Sunday, October 3, 2010

Trick #1 to getting traditionally published (not in non-fiction)

In the library, magazine store, or bookstore with large magazine section, find the kind of "journal" in the genre you eventually want to publish a novel in.  (or short stories in).  e.g . Literary, Science Fiction, Mystery.  Don't buy the old mags from ten years ago.  Buy or borrow the current stuff.  Put in a request at your library if it doesn't buy that mag or those mags, and you will likely find they will buy it if they know you're interested.  If they already have that magazine, put your name down to reserve the magazine for as soon as the library or bookstore gets it in.  Read every single thing in it, including the ads.  Not only will you get the absolutely most current stories (and the leading edge in publishing), you will have read a whole lot of short things and gotten a whole new perspective on writing.  Now, here's Trick #1:

Keep a notebook.  Write down the name of the journal.  Write down the publisher and editor(s) and date.  Make note of any ads that are not out to take your money and then not deliver.  (In other words, don't bother with anyone who promises miracles).  Under all this information that you've written down, like a kind of separate index, write the name of each author,  the name of the story, who edited it (if the mag has multiple editors) and your summary of the kind of style the author writes in, using a few words only.  E.g. rapid fire.  E.g. tons of verbs, incomplete sentences.  Make sure you tell yourself if the story is in 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person  (choose one). Tell us if there is  one narrator, or two, or none,  or if  all the characters narrate.  (Narrators are the people through whose eyes you interpret the story and whose ears you feel the meaning of the words the character hears and through whose mind you're thinking with as you read the story.)  Finally write down why you think the editor chose this story to go in the mag/journal.  Put yourself in the shoes of the publisher/editor, not the writer.  Oh, and at the very bottom, jot down any phrases or neat verbs that grab your attention.  Now you're done with that story, at least for now.  Take a couple days off.  Go on to the next story.  Try to do one complete magazine every two to four weeks.  Depends on how busy you are.  But be consistent.  And continue writing your novels or your other stories, without thinking about changing them. 

It's important to decide if you hate the whole journal/magazine to stop it when you have finished doing this for the whole journal/magazine, and move on to a different one.  Find your fit.  Then keep on doing the above homework for a long, long time.  Forever, really. You will learn so much, you won't believe it.  By the end of a year you will be writing your novel differently just because you're reading short stories or poems differently.  .

Here endeth Tip One.

Have fun!

Welwyn-on-books

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