So You Want To Be Published

My first publication
appeared in this journal
If you're on Facebook, then you already know several of my short stories and photographs were accepted for publication in The Petigru Review and moonShine review.  I received most of this information, including the request to use one of my photographs for the cover of Petigru, on Tuesday of this week.  While these aren't my first publications, the thrill of acceptance never gets old.

It dawned on me as I read through comments on Facebook that many people don't understand the process of how to get published.  So, I thought I'd take today's post to share my thoughts on this topic.  Notice, these are my thoughts.  I don't think there is one perfect formula.  If there were, my novel trilogy would already be published.  Alas, I'm still waiting for that thrill.

What does it take to get published?

Number one, you have to write.  This point sounds simple, but you wouldn't believe how many people tell me they want to write a book.  They aren't writing.  You can't get published if you don't write.

Number two, you should read on the subject of writing. Books on writing abound, so it's not hard to find something worthwhile out there.  Don't know which ones to read?  Look for names you recognize or ask other writers what books they found helpful.  My favorite is probably Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

Number three, find a writing group, workshop, or conference and attend. I belong to South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, a statewide agency with chapters throughout the state, and to Emrys, a local writing non-profit.  Many people tell me they don't want to waste the group's time, so they want to wait until their work is polished.  Wrong.  These groups exist to help you polish your writing. If you find a group whose personality works for you then stick with them. Be careful to find a group that does give you honest, but tactful, feedback.  Some groups share their work and pat each other on the back.  Your family will do that for you.  You want a group who will challenge you to improve.

Number four, submit your work.  Seriously, if you don't submit your work, you'll never get traditionally published.  Granted, if you prefer to self-publish, this point doesn't matter, but you should do all three of the other points before following this route.  I know some writers who set aside one day a week to submit their work.  That's how you get published.  No one is going to call you and say they want to print that story you've never shown to anyone.  Get it out there.

For those of you who are published, what other tips do you have? How did you get published?


Lester L. Stephenson said…
I found the information, tips, and articles on writing in Writer's Digest very helpful to get that first byline.
Bob Strother said…
All good advice. Especially the part about submitting. When I was writing almost full time, I devoted each Friday to submissions. It's hard to do that when you're on a writing "roll." But that's how you get in print.

Through a lot of trial and error, I found two rules apply.

Rule 1: Be persistent!

Rule 2: see Rule 1


Thanks for writing about this topic, Barbara!
Lester, yes, there are a lot of resources available to us. Writer's Digest is a tried and true one as well as The Writer.
Bob, you were the author who clued me in on that practice. I really liked the idea of reserving one day a week to submit.
David, it's so true! If you give up, it won't happend.

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