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13 Tips to Get Published
by Bing Fuentes
- Editors have personal quirks. Follow their lead. Read the Staff Box to get the contact persons, address, phone numbers, website, email address and how to submit.
- Calling to inquire is the easiest way. They wonít see how pale, tense and sweaty you are. Ask for the editor or his/her assistant and know their subject preferences, treatment, article length in words or pages, font type, font size, margins and spacing.
- If he/she requires first time contributors to submit personally, bring published and unpublished works. Make sure theyíre suited to the publicationís image, style and readers. A variety of works (say, a combo of poetry, short stories, press releases, profiles and opinion pieces) will show your versatility.
- Some editors ask for a resume to know your school or career background. Highlight all experiences and trainings related to writing.
- Some publications accept faxed contributions. Be sure to confirm receipt. To be doubly sure, I still mail a hard copy and check with them after 3-5 days. If the post office is inconsistent, find a reliable courier service. This is a godsend to those who canít leave the house, school or office because it saves time, money and energy.
- Some publications donít like email attachments. Youíll be instructed to cut and paste your piece to the body of your message. If itís too long, send it in parts and indicate it in the subject line to guide them. Ask for an alternate email address and send it there, too, to make sure it reaches them.
- Always have a cover page and make full use of it. Why are you sending that piece? Are you a regular subscriber? What do you like about their publication? Describe your favorite section or writer. Namedrop people you know in the industry, your writing experience or aspirations, the lectures youíve attended or workbooks youíve bought - anything that shows your eagerness to hone your talent and be published.
- Always list down your contact details. Some publications are willing to try out new writers by giving them assignments. Youíll be given a guideline to follow and a deadline to meet, of course.
- Itís faster to get published if your articles are interesting, timely and easy to read and understand. Is there a current issue youíd like to put a spin on? Is there an emerging trend you can foresee? Can you make something common unique, funny or attractive? Or find whatís universal on a seemingly unusual topic, event or situation? Use similarities and contrasts. Use simple words and sentences.
- Submit them as soon as possible, before you get cold feet. For daily newspapers, submit 1-2 weeks ahead. For weeklies, 2-4 weeks. For monthlies, reserve your space at least 2 months early.
- Treat your articles as depreciating assets. Itís not first come, first served especially if the publication follows a weekly or monthly theme. But donít be too scared to follow up the status. Ask the Editor how you can improve it. Itís your article and youíre responsible for it.
- Be professional. If you want to pull it out to submit to another publication, inform them first. Monitor the publication to make sure that they credit you if they decide to use it. Thank them when they do and inquire about the payment procedure. If they require you to collect personally, bring some new articles to drop by the editor or ask for new assignments.
- Create a file of your published works to motivate you. It will keep you going!
Copyright © 2003 Bing Fuentes
Bing Fuentes began writing at age 10 when her English teacher required her class to keep a diary. The summer after Bing's high school graduation, her short story was published in a local magazine. Although she submitted articles to her college paper and company newsletter where she worked for 10 years, the desire to get published (and paid!) resurfaced only in 2001 when she joined writing workshops and met other writers. Contact Bing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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