Sunday, January 20, 2019

Where to Begin Publishing

Publishing can be confusing and overwhelming. Where do you begin the process? Recently an unpublished writer contacted me for some guidance. For many years, she had been interested in publishing and writing in her journal. Once she sent something to a magazine and got rejected. Then she hasn't tried again. Yes she reads blogs and websites and has purchased the Christian Writers Market Guide (all good steps in the process). Yet she was overwhelmed and unsure where to start her journey.

While I've been in publishing many years, I still recall those early days in my writing life. I could identify with the overwhelming feeling and confused about where to begin the publishing journey. If you are in this situation with your writing, here's what I recommend:

1. Write articles for Sunday school take home papers. Almost every type of church has publications which are given out during Sunday School. These are called Sunday School Take Home Papers and are published 52 times a year. Editors have a huge need to fill these issues with quality writing and are always looking for the right material. Also their circulations are generally 100,000 to 200,000 which means lots of exposure for the writer. Also many of these publications have theme lists where the editor tells you the topics they need. If you write on those topics, then you increase your possibility of getting their attention and that they will publish it.

2. Write personal experience stories. Many publications including Sunday school take homes, publish personal experience stories. Each of us have these stories but are you writing them and trying to get them published? Can you write the story with a solid beginning, middle and end? Can you conclude with a single point called a takeaway for the reader? These articles are often 500 to 1000 words in length but before you fire off your submission, check the guidelines (normally online) and read some of their publication (online). You'd be surprised how many writers don't do this critical step in the submission process.

3. Regularly submission to publications. I'd like to be published in Reader's Digest. At the moment it is very unlikely that will happen because I'm not sending them anything. Notice in my opening story the writer send something once and got rejected. I know everyone gets rejected. Yes I get rejected in the process. That rejection isn't personal but simply saying it was not the right material at the right time for this publication. Maybe the material is right for a different publication. Persistence and consistency in your submissions will help you get published.

4. Understand getting published leads to more opportunity. The editors and literary agents are looking for people with experience. You get experience writing for magazines and it can lead to books and other possibilities.
Everyone has to begin the publishing journey some place. I suggest you begin with magazines because they are short, targeted and quicker than books plus you reach thousands of people with your writing. I understand why people want to write books and hold them in your hand. I encourage you to look for the broader possibility of magazines—whether you are brand new or have a lot of experience.

Where did you begin the publishing process? Does this resonate and raise some questions? Let me know in the comments below.


Where do you begin to get published? Get the specifics here from a prolific editor. (ClickToTweet)

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