Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Submit" Buttons

It's a scary thing, pressing that "submit" button. When do you do it? When is the writing ready to go? Is it ever really ready to go? How can one possibly answer these questions, especially when there's still that one paragraph (or stanza, or word, or scene, or whatever) that you, the writer, just know really could be better, and will clear up the writing and all of it's faults.

Eventually though, that submit button must be clicked. It is the only way to ever be published - to send your work out to someone else and say "this is good enough for you to publish."

But, before you can ever click on that "submit" button, a long road must first be travelled. Okay, two roads: the work must first be written, edited, polished, etc. Just for fun today, I'm assuming all that work is done, and you, like me, have an itchy finger looking for a "submit" button.

Where is the elusive submit button found? Googling "submit writing for publication" brings up enough results to make a girl's head spin, not to mention the many results on that search that are irrelevant, unhelpful, or just plain scandalous (that is an incredibly helpful blog right there, FYI). So, where to start?

Start with your writing. What are you writing? Is it fiction? Poetry? A new and exciting genre no one's heard about yet? How long is it? Is it a novel? A short story? A collection? Each of these are treated differently, not to mention publishers tend to prefer if you've published in one before another. (I feel a series coming on here). Send your work to the right place. You really don't want to send the editor of a literary journal your 200,000 word epic fantasy. They just won't publish it. But your 2,500 word short story about ice-cream eating, motor-cycle riding monkeys? Could be the perfect fit, depending on the journal.

Think about yourself. Do you have any publishing credits? While your story or novel could be the next great American classic, it's not likely that the Atlantic Monthly or Knopf will come knocking on your door without previous credits. That doesn't mean you can't get in, just a warning to be realistic about where you're at, and who will be more or less likely to publish your work.

And, of course, don't forget to think about the publisher itself. Is it a place you would be proud to have your name alongside? Are you okay with online-only publication? Do you think your work should be in print?

There are so very many options out there for you to click a "submit" button, and so many more questions to ask yourself before clicking that button and sending your writing out into the world. I'll continue to go over this for my next few posts, and follow that path to clicking "submit" for shorter and longer works, different, publishing mediums, and whatever else comes up as relevant.

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