Advice for Writers (101)

I can haz mailbag again!

Another friend recently wrote me when I sent out an e-mail to friends about the stuff I’ve had published over the summer…

Dude! …you’re killin’ me… I WANT IN!!!

Hey, I want in on this writin’ articles and gettin’ published action. Give me some tips. I’ve been playing around (ok, more thanplaying around) with the idea of writing articles for Christian magazines (along with some other ventures). I’ve even tried to approach a couple magazines and got rejected. So, I figured I’m probably not going about it right and thought I should probably touch base with a professional… that’s YOU!

So here’s my starter advice for writers (fiction and non):

* I highly recommend the current year’s Writer’s Market (it should be about $25); it can help you find more markets. Also I recommend _The Writer_ magazine. They do both nonfic and fiction writing, have more markets, and lots of different types of advice. Another good list – especially for speculative fiction types – is Gila Queen’s Guide to Markets.

* The Writer’s Market will have advice on writing query letters as well, which will be a helpful tool.

* It sounds like you already have a niche you want to explore; what special things or perspective can you bring to that niche? What’s different about your experience? What contacts/experience can you bring into it? You’ll emphasize these in your query letter as well.

* Use rejection letters as cheap wallpaper. 🙂 Seriously – because rejection does NOT mean anything about the quality of your work. You can get rejected because of space considerations, because they’ve got too many submissions that month, or a ton of other reasons. Maybe they just ran an article like yours a month or two months before. Ignore them, keep going.

* Commit to a writing goal – even 100 words a day. Commit to a submission goal. I submit one thing a week – which tells you something about my rejection rate, too. When something’s been rejected, that means you don’t have to worry about what to submit that week – you just find a new market for it.

* Track your submissions. I use a free program called SONAR3 (by “spacejock software”, I know how hokey that sounds, but they’re legit), but you can use excel, pen & paper. Just do a way that makes sense for you and that you can keep going and submitting.

* MONEY FLOWS TOWARDS THE AUTHOR. You may choose to do something for free – the stuff at 365 Tomorrows isn’t pay – but don’t offer to do it for free, esp. for nonfiction for magazines and websites. If they don’t mention money, you can. If you do too much for free, then you’re devaluing your own work.

That help? Questions about the above?

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