Are you serious about publishing your work?
Want to know how professional writers send their stuff out for publication?
Follow these rules and you might just get published someday!
Rule One: Find a Good Match
The easiest way to get published is to find the right magazine, journal, or publisher for your type of writing. Common sense will tell you: the better the match, the better your chances of getting published. Go to your local bookstore or library and leaf through as many journals and magazines as you can. Search for writing that looks and sounds like your own. Write down the names and addresses of periodicals that seem like the right place for your writing.
Rule Two: Read The Writer’s Market
Since 1921, there has only been one resource to which all aspiring writers have turned: The Writer’s Market. You can buy this invaluable book at any major bookstore, on Amazon.com, at Writersmarket.com, or you can read it in the reference section of your local library. Every year the publishers of The Writer’s Market put out an updated version of the book, so make sure to get your hands on the most current edition! Inside, you’ll find names and addresses of thousands of publishers, agents, and contests, as well as formatting guides and templates.
Rule Three: Keep a Submission Log
Because most magazines and journals don’t allow simultaneous submissions, but require you to submit a piece to one place at a time, it’s important to keep track of where you’ve sent your work and when. Before putting an envelope in the mail, always make sure to make a detailed record. As a beginner, the last thing you want to do is irritate editors by violating one of the fundamental rules of professional publishing. Note: even if a magazine or journal allows for simultaneous submissions, most editors don’t like it.
If a magazine allows for simultaneous submissions, it will say so in its general guidelines, in which case you may submit one piece to multiple places at the same time. However, the general rule with magazines and journals is to mail your piece to one place and wait 68 weeks for a response before writing a follow-up letter or submitting somewhere else.
Rule Four: Format Your Manuscript
Unless the magazine or journal specifies otherwise, all manuscripts should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins. Please triple check spelling, grammar, and punctuation before printing your piece on clean white paper. Note: you may want to spend a few extra dollars on high quality paper. Editors will take your work seriously if you take it seriously. Some publishers may require a word count and title page. Center your title on the title page and place your name, address, phone, email, and word count in the bottom right corner.
Rule Five: Mail Your Work
When mailing your work you MUST ALWAYS include a SASE, or self-addressed stamped envelope. Forgetting to do this — no matter how good your writing is — could disqualify you from consideration. And to top it off, you may never hear back from a publisher if you don’t pay for the return postage. Do not make this common mistake!
Mail your manuscript in a clean envelope appropriate to the thickness of your piece, (usually 9 by 12 inches).
You should ALWAYS include a cover letter, such as:
Dear (Name of Editor),
I am enclosing my poem “Publish My Work!” for consideration for publication in Poetry Magazine. Write a concise sentence describing your piece.
Then write a sentence who you are as a writer, awards you may have won, other published pieces, etc. If you’re feeling bold, write a sentence or two telling the editor why you think your piece would be a great match for his/her periodical.
Thank you for your time and consideration,