Submissions and Getting Published

You have a great idea for an article or story, but what do you do now? Is it worth pursuing when you have to put food on the table and pay that nagging light bill?

There are some steps that you can take to make sure that you are able to realize your dream of being a writer AND pay your bills. First, you have to say these words to yourself.


After you do that, you can go from there. Perhaps the most difficult thing that you can do is make the decision to become a writer inside your heart. If you find that you are constantly making jokes, finding the right words for other people during conversations, telling your kids the best bedtime stories without a book or writing great blog posts, you might be a writer at heart. Anyone will tell you that heart is the number one requirement for success in any field.


Not everybody has a supportive family who will try their best to give you time to write and the tools needed. If you are unlucky that way, do not abandon your dream, simply give yourself permission and don’t close the door on your family. You can have a conversation with the family to find out what the family needs from you and let them know that you will try to ensure that they are getting those things, but you cannot abandon your dream because it fuels your soul. It may be that they are afraid that you will not make money at the business of writing. Well, I have met highly paid writers as well as modestly paid writers. I have also met writers who are struggling. The differences between them are varied. There is no one clear winning ingredient that spells success.


The next thing is to start to write about what interests you. Write short responses, short stories, poems or whatever you like. Just keep writing. Get yourself a notebook that you can carry with you everywhere and just write anytime that you get an inspiration. The most common place is in the shower or while doing chores. Just jot down an idea and when your hands are free of the spreadsheet that you’re completing for your boss or the soap from your dishes polish it off.

Personally, I carry Google Docs on my phone and just open a document file when I need to write something. I like it because it has a word count and lets me share the document with email when it is ready.

These ideas will be your inventory when you set up shop so keep track of them and handle them with care. They come from your divine source. Should you refuse to listen to your Muse’s promptings, she will head off to another’s head. Everyday, try to set some time aside to work on these inspirations and fashion them into finished products.

This is your bread and butter. There are bakeries, shoe stores and boutiques. Each sells a specific product. Find out, after you have been collecting your writing for a while, which you specialize in creating. Are you into science fiction, science fact or how-to plumbing articles? Pick one and for now
stick to that. This will be your niche. It is more difficult to find work if you are what is called a generalist, or a person who dabbles in many different questions. Then write something everyday.


You’re ready to share your work and get paid, but how. Well, there are many, many, many markets, or places that will pay you for your work if you send them information about your work and handle yourself with a degree of professionalism.

Market guides list all of the publishers and agents in one handy place. You can buy a market guide at a bookstore or online, and then make sure that you read it carefully. You must study your market guide. In that directory, you will find a subject list with an index of markets. You look through the list by matching the market to your niche. When you have found a market, then carefully read their instructions, or writers’ guidelines, and put your submission together following those guidelines. Some want you to send in your idea, some want a complete manuscript and some only accept agented submissions.


So you got a rejection letter. It is a part of the writer’s life. You will get them, but you cannot give up. There are many publishers out there. Once one says no, take a breather and look at your manuscript. Do you need to revise? If you do, do so, then send it out again to someone else. Keep careful records so that you don’t send the same manuscript or query to the same editor who has already passed on it.

Don’t wait for the results of one submission before beginning another. Go back to your idea list and keep writing. This is important to you and to your heart. Do not kill your dream. Let yourself fly. Keep writing, submitting and believing. It will happen for you.


When you are examining the markets, you will very likely read the magazine or books in the publisher’s catalog. You will find others’ work that you admire. Appreciate it and study it. What do you like about it? You might even send the person a note expressing your appreciation. It will help them get inspiration and sometimes the will to continue writing. We all share this passion and need support. It’s a big universe, but a small world.


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