posts on writing topics:
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout
Putting Together a Book Manuscript
Working with a Writing Mentor
How to Deliver Your Message
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?
Why Write Poetry? 
Poetic Forms: IntroductionThe SonnetThe SestinaThe GhazalThe Tanka
Praise and Lament
How to Be an American Writer

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