Sunday, May 10, 2020

Where To Begin Publishing

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Recently I got a direct message from someone working on a Master's degree with an interesting topic. She wanted to know where to start the process of publishing. I'm fairly certain when she asked this question, she was thinking about how to get her thesis published as a book. I'm going to answer this question in this article but first let me say sending a direct message is often not the best way to reach me. I have my email address in my twitter profile and prefer email to direct messages. I may miss a direct message but do not miss my emails.

I understand the confusion about where to begin the publishing process. There are many options. My go-to option is to suggest you begin with a magazine article. Anyone can publish anything online like in a blog and the standard of excellence is higher for a print publication. Magazine writing is a great place to learn the skill of publishing. You learn to choose an intriguing title. Also you have to have an interesting first sentence to pull the reader into your article. Magazine articles have a structure and form and expected length. In the process of writing a magazine article, you craft a beginning, solid middle and an ending with a single point for the reader. This point is often called “a takeaway” because it is what you as the author want the reader to take away from reading your piece.See all the various writing skills you gain writing for magazines? And in this process, you are working with a 1000 to 1500 word piece of writing instead of a 60,000 to 100,000 word document (a typical book manuscript).

In general, the print magazine community has a high standard for publication. Online has a lesser standard. Anyone can write a blog or a piece online but it takes work and effort to craft a magazine article. Those of us in the publishing community understand this effort and respect the work involved in getting published in magazines.

There are many possible magazines. Like any submission, I recommend you google their submission guidelines, read the publications online or write for the guidelines and a sample of the publication. Then write a query letter or complete manuscript and send it to the appropriate editor for consideration.

Here's several other action steps besides selecting a few magazines to pitch.

1. Persistence and consistency counts. If you get rejected (and everyone including me gets rejected), try again. The people who only try once or twice typically don't get published. Persistence will pay off for you with magazine editors.

2. Be learning about book publishing and one of the best places I recommend for you to have a realistic expectation is in my most recent book, 10 Publishing Myths. Visit my website and get it from one of the several different options I give on my website. Beyond getting the book, read it and study it and apply the lessons to your own writing goals. I have a number of books on my shelf that I've purchased and never read. 10 Publishing Myths will help you more if you read it and apply the lessons.

Where do you suggest people begin the publishing journey? Where did you begin? Are there other tips you would suggest? Let me know in the comments below.


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