Vision: A Resource for Writers

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Publishing Basics

By Leza O'Dowd
Copyright 2008 by Leza O'Dowd, All Rights Reserved

Getting published is such and big and important part of writing for many writers, and no matter how much or how little they write, they must at least know the basics to achieve success. There are many different strategies and guidelines for writing and there are many ideas and tips that will help you increase your chances with prospective publishers. Entire books on the subject have been written. All you need are a few simple rules and you'll be revelling in success in no time. Here are some publishing basics to help get you started.

1)    First of all, you need to know what you're writing about.  What are you interested in? What are you excited or passionate about? What do you enjoy writing about? Find out all you can and then get writing!

2)    Keep writing no matter what! Practice makes perfect -- well, really good. The more you write (try to do so every day), the easier it will get to write those novels or articles you've had stored inside your imagination.

3)    As always, check and re-check your work.  Editors may overlook pieces for simple grammatical errors. Read it aloud and make sure it's your absolute best.

4)    Be original. Especially for articles, editors look to freelancers for new ideas and fresh approaches to familiar subjects.

5)    Don't forget to read and write. Reading different publications can give you a good idea of market trends, prevailing styles, suitable formats, and the type of articles and stories each publishes.

6)    It is always important to research the market you intend to write for before you begin writing for it.  Read the publication and get a feel for its style. This will greatly increase your chances of being accepted.

7)    Make good use of the resources available to you such as the Australian Writers Market, Writers Marketplace, and the Writers' Yearbook.

8)    Check submission details and follow them correctly. Everyone has different submission guidelines.  Some may want to be contacted first or want a resume with the submission.  Don't just send your work out willy-nilly and hope it will be accepted. Do your best to follow guidelines and you'll have a far better chance of being successful.

9)    Make sure you're prepared to edit and revise if a submission is not exactly what the publisher wants but still could fit their publication.

10) One way to sharpen your writing skills is to imitate your favourite authors.  It may very well give you a starting point or help you get some words on a blank page.

11) Join a writers' group.  Discussing your work and receiving encouragement from fellow writers can be invaluable, especially when you get stuck.  There will always be someone who knows more than you who can help you out.

12) Finally, don't give up! Many first time writers feel so overwhelmed by rejection that they give up. Rejection is part of writing. It can be hard and disappointing but you can get published if you keep trying!