Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Submitting to magazines: part one

I started submitting to magazines because of something I read in a publisher's guidelines: you have to be published to get published. I had a picture book I wanted to sell and I wanted to do everything I could to work toward that goal.

All the writing, submitting and those countless rejections did wonders for me as a writer. My writing improved and went in directions I had never thought of. I learned (sort of) to be patient, and developed that "thick skin" that everybody always talks about.

In the beginning, it was exhausting and I had only a few small successes. But I kept going because of something else I read, this time in an article in a market guide: if you have talent and you are persistent, you will eventually succeed.

Well, there ya go! My sales to a few little publications confirmed (to me) that I could actually write. It wasn't just some crazy dream. Besides, I was having a great time doing it.

Now that I've been writing for a few years, submitting to magazines is much more than a means to an end. It's helped me to sharpen my skills, discover what type of writing I really love, and, of course, it gives me an occassional pay check and the sense of accomplishment that goes with it.

I believe everyone who wants to write for children should submit to children's magazines. Face it--not every children's story is meant to be a picture book! Here's some of what submitting to magazines will do for you as a writer:

*Rejections will force you to look at your work more objectively.

*Word count limits will force you to keep your writing tight.

*Acceptances will build your confidence AND your resume.

*It gives you opportunities to write fun stuff, like word puzzles, that you might not otherwise try.

*Plus, writing for magazines is just good practice. You can't help but improve!

In my next post, look for some practical advice on submitting to magazines, including what I consider to be the best way to "break in."

4 comments:

  1. This is very interesting. There seems to be a very intricate process to becoming a published childrens book author. I have much more respect for those who have kept with it to make their dream a reality.

    Keep up the good work, you can do it. :-)

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  2. This is a fantastic post Becky! So informative and really reaching out to teach us here in Blogland. This is so true and what wonderful and practical advice.

    I hope your next post will include perhaps tips of how to discover article topics for magazines, how to chose the right mag for your article, more about word puzzles - do you need special software to create this? Do mags typically what snail mail submissions or email? And can you rec'd the top, say 5 or 10 mags to submit to in your opinion???

    You've got me buzzing. I think i might suggest everyone in the Hunterdon County Writer's Group to write an article for submission as an exercise...

    Thanks for the great tips! I'm going to link this posting to my blog.

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  3. Wow, Sheri! You really are thirsty for more. I will try not to disappoint. :-)

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  4. Hey thought you might also enjoy this... on Chris's blog, she is having a 1,000 word writing exercise, perfect timing for your magazine submission postings. She’s on my blog as Christine Eldin's weekly writing exercises at http://abenchpress.blogspot.com/

    Check it out, I think you'd be good at this...

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